Transcript: Hi! I’m Anna Talerico with Married2Growth and this is the difference between a sales opportunity huddle and a pipeline review and why you need both.
Many sales leaders consider Pipeline Reviews and Opportunity Huddles to be synonymous. These two terms are often used interchangeably to describe one-on-one meetings managers have with their reps. But I view these as two different, and equally important, meetings.
A pipeline review isn’t an inspection of every single deal in the pipeline. It’s an inspection of the overall health of the pipeline, including benchmarks and trends. How many opportunities are being opened, what stages are the opportunities in, how long have they been in those stages, sales cycle, closed lost reasons in aggregate, etc.
An opportunity huddle isn’t an inspection of the pipeline. It’s a review & discussion of specific deals in the pipeline. It’s the meeting to talk deal strategy and sales process and specifics of key opportunities like business need, purchase intent, etc.
If you have a small team (perhaps 6 or fewer reps) you can do both types of meetings one-on-one with each rep. Do them both in the same meeting if you must, but I prefer them as two separate meetings. They each require different ways of looking at the pipeline and I think it’s important to give attention to both.
Here’s an example of the difference. In a pipeline review, you might be saying “20% of your pipeline is set to close this month, but many of those deals are still sitting in the evaluation stage….talk to me about that.” In an opportunity huddle, it’s more like “Acme Widgets is set to close this month, but is still sitting in the evaluation stage and has been parked there for the past 45 days. What’s happening right now with this deal? What has to happen on their side and ours to move them to the negotiation stage? What evidence do you have that they will close this month? Talk to me about their procurement process.”
For pipeline inspections, I always start with the overall size of pipe, deal velocity, age in stages. I look for big variances against team benchmarks too. Then I can see what needs focus. For opportunity huddles, I want to focus more on deal strategy and monthly deal commitments, so I like to look at deals that are at risk or dive further into deals sitting in stages that seem to be in trouble.
And in terms of how often to hold these meetings—with newer reps, do them frequently. I recommend a pipeline review every two weeks and an opportunity huddle once a week. I know that seems like a lot, but newer reps need more face time with you as you get to know each other, and you need to keep your finger on the pulse of how they are doing as they get their feet under them. Once a rep is fully ramped you can do a pipeline review once a month and an opportunity huddle every two weeks. I am not a fan of spreading them out further than that.
And finally, I just encourage you to remember the point of the meetings which is to help your reps meet (and beat) quota, and for your company to hit their targets. These one-on-one meetings should be positive, proactive and action-oriented. Stay on point and be direct. These meetings aren’t to re-train on your sales process, debate the merits of messaging, or pontificate on new sales strategies. These meetings are about helping your reps build and maintain qualified pipe and close great deals. So that’s it, thanks for watching! Good luck and keep me posted how these meetings go for you.