When focusing on just one customer or account, the journey someone takes from initial awareness of a product to a completed, successful sale is crystal clear. Unfortunately, no sales rep on Earth has the luxury of handling just one account at a time. Instead, they are juggling multiple, all at different stages and levels of interest.

It can get confusing, to say the least! Tools like Salesforce can make managing all these people easier, especially when you use the following eight Salesforce pipeline management tips and best practices:

Start With a Well-Defined Process and Pipeline

The vocabulary of your sales pipeline should be ingrained in your reps’ minds. Each one should be familiar with the various stages, and they should know for sure how to identify which stage a lead is in based on activity and indicative factors.

Train your reps on this process, make simple-to-follow logic flowcharts to decide if a client is in a certain stage, and post reminder graphics all over the office so they never have to think twice about it. These efforts will make data entry and reporting in Salesforce much more effective and likely accompanied by a higher adoption rate.

Use a Pick List for Categories When Possible

Manual data entry can get tedious, but coding in a set of clear options for reps to pick from can make data entry go by quicker and encourage more people to actually do what they are supposed to.

Try to limit the amount of categories you have (more on that in a moment), but do ensure that each option is distinct and clear. Depending on the form in question, you may also want to include an “other’ category where the rep can write in their own information.

Include a Secondary Open Form With Picklists

Picklists are fast and generic, so accompanying them with a form where any text can be entered can allow reps to track important details.

Qualify and Categorize Leads

One of the first entry forms to include in your pick lists are lead qualification descriptors. Every incoming lead should have either a business category, interest level, referring source, or all three so that reps have as much information as possible when trying to prioritize activities.

Avoid Too Many Pipeline Stages

In reference to limiting categories as suggested above, the Salesforce blog recommends that you avoid having over four or five discrete phases to your sales pipeline. With too many possibilities, reps can get confused or have different interpretations regarding when a client is at a new stage. The amount of unusual movements that skip stages or move backwards also increases.

So, stick to the K.I.S.S. and make everyone’s life easier.

Use the Calendar and Reminder Features

The worst way to lose a sale is to have a lead effectively die within the pipeline. Ideally, every lost sale will be “closed-lost” rather than “Shoot! I forgot about them!”

To prevent these oversights and to keep everyone flowing along, you can use the internal calendar and reminder features to help automate tasks. For example, someone who receives a demo should be prompted to receive a follow-up email automatically after one or two days. That way, no one gets forgotten.

Make Entry Forms Dependent or Required

Required forms must be completed before submission. Dependent forms must be completed before the next related form is available. Configure both to prevent incomplete entries into the system and to get reps to pay close attention to how they describe a lead or their activities.

The Most Important of Salesforce Pipeline Management Tips: Track Sales Activities

Reporting and monitoring tools can help ensure that reps are doing what they are expected to on a weekly, monthly and quarterly basis. Even though this strategy doesn’t track individual leads, it does approximate the level of activity expected to handle the current new lead volume. I.e., sales reps should be making a certain number of calls every period to keep the pipeline flowing.

You can make tracking activity easier by using a third-party Salesforce visualization tool that can instantly alert you to every rep’s actions. Some tools, like VisualCue, also track each account to make sure they are not forgotten, so if you need a leg up on managing your pipeline, consider using a sales rep monitoring tool today.