The most successful sales teams are also the most organized. They can quickly gauge the status and health of their deals, knowing who to contact, when to contact them, and the right information to share at each stage to keep up a nurturing cadence. That success can often be traced to a single tool: the sales pipeline template.
Why do successful sales teams use sales tracking templates? Because staying organized isn’t easy. It’s not simple to determine what is important to track, and all too often, critical information is siloed in the personal notes of an individual sales rep. A good sales pipeline tracking system helps solve these issues.
While CRMs are the industry standard for staying organized, not every company wants or needs to use one at inception. If your sales team has just a few deals in the pipeline, a simple spreadsheet can help you stay organized and meet targets in your sales plan. Let’s take a closer look at how a spreadsheet can help sales managers with pipeline management.
The benefits of a sales pipeline template
- It keeps you focused on what matters. The template does not generate fancy visual charts or integrate with other apps. It’s configured to track the basic information necessary for monitoring your deals. Often, that’s all small teams need.
- It can be quickly modified to fit the needs of any sales team. Whether B2B or B2C, long sales cycle or short, the template will keep you organized and on track to meet your goals.
- It is easy to process. Anyone at the company can take a look at the template and gauge the success of the sales team. Sometimes, less is more.
One important thing to understand is that a sales pipeline is not the same thing as a sales funnel. Unlike a sales pipeline, a sales funnel pinpoints the steps a customer undertakes on the way to a purchase.
Here's a sample template to download. In this Google sheet, you can plug in your data, nurture your leads, stay on top of your deals, and close more business.
Customizing the sales pipeline template
- Use rough estimates for win likelihood. The sales forecast calculations from this template disregard the binary nature of most deals (you either close or you don’t). But they are useful as high-level indicators of incoming revenue.
- Focus on the sales stages. Maybe your company is doing a ton of prospecting, and you want to reflect that nuance with more granular outreach stages, for example, “LinkedIn message sent” and “cold call — left voicemail.” Customization helps teams stay focused on their relevant KPIs, a key element in sales pipeline management.
Consider a CRM as you scale
Your business could end up with a pipeline full of deals that close fast at a low price point. Standardizing the sales process for that situation will reduce mistakes and your win rate.
Or maybe you are grappling with a long sales cycle and a high price point, which calls for an especially organized outreach approach to keep your point of contact engaged and the deal moving forward.
Regardless of the situation, as you grow and your sales process becomes more complex, consider a full-featured CRM. A robust CRM, such as Zendesk Sell, will scale with your growing team and provide advanced reporting on sales performance and other metrics, integrations, dashboards, automations, intelligent forecasts, data storage, mobile apps, and more. When you’re considering sales tools, consider what kind of features will a sales representative meet their sales goal.