Proper sales pipeline management is imperative for any firm’s growth. Your sales pipeline serves as a key indicator of the success of everything from your deal sourcing strategies and negotiations through to due diligence, closing, and overall portfolio performance.
However, proactively managing your firm’s pipeline management can be easier said than done. And, without the proper reporting in place, it can be a challenge to understand exactly what it is you’re even measuring – but it doesn’t have to be this way. Read on for our tips and common pitfalls to overcome to gain a proactive approach to your firm’s pipeline management once and for all.
Proactively Measure the Strength of Your Pipeline
To measure the strength of your pipeline, begin by setting the right goals and KPIs that your firm deems successful. This includes measuring the time to close a deal, the number of touchpoints throughout your funnel, and the overall number of qualified prospects. While tracking these KPIs, maintain regular (at least weekly) data cleanup and monitoring to ensure you and your team stay on track.
As Landon Eckles, CEO and Cofounder of Clean Juice recommends, “treat your pipeline like a supply chain.” Think of every touchpoint as interconnected, with its unique strategy to drive conversions. By focusing on the prospects most likely to convert in each stage of your funnel, you’ll be able to close deals faster and maintain a higher SLA.
To effectively track and measure a prospect’s journey through your firm’s funnel, leverage a CRM designed specifically for VCs/PEs (like Altvia’s) to efficiently nurture a prospect through your qualification process. By tracking every stage of their journey throughout the funnel, you’ll not only be able to better nurture your leads, but also gain a stronger understanding of a qualified prospect’s lifetime value and overall satisfaction.
Common Pipeline Pitfalls (and how to overcome them)
Effective pipeline management doesn’t just happen overnight. It takes time to refine and perfect to align to your firm’s unique processes. However, you can lean on the shoulders of the firms that have tried (and failed) before you to avoid common pipeline pitfalls – or at least overcome them.
Pitfall #1: Not having a defined acquisition strategy
If you don’t know where your new prospects or best-performing deals are coming from, every opportunity can seem like the perfect opportunity – and we all know that’s not always the case.
To weed through the noise and hone in on value-driven prospects, set up specific criteria for your sales team to leverage and measure against in your deal-sourcing phase. This includes specific considerations to steer opportunities toward close and weeding out those that may not be the best fit for your firm.
Pitfall #2: Relying on Outdated Processes
If you don’t have an effective, centralized platform in place to manage each phase of your pipeline, you could be leaving opportunities – and funds – on the table. By relying on outdated processes, such as stringing together different spreadsheets and sets of data to inform your pipeline management strategies (or lack thereof), you end up fueling your firm on inconsistent knowledge that’s prone to error.
To overcome this all-too-common pitfall, adopt a PE/VC-designed CRM to centralize all of your opportunities across the firm into a single platform. This will help you track progress in real-time and enable stakeholders to gain instant visibility into the information they want while arming you with full insight into the state and stage of every opportunity in your pipeline.
Pitfall #3: Inconsistent Reporting
As discussed above in pitfall #2, relying on outdated processes and spreadsheets can quickly lead to an inefficient pipeline. And, by relying on the reports you piece together from said outdated processes, you’re setting yourself up for failure.
Put simply, without automation, your reporting can have holes in it. A single spreadsheet strung together through manual data entry is not only error-prone but also reduces the ability to integrate data from other sources, making it very difficult to make strategic decisions from a one-dimensional report.
By graduating to an automated platform solution, pipeline owners can leverage visually enhanced, robust reporting at the click of a button, while only worrying about managing data in a single platform that will serve as the firm’s source of truth for all pipeline reports.
Software to Supercharge Your Firm’s Pipeline Management
Pipeline management software is no longer just a “nice to have.” For PEs/VCs looking to maintain firm-wide transparency in today’s hybrid and remote workforce – while gaining real-time insight into every stage of the deal pipeline – relying on software like Altvia’s is critical.
From customizing alerts for deal follow-ups and check-ins to honing in on the top quality prospects most likely to convert, it’s time to leverage a centralized hub to level up your firm.
To learn how to get started, start a conversation with someone from our team.