Read time: 5 minutes 58 seconds
- Increase revenue and accelerate growth by managing your pipeline.
- Find out exactly how to spend your time and where to start for maximum results.
What if there was one thing you could start doing right now that didn’t require a significant time commitment and would drastically increase revenue? Would you commit time and resources?
What if there were specific tasks you could tackle that would accelerate your revenue growth rate by as much as 28%? Would you be even more likely to commit time and resources?
There is a clear correlation between action and revenue. Taking intentional actions such as those listed below – rather than simply staying busy or joining the hustle mindset – has a powerful impact.
We’ve worked with hundreds of entrepreneurs, helping them prioritize their time and tasks to maximize growth. The connection between pipeline management and revenue growth is one area nearly all founders can and should improve.
Choosing where to invest your time and other resources as a startup founder can sometimes feel like an Olympic sport. You are constantly competing with FOMO, FOBO, and Shiny-Object Syndrome.
However, there is one proven revenue generation activity that deserves your undivided attention, the pipeline review.
Every founder that we work with through MXP Online, as we look to invest in them, learns to carefully, systematically, and regularly review the activities that nurture leads through the funnel to become customers.
By spending at least three hours a month, less than an hour a week, actively managing your revenue pipeline, startups can achieve a 28% greater revenue growth rate than those who don’t spend time reviewing their funnel.
Reviewing the pipeline means evaluating what works, what doesn’t, and what could be better. It means leveraging real-time data and insights to intelligently pivot, adjust and tweak your sales activities to remove friction, shorten sales cycles and make your go-to-market strategy more successful.
Use Data, Not Feelings
The data is clear, entrepreneurs who are the most successful regularly and actively commit time every week to review their revenue pipeline.
Your pipeline review is the synthesis of all your micro-experiments with your market. These experiments amount to all your revenue-generating activities: email campaigns, introductory meetings, demo meetings, etc.
When viewed separately and episodically, these activities may pull you in different directions. It can be easy to choose your next steps based on how you feel or your impression of what is working at any given flashpoint.
The truth is, few entrepreneurs actually look at data, let alone conduct reviews on a regular cadence. We have to appreciate that all data is initially raw and requires some level of synthesis in order to extract the value out of it.
To inform your next steps, you have to mine the data for insights rather than rely on your impression of what works. In doing so, you control and own the information-seeking and revelation process.
Finally, don’t just look at the data. Digest it. Synthesize it. Don’t bring feelings to a data fight. Challenge the data and your interpretation of it. Ask why the results are the way they are and ask how do you know your assumptions to be true.
Avoid getting caught up just with the vanity metrics that can leave you blind to potential problems or growth opportunities. Hold yourself accountable to a steady flow of revenue activity that leads to a steady flow of opportunities, leads, and customers.
Pipeline Review: Getting Started
For those who are doing their first pipeline review, begin by collecting data from all the micro-experiments you’ve been conducting.
- Scheduled, recurring pipeline reviews. Dedicate the time needed to ensure the pipeline review takes place. Respect and protect that time. If you book over those three monthly hours with things that feel more urgent, consider whether you are deprioritizing your organization’s revenue.
- Collect data. Look at your inbox to review contacts made along with their successes, need for follow-up, and failures. Evaluate your calendar each week and how your valuable time was spent. Look for places where you spent time that felt good but ultimately failed to move the needle and avoid doing the same in the future. Collect the data from your email campaigns, website analytics, and your CRM.
- Mine for insights. Respond to the following three questions in the context of customer acquisition:
- What did you say you were going to do last week and last month to earn revenue?
- What did you actually do last week and last month to earn revenue?
- What are you going to do this week and month to acquire customers and earn revenue?
Use those answers to inform future activity. From there, your week can be boiled down to a checklist and then down to specific numbers that will tell you everything you need to know about where, when, and how you are going to get your next infusion of revenue.
Data acquired and reviewed in a single flashpoint is misleading and potentially dangerous to rely on. If you want to make a sustained impact on revenue generation, you need to include one key ingredient: time.
A single conversation, for example, is a data point. Several conversations over weeks and months create trends and a data set.
By reviewing all the data points on a regular basis as opposed to on a one-off basis, you’ll avoid the draw to constantly pivot and you’ll make more well informed decisions based on trends. You’ll reveal trends over time and be better able to direct activity.
For example, one person may tell you the product is too expensive. This singular data point often generates a knee-jerk reaction from founders to assume that what is true for one customer must be true for an entire market and therefore the price should be lowered.
Instead of immediately reacting, ask yourself whether that person really matched your ideal customer profile (ICP)? If the answer is yes, then ask whether or not they understood not only the price but the value that you created.
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You can also ask whether or not they were the right person to be providing the feedback to begin with. Oftentimes we find founders getting the wrong feedback (either positive or negative) from people who ultimately are not decision makers.
Once you’ve eliminated the variables that could make this individual an outlier to be disqualified, try and see if this trend holds up over two or three more conversations while you slightly adjust variables other than pricing.
The One Trick To A Fast Revenue Growth Rate (That’s Not Really a Trick)
Conducting a monthly pipeline review is the “hack”! It can accelerate growth by 28 percent, but only if you do the work.
Review your pipeline by viewing your activities as micro-experiments, collecting data, and synthesizing that data into meaningful, actionable insights in only three hours a month.
- Hold yourself accountable by scheduling dedicated time for your pipeline review and protect that time.
- Be honest by evaluating accurate data, not impressions or feelings about how the pipeline is operating.
- Evaluate data sets, not single data points.
- Respond to the only three questions sales teams need to answer during a pipeline review to continue to acquire customers.
- Maintain a focus on only the most meaningful insight-informed activities going forward.
This simple process of viewing your communication as micro-experiments, collecting and synthesizing data, and letting that data inform your pipeline activity is already tested and proven.
In less than three hours per month, you’ll boost revenue by nearly a third. What else can you do in the same amount of time that will reveal better gains?