The Pipeline Management Best Practices 4 NYC Sales Pros Swear By

January 22, 2021
A sales team in a meeting
SHUTTERSTOCK 

It’s 10:00 a.m. on a Friday — do you know the status of your pipeline?

Nicholas Paidas, an origination associate at Yieldstreet, does. “I have the same routine every morning: Review the pipeline dashboard and open tasks, and then create a plan to complete the open tasks set for that day,” Paidas said.

Pipeline management is an incredibly important skill to develop, and it’s not as simple as it may sound. In order to ensure his morning reviews are more than status checks, Paidas takes detailed notes during and after all touch points and schedules follow-up tasks with due dates. Detailed notes enable Paidas to think strategically about how to move each deal in his pipeline to the next stage, while the due dates make it possible to forecast when movement will occur.

A properly managed pipeline ensures salespeople will always have an answer to their manager’s favorite question, “What’s the status of that deal?” More importantly, though, it brings predictability to the sales process as teams become more attuned to the levers that need to be pulled at each point in the pipeline to move deals forward.

Paidas is just one of four local sales professionals who recently shared their top pipeline management best practices with Built In NYC. In addition to general best practices, these sales pros also zeroed in on how to improve the pipeline management process and ensure proper data hygiene, both personally and among teams. 

 

Best Pipeline Management Practices at a Glance

  • Review, review, review.
  • Properly label all account stages.
  • Conduct regular “temperature checks,” or deal assessments.
  • Set tasks with due dates after every touch point.

 

Kevin Tiernan
Regional VP, General Business Sales, Americas

Mutual trust is a big part of the sales process at OwnBackup, and according to Kevin Tiernan, regional VP, the team’s best tool for accomplishing this is a mutual project plan. Tiernan said that although mutual project plans have had a transformative effect on his team’s pipeline process, implementing them posed a few challenges.

 

What’s the single most important best practice you follow when it comes to pipeline management? Why is this practice so important?

It’s simple: Constantly review the pipeline and how we will generate enough to get us to our goals. We do this in a few ways. First, we have a daily team sync where we review all key deals. At the beginning of the quarter, this meeting moves quickly as it’s a high-level review, but as the quarter progresses this evolves into a more detailed review.

It’s great because everyone on the team gets involved. We have team members searching LinkedIn for mutual connections, looking for something an AE may have missed, throwing out new ideas when deals have stalled, sharing competitive insights and more. The whole team feels invested in the success of each other’s deals, which is amazing to see.

In addition to the team sync, we have one-on-ones where we review an AE’s pipeline for the current quarter and the next. If there isn’t enough pipeline to cover their goals, we review the metrics to understand where we can help them improve. I don’t care about vanity metrics; I care about making sure AEs are engaging in the right activity with the right prospects and the right message. We look for small improvements that will drive a big impact.
 

We believe strongly in using a mutual project plan with our customers. Getting strong buy-in from the start builds mutual trust.


What’s one improvement you’ve made to your pipeline processes over time, and what impact has that had on your work?

We believe strongly in using a mutual project plan with our customers. Getting strong buy-in from the start builds mutual trust, allows each party to hold the other accountable and enables us to constantly verify that we are aligned on the process, next steps, who should be involved, etc. We use these early in the evaluation process, but this wasn’t always the case. 

For a while, these plans were one-sided, introduced too late in the process or were not used at all. Now we use these plans in our deal reviews, which allows leadership to see how the deal is progressing, if it is forecasted accurately in Salesforce and if it gives guidance to the AE team about the next steps. This keeps the deal on track and helps us find where we can get involved to move things forward. 

The impact has been great. Deals are staying on track more often than before, the sales team believes in it, and customers appreciate the mutual and thoughtful process — often a big miss for these plans. 

 

What’s a best practice you follow for monitoring your sales pipeline over time and keeping it clean and up to date?

My team knows that I am big on “app hygiene,” meaning that Salesforce should be kept clean and up to date on a daily basis. I start and end my days by looking at our forecast, and from there I dig into close dates, next steps, stage and so on. This is an easy process because my team is great at keeping Salesforce clean. This wasn’t always the case.

I had a few AEs who struggled and needed a full day or two to clean up their pipeline. They really felt the loss in productivity, and we worked together to get them better at updating in real-time. Now my team knows the best way to keep me from being the annoying manager “checking on that deal” is to keep Salesforce updated. We have strong trust and work much better as a team without me asking for updates over Chatter and Slack.

 

David Ibeneme
Account Executive

Like doctors, salespeople are not exactly known for their note-taking prowess. However, just because being a good talker and listener is a prerequisite to finding sales success doesn’t mean writing isn’t an important skill for salespeople to master. In fact, David Ibeneme, account executive at Teachable, said that doubling down on note-taking has enabled him to re-engage with prospects more organically and help his team construct better talk tracks.

 

What’s the single most important best practice you follow when it comes to pipeline management? Why is this practice so important?

I consider properly labeling account stages the single most important pipeline management best practice. By indicating what stage each prospect is in the sales funnel, I am able to formulate effective talk tracks and strategically contact prospects to successfully move them to the next stage of the process. This also reduces the likelihood of prolonging or delaying a sales cycle.
 

I consider properly labeling account stages the single most important pipeline management best practice.


What’s one improvement you’ve made to your pipeline processes over time, and what impact has that had on your work?

One major improvement I’ve made over time is my note-taking. When my notes are detailed, I am able to re-engage with prospects in a more natural and authentic way and build a case study of common trends and pain points observed amongst my customer type. This allows for a more consultative sales approach and the construction of talk tracks the sales floor can use to tackle common challenges.

 

What’s a best practice you follow for monitoring your sales pipeline over time and keeping it clean and up to date?

Avoid letting tasks become overdue. I find a few minutes at the end of each day to reschedule tasks I was unable to work on. Prioritizing daily tasks to ensure I am not repeatedly rescheduling hot leads is another effective practice that helps with pipeline management.

 

Harris Newman
Sr. Director of Business Development & Strategy

At OpenWeb, opportunities don’t move down the pipeline based on gut feelings. Instead, the team follows specific guidelines that require them to hit certain milestones before changing the status of an opportunity. Harris Newman, senior director of business development and strategy, walked us through some of those requirements along with how they keep the team on track to hit their goals.

 

What’s the single most important best practice you follow when it comes to pipeline management? Why is this practice so important?

Pipeline and pipeline management are crucial to creating scale and predictability in your personal success, which often coincides with greater organizational goals. To keep an honest assessment of my pipeline, I do “temperature checks,” or assessments that tell me what needs to be done to move a deal forward. I look at key components of every opportunity to understand the immediate action item, as well as what I need to do to ensure the next milestone is hit. The most crucial aspects to this pipeline temperature check include:

  • Does the prospect feel our solution offers differentiated value? 
  • Am I aligned with the product?
  • Do we have product sign off, or are there any technical questions?
  • Do we have a mutual plan in place? 


After this assessment, I then set up action items to continue moving deals along while sharing accurate pipeline expectations internally.
 

To keep an honest assessment of my pipeline, I do temperature checks,’ or assessments that tell me what needs to be done to move a deal forward.”


What’s one improvement you’ve made to your pipeline processes over time, and what impact has that had on your work?

Pipeline management efforts are constantly evolving, and staying on the mind of your prospects leads to higher accuracy over the course of the sales process. My team and I have specific guidelines in place for moving an opportunity from “upside” to “committed opportunity,” which include document-based milestones you must hit in order to certify an opportunity before it moves forward.

These documents, which include meeting summaries, mutual plans and discovery documents, along with identifying a leader and champion, create predictability and accuracy. As an organization, we strive for pinpoint forecast accuracy, and these processes have helped us reach our goals.

 

What’s a best practice you follow for monitoring your sales pipeline over time and keeping it clean and up to date?

The best practice I follow is not adjusting a forecast based on guesses but factual evidence from my prospects. Communication is key for keeping a pipeline healthy, both internally and externally, and having a structured mutual plan with your external contacts will allow for accountability on both sides as well as increased accuracy.

If a mutual plan is not built with a prospect, it is important to take an honest assessment of the opportunity and understand what activities you can do to create a more detailed sales execution process. Poke holes in your opportunities and understand where greater details are needed or relationship building is required. Semi-weekly temperature checks allow me to formulate a better understanding of where I should be focusing my efforts.

 

Nicholas Paidas
Origination Associate

Tech salespeople often juggle multiple deals at once, and forgetting to tend to even one or two of them can create a pipeline backup. To avoid this, Nicholas Paidas, origination associate at Yieldstreet, recommends setting tasks with specific due dates after each touch point. In addition to keeping deals moving through the pipeline, this commitment to task-setting makes it easier for Paidas to pinpoint what he needs to accomplish each day.

 

What’s the single most important best practice you follow when it comes to pipeline management? Why is this practice so important?

When managing one deal or 20, there are going to be points throughout the process that are out of your control. The one thing you can control is setting consistent tasks after a call, email or key client indicator (KCI) in your CRM. After every touchpoint, even if it’s as simple as a rapport call or as complex as a deal transaction call, setting a task with notes and a due date will guide the deal down a straight line to closing.

I’ll also set future tasks due within 48 hours, as managing multiple deals at once in a dynamic, highly active pipeline can be difficult. I close the task once the transaction is passed on, lost or won. This practice has unearthed new time during my workday to originate new deals.  
 

The cleanest way to pull yourself out of the weeds is to build a dashboard in your CRM.”


What’s one improvement you’ve made to your pipeline processes over time, and what impact has that had on your work?

There is a lot of data to observe, gauge and measure in any organization’s pipeline. The cleanest way to pull yourself out of the weeds is to build a dashboard in your CRM. Building a weekly dashboard for both myself and the team that summarizes certain pipeline stages and highlights KCIs has made a noticeable improvement in the team’s performance. 

In particular, establishing a dashboard for past, present and future pipeline deals week by week has uncovered previously unnoticed trends and allowed us to correct and turn the pipeline in a positive direction. For example, since creating a sales pipeline dashboard, the team monitors and maintains a certain minimum of total qualified deals, which has led to an improved realized percentage of closed opportunities. 

 

What’s a best practice you follow for monitoring your sales pipeline over time and keeping it clean and up to date?

I have the same routine every morning: Review the pipeline dashboard and open tasks, and then create a plan to complete the open tasks set for that day. Most of the time, each task relates to a relevant deal on the pipeline dashboard for that day, which propels me to review each account and related notes entered the previous day. 

Updating any missed notes or correcting information is key to starting the day successfully, and this best practice has allowed my team to be confident in the data, especially when speaking with senior leadership, which often happens with minimal lead time. Lastly, having the drive to close deals in an organized fashion is key and underpins all the best practices for successful pipeline monitoring.

Jobs from companies in this blog101 open jobs
All Jobs
Finance
Data + Analytics
Design + UX
Dev + Engineer
HR + Recruiting
Internships
Legal
Marketing
Operations
Product
Project Mgmt
Sales
Content
Internships
new
Yieldstreet
New York
Sales
new
OwnBackup
New York
Product
new
OwnBackup
New York
Product
new
OwnBackup
New York
Project Mgmt
new
OwnBackup
New York
Product
new
OwnBackup
New York
Developer
new
Yieldstreet
New York
Finance
new
Yieldstreet
New York
Internships
new
Teachable
Remote
HR + Recruiting
new
Yieldstreet
New York
Sales
new
OwnBackup
New York
Operations
new
Yieldstreet
New York
Operations
new
OpenWeb
New York
Sales
new
OwnBackup
New York
Project Mgmt
new
OwnBackup
New York
Internships
new
Teachable
Remote
Sales
new
OwnBackup
New York
Sales
new
Yieldstreet
New York
Sales
new
OwnBackup
New York
Marketing
new
OpenWeb
New York
Operations
new
OwnBackup
New York
Sales
new
OpenWeb
New York
Operations
new
OpenWeb
New York
Sales
new
OpenWeb
New York
Product
new
OpenWeb
New York
Design + UX
new
OpenWeb
New York
Operations
new
OpenWeb
New York
Marketing
new
OpenWeb
New York
Sales
new
OpenWeb
New York
Sales
new
OpenWeb
New York
Operations
new
OwnBackup
New York
Design + UX
new
Teachable
Remote
Developer
new
Teachable
New York
Developer
new
Teachable
New York
Marketing
new
Yieldstreet
New York
Data + Analytics
new
Yieldstreet
New York
Content
new
Teachable
New York
Marketing
new
OwnBackup
New York
Project Mgmt
new
OwnBackup
New York
Developer
new
OwnBackup
New York
Design + UX
new
Teachable
New York
Sales
new
Teachable
New York
Sales
new
OwnBackup
Remote
Marketing
new
Teachable
New York
Sales
new
OwnBackup
New York
Marketing
new
OwnBackup
New York
Product
new
Teachable
Remote
Sales
new
OwnBackup
New York
Marketing
new
OwnBackup
New York
HR + Recruiting
new
Teachable
New York
Sales
new
OwnBackup
New York
HR + Recruiting
new
Teachable
New York
Developer
new
Teachable
New York
Developer
new
Teachable
New York
Operations
new
Yieldstreet
New York
Developer
new
Teachable
New York
Operations
new
Yieldstreet
New York
Sales
new
OwnBackup
New York
Operations
new
OwnBackup
New York
Developer
new
Teachable
New York
Sales
new
OwnBackup
Remote
Developer
new
Teachable
New York
Finance
new
OwnBackup
New York
Sales
new
Yieldstreet
New York
Sales
new
OwnBackup
New York
Product
new
Teachable
Remote
Data + Analytics
new
OwnBackup
New York
Finance
new
OwnBackup
New York
Product
new
Yieldstreet
New York
Finance
new
OwnBackup
New York
Sales
new
OwnBackup
Remote
Operations
new
OwnBackup
New York
Data + Analytics
new
OwnBackup
New York
Content
new
Teachable
Remote
Operations
new
Yieldstreet
New York
Data + Analytics
new
Yieldstreet
New York
Marketing
new
OwnBackup
New York
Developer
new
Yieldstreet
New York
Developer
new
OwnBackup
New York
Marketing
new
OwnBackup
New York
Developer
new
Yieldstreet
New York
Design + UX
new
Yieldstreet
New York
Product
new
OwnBackup
New York
Product
new
OwnBackup
New York
Sales
new
Teachable
New York
HR + Recruiting
new
OwnBackup
New York
HR + Recruiting
new
Teachable
New York
Design + UX
new
Yieldstreet
New York
Finance
new
Yieldstreet
New York
Operations
new
Teachable
New York
Design + UX
new
Teachable
Remote
Developer
new
Teachable
New York
Finance
new
Yieldstreet
New York
Product
new
OwnBackup
New York
Operations
new
Yieldstreet
New York

NYC startup guides

LOCAL GUIDE
Best Companies to Work for in NYC
LOCAL GUIDE
Coolest Tech Offices in NYC
LOCAL GUIDE
Best Benefits at NYC Tech Companies
LOCAL GUIDE
Women in NYC Tech