Those who work in sales—especially commercial real estate—are always on the go. But taking time to slow down and reflect on what’s going well, and more importantly, what isn’t going well, is an essential part of running a high-functioning sales operation.
Whether you’re a manager trying to get a better hold on your team’s activities or an associate aiming to manage up and gain accountability so you can ultimately close more deals, it’s important to structure these smaller meetings intentionally. Otherwise, you risk wasting 30 minutes to an hour on aimless conversation that could surely be better used elsewhere.
We’ve spoken with a number of CRE professionals and pulled out the essential steps to running a productive sales pipeline review.
Why conduct sales pipeline reviews?Sales pipeline reviews are for getting a detailed understanding of the health of each sales team member’s pipeline, breaking down barriers to success, and ensuring key deadlines are being met. This is usually a meeting between a senior and junior broker, or a very small team of junior brokers.
For managers, these meetings are essential to keeping your team accountable to goals and ensuring the organization as a whole is moving in the right direction. For team members, these meetings are a time for valuable feedback, which is necessary to ensure individual goals are met and professional development is achieved.
What should sales pipeline reviews look like?Of course, all commercial real estate organizations are structured differently, so every sales pipeline review meeting will be structured differently as well.
Key variables include:
- How frequently you decide to meet (daily, weekly, monthly etc.)
- Whether you do one-on-ones or group meetings
- How many deals you choose to discuss in each meeting
Still, all sales teams can benefit from accomplishing certain key milestones in meetings.
The essential components of a sales pipeline review meeting:
1. Time-saving technology
Every sales pipeline review meeting should start by pulling up the sales dashboard. If you are using a CRM like Apto, gaining full visibility into the health of your or your associate’s pipeline can be as easy as logging in and checking your stats.
We cannot emphasize enough the benefit of using a centralized technology platform to track and analyze contacts, properties, and deals. This allows you to see, not just hear, exactly where everyone stands with any given deal and how the team is performing overall. And it makes preparation for the meeting a piece of cake.
2. A concise yet detailed overview
Perhaps the most essential part of a sales pipeline review is the individual account of each deal in the pipeline. Reps should come prepared to answer key questions including:
- What is the status of the deal?
- What is the value of the deal?
- What is currently preventing the deal from closing?
- What are next steps?
- What is the timeline to close?
3. Name obstacles that need to be cleared
The focus of every sales pipeline review should be on tackling obstacles as a team and improving. By reviewing the hurdles each team member faces, managers get a sense of broader challenges and help individuals solve for those issues.
For individual team members, these meetings are an opportunity to get a second set of eyes on an issue. Sales teams should take advantage of diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and experience levels to solve problems together.
4.Set action items
The worst meetings are all talk and no action. Make the ‘next steps’ part of each sales pipeline review the launch point for a successful next week (or month). Make sure everyone is distinctly aware of what these action items are so that nothing falls between the cracks.
5. Set timelines to instill urgency
As a manager, you will likely be expected to answer questions from higher-ups surrounding the status of your team’s deal flows. Use the pipeline review as your opportunity to nail down key dates and deadlines to ensure everyone stays on the same page.
Push your team to move swiftly while keeping in mind that unrealistic deadlines are less likely to be met, and thus lose their meaning.
As a team member, be sure to provide context around any missed deadlines and come prepared with an action plan for getting or staying on track.
6. Bonus - reflect on what went wrong in the previous week
Most of us shy away from negative feedback, but taking the time to not only examine what is going well, but what is not going well can be a valuable learning experience.
As a leader, ask your team to come prepared with a negative experience to evaluate. Doing this will dare your team to take calculated risks, which can ultimately lead to greater success.
As a team member, as uncomfortable as this exercise can be, it will accustom you to accepting and acting on criticism gracefully, which is an incredibly valuable and rare skill to have.