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Why your current pipeline view is an illusion (and what to do about it)

Devin Reed May 12, 2021

We’re taught to believe that everything we see is ‘real’. After all, our senses wouldn’t lie to us, would they? 

Typically the stories our brains generate match the real world — but not always. 

The human brain unconsciously makes our perception of reality meet our desires and expectations. 

A recent article by Vox tests our perceptions. Try this out: 

Gaze at the left dot and answer this question: In which direction is the object on the right moving? Is it drifting diagonally, or is it moving up and down? Remember to focus on the dot on the left:

It looks like the object on the right moves up to the right, then down to the left. Yes? 

Actually, it doesn’t. It moves up and down in a straight, vertical line.

Voila! You have just experienced an optical illusion. 

Now what happens if we apply our understanding of illusions to the business world? Let’s see…

Companies live (and die) by their sales growth. And their main system for tracking customer and sales data is their CRM. 

But depending on your CRM for pipeline visibility and revenue forecasting is problematic. 

Here’s why: There is an optical illusion at play here.

Sales pipeline templates help, but they’re not enough.

The problem with relying solely on CRM

A system —  any system — is only as good as the data it stores. 

You’ve heard the saying “bad data in, bad data out”? 

Sales leaders start with the assumption, or the illusion, that only ‘good’ data goes into their CRM. 

After all, they have control over the sales strategy, process, and team. Their reps are trained, want to please management, and are eager to make quota ($$$). What could go wrong?

Well, err, this…   

Reps are under pressure to perform, so they (over)load the system with lots of opportunities. The data they enter is often based on rosy assumptions and unsubstantiated opinions, or driven by their own anxiety about achieving sales goals.

Sales leaders tend to focus on the number of opportunities in their pipeline and closed-won deals. So when most sales leaders track their pipeline, they’re emphasizing quantity over quality.

Most of them figure that if you have enough players at bat, you’re likely to score a run.  But they’re not necessarily right.  

Those leads may be low-quality, and a TON of the data you need might not make it to your CRM at all.

Though CRM use is growing worldwide, a few statistics suggest there are some serious underlying issues: 

Surely there’s a way to get confident about your sales pipeline data. 

There is

It’s called Revenue Intelligence, and it’s a new market category that addresses this problem.

Seeing through the illusion with Revenue Intelligence

As a sales leader, how do you know you can trust your sales pipeline and see what’s really happening across your sales teams? 

Add Revenue Intelligence to all those opinions stored in your CRM. 

There’s a trove of information hiding in customer phone calls, web conferencing, and email interactions. Without Revenue Intelligence, it’s not being captured or used to its fullest potential (if at all). 

You can use Gong’s RI platform to get insights that help your team win more deals. 

With Revenue Intelligence, you’ll also hear the voice of your market and learn about the challenges your customers face. There’s plenty more on offer too, from competitive intelligence and deal blockers to vendor strategies, marketing activities, and more. 

Put all this information to use in your sales and marketing activities and you’re a shoo-in as a trailblazer in your industry.

Just think for a moment about the hundreds or thousands of customer interactions that occur at your company. 

Now imagine harnessing all that data to drive insights, set benchmarks and targets, and ensure continual improvement across your sales team. 

Ka-ching! That’s the power of pipeline management software.

What to do next

By now you’re probably wondering how much of your pipeline is an illusion. Wouldn’t it feel good to know for sure?

That knowledge is totally within reach.

Take a brief Revenue intelligence tour. It’ll get you thinking about the amazing information hiding in your own pipeline, and how to access it.

No magic tricks here. Just straight up reality. Have a look: 

We’ll dig into your challenges and show you how Revenue Intelligence transforms businesses.

PS: If you’re not ready to chat just yet, check out the 5 Deal Warnings Preventing You From Closing Revenue. They’re serious deal hurdles in your pipeline, but you can root them out. You got this.

WRITTEN BY
Devin Reed

Devin Reed is the Head of Content Strategy at Gong - the #1 Revenue Intelligence Platform for Sales.