April 21, 2022

Managing Deal Pipelines In Salesforce: A Guide for AEs/SDRs

Managing Deal Pipelines In Salesforce: A Guide for AEs/SDRs


Managing Deal Pipelines In Salesforce: A Guide for AEs/SDRs

Salespeople complain a lot about Salesforce.

On Reddit or Quora, you’ll find threads with hundreds of complaints about how Salesforce’s UI is old and clunky. And it makes sense. Sales reps are tired of creating and updating pipeline updates in Salesforce.

Take these comments:

AEs Hate Salesforce

No doubt, tasks that take you away from selling are a time suck, and it’s okay to rant about them. But complaining only reminds me of a quote:

If you have time to whine and complain about something, then you have the time to do something about it.

Your company isn’t going to dump Salesforce because it runs the business. But there’s a solution for sales reps who have to work in Salesforce day in and day out.

A workaround for managing pipelines in Salesforce is to do so in a spreadsheet. I’m willing to bet money you’re probably doing this. Instead of updating Salesforce, keep track of notes and deal states in a spreadsheet, then when you’re ready, copy and paste from your spreadsheet to Salesforce.

Now, what if you could have a simple, spreadsheet view of your opportunities and any updates you made immediately synced to Salesforce? That means no more duplicate work or having to copy and paste from one place to another.

That’s how PeopleGlass helps.

And reviews show account executives love it:

Manage Salesforce Pipeline PeopleGlass
[PeopleGlass review on G2]

Before I show you how sales reps save hours updating records and managing deal pipelines in Salesforce with PeopleGlass…

What Does a Healthy Pipeline Look Like in Salesforce?

Let’s start from the basics – defining a healthy sales pipeline.

Mindi Rosser, a consultant helping B2B leaders build sales pipelines from LinkedIn, defined it best:

“A healthy sales pipeline is like a machine with the end goal to be a closed deal, and putting your own machine together is the hardest part. Even if you use someone else’s plug-and-play machine to get you started, it usually needs some finessing to make it work optimally for your business.”

Your Sales Manager may arrange a plug-and-play Salesforce instance to manage your pipeline. Still, you need views specific to the opportunities you manage. This is crucial because you’re responsible for shepherding deals to closed-won. How you do that is up to you.

Dave Trapani, Founder of Sandler Sales Training, shared how reps can go about this in his podcast:

“Being diligent, day in day out, week in week out looking at what is in your pipeline and looking at them in say some time elements. For example, looking at 90, 60, or 30 days and asking yourself as a salesperson: What’s the likelihood of each of these opportunities closing?”

The only problem with this advice is you can’t customize your Salesforce views on your own. You’d need help from operations or IT to help with that.

And that’s where PeopleGlass comes in.

PeopleGlass brings your Salesforce instance into a simple, spreadsheet-like view with all your Accounts, Opportunities, and others a glance away. With this, you can easily customize your view, make quick updates that immediately sync to Salesforce without opening multiple tabs, and maintain a healthy pipeline always.

Here’s what it looks like:

PeopleGlass by People.ai

We’d get to the step-by-step process of managing your sales pipeline in Salesforce with PeopleGlass soon. However…

Before You Manage, Know the Pipeline Stages in Salesforce

You may have a different number of stages in your sales process, but  for our example below, imagine you had nine pipeline stages:

Sales Pipeline in Salesforce

No matter the number of stages you use, each sales process can typically be broken down into the three phases in the buyer’s journey stages of awareness, qualification, and closing.

Like this:

Pipeline Stages in Salesforce

Step-by-Step Process to Manage  Deal Pipelines In Salesforce

Your sales pipeline should give you a high-level summary of all your opportunities. This is crucial to determining the revenue you’re likely to generate within a given period, the bottlenecks in your sales funnel, and likelihood of hitting quota.

When managed well across the deal stages, here are six insights you can discover:

What Sales Pipelines Can Tell AEs and SDRs

Let’s explore how to manage a deal at each stage.

Prospecting [1]

According to HubSpot, 72% of salespeople with less than 50 opportunities in their pipeline don’t hit their monthly sales goals. For this reason, prospecting is the name of the game to keep your funnel full.

And if you’re like most sales reps who prospect on LinkedIn, PeopleGlass can help. The PeopleGlass Chrome extension lets you add contacts and leads to Salesforce directly from LinkedIn.

Just open a prospect’s profile, and you can add them as a contact or lead:

Prospecting on LinkedIn - PeopleGlass

These leads are immediately synced to Salesforce:

Leads in Salesforce

PeopleGlass takes it one step further.

Instead of clicking various Salesforce tabs to update leads, you can create a sheet to view your leads in one place and make you updates in seconds:

Managing Leads in Sales Pipeline

Qualification & Needs Analysis [2 & 3]

Once you get leads in, the next steps include qualifying and analyzing if identified prospects need your product/service.

To do these, get them on a discovery call.

Rachel Williams, Director of Sales at Calendly, said it best:

“As a sales professional, the most important thing you can do is run an effective discovery call at the outset of the buyer’s journey. If you try to cut corners by forgoing the sales discovery call or only conducting a cursory one, your close rate will go down. The customer needs to know you understand their challenges before they can see the value your product or service may provide.”

After these calls, you can manage and update your meeting notes and next steps using PeopleGlass, too:

Managing Meetings in Salesforce Pipelines

Value Proposition & Identifying Decision Makers [4 & 5]

At this point, you should’ve identified decision-makers and be prepared to pitch your product’s value proposition. Asking essential qualifying questions is a great way to do this.

You can use the following qualifying questions to help you qualify a lead

  • How large is their company?
  • What is their industry?
  • Where is their location?
  • Which tools have they utilized previously?
  • What solutions are they seeking?
  • How urgently are they seeking a solution? And, I’ll add:
  • Who should be involved in the conversation to solve this problem for them?

Perception Analysis & Price/Quote [6 & 7]

Here’s where you must pause and be realistic.

Review all calls, emails, meetings, etc., so far, and ask yourself: How likely are they to become a customer based on what I’ve learned from my discovery and qualifying process?

No matter what you do, not all opportunities will lead to a sale.

So performing perception analysis will help you discern this. But if you’ve managed things well up to this point, you should be well set up to negotiate your offer.

Negotiation [8]

Negotiation requires patience.

George Eliopoulos, Head of Enterprise Sales at PayPal, shared tips on negotiation:

George said:

“Primarily, let them talk first. You may not understand the real objections on the other side until you hear them out. So many salespeople think that talking first is the way to “sell,” but negotiation is a chess game that requires patience. Second, remember that they want your product, but at the other guy’s terms and prices.

Going in with the understanding that your value is, indeed, greater lets you focus the conversation on the ideal future state that you are going to put your prospect in. If you don’t believe it, neither will they. At the end of the day, we all pay more for quality (phones, shoes, coats, homes, cars, etc.).”

Closed Won, Closed Lost [9]

You’ll lose some and win some.

That’s life and sales.

When you lose a deal, analyze it, understand what went wrong and what you could’ve gone differently, and aim to do better next time. Maybe it’s about finding the right decision-maker, maybe it’s building a stronger case, or maybe it’s about improving how you qualify.

To make space to reflect and analyze your deals, you need time. It’s hard to find time because we find ourselves caught up in busywork.

So how do you curb the Salesforce busywork, update records, manage your pipeline easily (and in fewer clicks), and shepherd deals to closed-won?

Enter PeopleGlass’s spreadsheet-like experience:


Sales Managers love it when their sales teams use PeopleGlass:

PeopleGlass Pipeline Management
[PeopleGlass review on G2]

How to Perform Salesforce Pipeline Inspection

Excellent pipeline management requires regular inspection.

Duane Cashin, Founder of Cashin Sales, LLC, noted this:

“Pipeline management requires that you spend your time discussing the overall health of [your] pipelines and how [you] can shepherd more deals to successful closure. Focus less on scrubbing CRM data and forecasting revenue and more on how to move deals forward.”

Based on Duane’s recommendation, reserve some time to examine your current and upcoming sales opportunities. Then zoom into each opportunity to understand what’s holding it or how you can move the deal forward.

And as needed, create notes to keep you in the loop.

PeopleGlass makes this process easier.

It lets you examine your list of current and upcoming opportunities from one view. And while inspecting each opportunity, you can add notes that sync automatically into your company’s Salesforce records or private notes to guide you accordingly:

Salesforce Pipeline Inspection

Easily Manage & Maintain Your Sales Pipeline in Salesforce

The end goal of managing your pipeline well is to shepherd deals to the closed-won tab, hit your quota faster, and earn bigger commissions.

But to achieve all that, you must understand what goes into won deals.

Data analysis of 512,740 deals by People.ai provided clues.

According to this report of the study:

“Deals that were won saw 29% more email communication compared to lost deals. In deals worth $25,000 or more, winning teams sent 45% more emails than losing teams, on average. The average winning deal saw a total exchange of 141 emails between the account and sales teams.”

In other words, to manage opportunities in your pipeline to closed-won, you need to spend more time communicating with leads, prospects, and decision-makers. Not on updating records in Salesforce.

And that’s why AEs & SDRs like managing pipelines with PeopleGlass:

PeopleGlass Salesforce Management

Learn all of the ways People.ai can  drive revenue growth for your business