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Sales - 6 min READ

5 questions to ask to build your best sales pipelines and reports in Copper

Our sales team breaks down best practices for sales tracking

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Copper Staff

Contributors from members of the Copper team

Since we walk the walk here at Copper by using our own software internally, our sales team knows a thing or two about using Copper to track sales efforts. So in our recent Coffee with Copper webinar, we shared some advice for building the most effective sales pipelines and reports in Copper.

We’ve pulled these tips together to ensure you’re building the best pipelines and reports for your business goals. Plus, we have some recommendations on holding better pipe reviews, too.

5 questions to ask to build out optimal pipelines and reports

When it comes to building pipelines and reports, the key is to keep it simple.

“I talk to revenue leaders every day who tend to overcomplicate things,” one sales specialist said. “They launch dozens of new different reports consistently… but I have a philosophy around reporting that basics is going to drive more success.”

This means building reports around what you need, and nothing else. Too often, we overcomplicate reports and add too many details that we don’t really need. But basic reports and pipelines are much more effective, especially when you’re repeatedly sharing those same reports with your team.

When revenue leaders change reports and pipelines too frequently, it can be challenging for teams to keep up with shifting priorities and reach their goals. But how do you commit to simple reports and pipelines? How can you determine what you actually need to know?

Here are five questions to guide your process.

1. Have you effectively mapped out your Ideal Customer Profile or the Total Addressable Market (TAM)?

Everything starts with understanding your ideal customer (or buyer persona) and market. Once you have this information, creating reports and pipelines around your TAM will be much easier. For us, we’re a pipeline-driven business because we have a target market that’s large with Google Workspace users in manufacturing, agencies, consultancies, tech companies, real estate businesses and more. So we have to keep that in mind when building our sales pipeline.

Knowing your ideal customer helps you build effective sales pipelines

2. What are the most important model drivers for your business?

Once you understand your customer and market, consider what model drivers are important for your success. For example, is your key driver cash, profit, growth, assets, people or something else? We’re a pipeline business, but you might have more of a sphere of influence business, and tracking networking conversations may be a more important metric for you. So, take time to understand what key drivers impact your business’ overall success so that you can track them in your pipelines and reports.

3. What is your “North Star” metric?

Once you understand your drivers, it’s important to understand your one “North Star” metric. In other words, what one metric can you hit and be successful? For a SaaS company like Copper, you may know you’re going to be successful if each salesperson is generating $30K per rep per week in pipeline generation. For other industries, it might be signing up 50 new subscription customers a week, selling two homes a month or making ten new connections each month. Identify this metric and centralize your reports and pipelines around it.

4. Have you built appropriate close rates in your stages for forecasting to work well?

Here’s where the pipeline comes into play. Make sure that your pipeline accounts for your most important metrics and that the stages are accurate for what you’ve set up in your pipelines. So, for example, ensure your pipelines are set up to reach your goals and that the timeline of each stage makes sense.

5. Do your reports represent the information you need? Do you need to make any adjustments?

The real science is figuring out the most important reports for you. Use the templates and start with the simplest reports possible. Make sure these reports include the key information you determined from the first four steps. Then, bring up those reports to your team consistently, week-over-week, so they know and understand what metrics are most important.

We use the Activity by User report regularly

Finally, keep track of your progress and KPIs over time so you can find ways to improve and identify any areas you might need to change in your pipeline and sales process. Adjustments may include increasing pipeline, increasing ASP (average selling price), or improving close rates.

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Turning pipe reviews into revenues

When trying to drive revenue in any sales organization, you’re likely holding pipeline review meetings with your sales team. Pipeline reviews serve three basic purposes:

  • Coaching new reps
  • Calling the right plays on each deal so you can win those deals
  • Forecasting with precision

Prepping your pipeline reviews is absolutely critical. “Copper makes it so, so easy for me to do this, I can review 50 opportunities in ten to fifteen minutes, and this helps me to be able to get on offense versus defense in those meetings,” said a Copper sales team member. “I want to know instantly, the last interaction, the last step on that deal, and whether we’re working with the right stakeholder.”

When going into a pipeline review, you want to be able to see and know the following things immediately:

  • What’s the last interaction with your customer?
  • What is the who, what and when for next steps?
  • What’s on your reps’ Google Calendar for the week?
  • What does the email velocity look like?

Let’s talk about that last one for a moment: email velocity. Email velocity is the number of emails prospects send you. So many sales leaders look at the emails being sent out to prospects, but they don’t pay enough attention to what’s coming back. We’ve found that the win ratio is much higher when the prospect sends more emails.

For instance, when comparing the prospects we won versus the ones we lost while emailing, those we won sent an average of 3.22 emails, while those we lost only sent us an average of 0.51 emails.

We pull email and call data in from different sources for sales reporting

This is why it’s important to look at email velocity when preparing for your pipe reviews.

Start building a better pipeline today

If you want to create better reports and pipelines, ask yourself these few simple questions to get really clear about your goals and needs. The simpler and more focused your reports and pipelines, the better off you’ll be.

Want to give our reports a spin? Try Copper free for 14 days, no credit card needed.

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