GTM teams so frequently get focused on the current quarter’s pipeline and forecast that they lose sight of the strategic levers for building the pipeline that will sustain the business for quarters to come. Building out cross-functional strategies between Sales, Marketing, and Sales Development with a singular focus on pipeline generation,what we call Pipeline Operations, is an equally critical activity that far too few organizations are talking about today.
One of the most important first steps for organizations to take in building discipline around Pipeline Operations is to establish a Pipeline Council - a group tasked with building common goals, ensuring accountability, and aligning efforts across the entire GTM team with a single focus on generating a healthy and consistent pipeline.
Starting Off: Building the Pipeline Council
Think of a Pipeline Council as your business' forecasting compass. Just as Account Executives and sales leadership forecast the opportunities in the bottom of the funnel to predict business outcomes, the Pipeline Council helps understand the business' capability to achieve future goals. The basis of this understanding lies in analyzing the earlier stages of the pipeline process.
The Pipeline Council is an integral team of various sectors responsible for pipeline generating activities, including marketing partnerships, demand generation, SDR, BDR, and AE leadership. This team works together to ensure alignment and accountability in meeting pipeline goals.
It's crucial to understand that the Pipeline Council's task is not a deal review. Instead, it focuses on assessing the health of the overall pipeline and the efficacy of pipeline generating campaigns, tactics, and prospecting.
Frequency and Focus of Meetings
The ideal frequency of Pipeline Council meetings could range from every other week to at least once a month, based on the frequency of changes to your pipeline and the length of your deal cycle.
During these meetings, the council should focus on two primary areas: Pipeline Generation and Pipeline Health.
This involves looking at the various sources contributing to the pipeline and their effectiveness. The Council needs to understand which stages these sources contribute most and whether we're pacing against our pipeline goals. Identifying what's working and what's not helps align strategies and refine processes to meet set targets.
The health of the pipeline depends on whether we have sufficient pipeline coverage to meet upcoming goals based on our conversion and win rates. The key is to be proactive rather than reactive in our approach. In case of inadequate coverage, the Council must plan and implement necessary changes.
Moreover, the Council should identify and address any pipeline gaps based on regions, territories, segments, and products to ensure continual coverage.
Importance of a Pipeline Council
Taking time to reverse engineer your funnel and set the right goals for pipeline generation and health coverage is crucial for meeting your revenue targets. A Pipeline Council is the force that brings together all parties responsible for the pipeline. It ensures alignment, maintains accountability, and strives to achieve the same outcomes.
In essence, a Pipeline Council helps bridge the gap between the individual contributions and the collective goal. It serves as a vital tool to evaluate, understand, and consequently, operationalize the pipeline.
A Step Back to Take a Leap Forward
Revenue and late-stage pipeline might dominate most business discussions, but let's not forget that the journey to reach that point holds equal significance. It's time to take a step back and get your pipeline team to the same table.
Creating a Pipeline Council can be the leap forward your B2B SaaS company needs to operationalize its pipeline effectively. Not only does it streamline the pipeline operations, but it also brings about an alignment that permeates through the entire business, thereby paving the way for successful and sustainable growth.