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Revenue Operations

How to Help New Sales Managers Spot False Pipeline

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Congrats! You killed it as a sales rep and have been promoted to sales manager. Your new mission is to spot your reps’ false pipeline so you can coach them to be better. Hear from Samuel Sunderaraj, VP/Head of GTM at Pebble, and Ryan Abts, Sr. VP of Global Commercial Sales at Salesloft, as they share their top tips on identifying false pipelines and improving forecast accuracy.

“Accurate forecasting is about the health and performance of the business.” - Samuel Sunderaraj

Forecasting is the cornerstone of sales success; every sales manager knows this. So why are so many of them struggling to spot false pipeline? Forecasting experts share how you can improve your forecasting skills by understanding which data points to dig into and how to coach reps on forecasting integrity.

Forecasting reveals risk

“Predictability is vital for companies.” - Ryan Abts

Sales managers work closely with finance and RevOps, two teams that value accurate pipeline data. When sales reps sandbag deals or commit pipeline too early, it makes it harder for these teams to identify and rectify risk in your pipeline. 

Avoiding risk is human nature, but in sales you have to get in front of bad news fast in order to adapt. When you diligently work your sales methodology and framework, you can drive better results by identifying risk early on. Accurate forecasting is consistent, dependable, and most of all, scalable.

The top 2 forecasting data points

“When you have alignment, RevOps won't need to ask for more clarity.” - Ryan Abts

There are dozens of sales metrics that sales managers have to juggle but when it comes to forecasting, these 2 data points can help you improve your results quickly:  

  1. Average days to close

If you have a massive deal that’s in the contracting/proposal stage too quickly, it’s time to start asking questions. Do you have key elements around account health in place? Does the rep have happy ears because of the ARR size? Are you aligned with the customer’s buying process? 

  1. Current win rates

Current win rates across the business can help you identify the reps who are misrepresenting their pipeline. A sandbagger may have paperwork out but is holding the deal for next quarter to increase their commission. Another rep might be overpromising what they can deliver with their pipeline.

Forecast integrity

“You never hear about the rep that gets an award for forecast integrity. Organizations need to start looking into that.” - Samuel Sunderaraj

Garbage in, garbage out. Always lean on your sales framework to ensure your rep isn’t skipping steps. When it comes to coaching, start by asking the right questions. Do we have implicated pain here? Is there a true champion? Do we understand the paper process? 

Practice your inspection and pattern recognition skills so you can spot risk quickly. With new or underperforming AEs, be direct and dictate the game plan. Show them what’s expected in their forecasts. For high performing AEs, do the opposite. Spend more time listening. These reps will often answer their own questions and become better forecasters along the way.

Download your free forecasting template

“If you don’t know why you’re successful as a sales manager, you’re at risk of not repeating your success in the future.” - Ryan Abts

Are you a scrappy organization that wants to learn how to collect and understand forecasting data points? Visit the QR code in this webinar for a free template! Plus, hear how our panelists walk through adding qualitative context to your quantitative data. 

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