How to Best Prepare an Enterprise Sales Pipeline Review for Your Investors
As enterprise investors here at Work-Bench, investing at Seed II stage, we are obsessed with all things go-to-market and working alongside our founders to refine their early GTM and sales engine.
Over the years, we’ve noticed different startups have different ways of presenting this information at a high-level for their recurring investors catchups, internal meetings or to prospective investors. While there’s no one right format, there are specific pieces of information that can help set up a more productive conversation around your sales and where they are heading.
There are many blog posts out there that cover SaaS metrics in-depth — but given the early stage nature of our startups and their early sales traction to-date, this process below with both qualitative and quantitative data points can help to paint a more complete and nuanced story on sales traction.
See below for a sample enterprise sales pipeline review template, which includes the following categories we suggest incorporating:
Stage/Probability to Close
There are many definitions around stage/probability to close. For us, it’s less about the specific percent estimate to close (we’ve seen companies use other categories that feel more aligned than 25%, 50%, etc.), and more around a realistic understanding of where deals are in the process, and what blockers may remain.
The more you can share about these blockers, the more we can uncover around problematic product challenges, sales processes, and positioning that needs to be addressed.
Especially in early-stage enterprise sales, it’s helpful to know where you’re generating leads and what channels are performing the best. Understanding this helps investors better identify patterns of what works (or what doesn’t), and lead to better sales efficiency.
Buyers & Business Units
For enterprise deals, the number of stakeholders required around the table and to push a sale through can be relatively high — be it the economic buyer, user, executive sponsor, champion, and more. It’s important to articulate who each persona is within the customer’s organization, and how to reach them. By tracking the Champion — your key point of contact who is driving the deal from the inside — you can continue to target this specific role and title for other sales conversations.
As investors, we also understand that there are a lot of possible use cases for your technology during your company’s early development. It’s helpful to see which industries better appreciate certain use cases and which of those become predominant over time.
While it’s natural to want to quickly move past lost deals, there is incredible feedback and lessons learned from those prospective engagements. Understanding why a potential customer passed — whether they go with a competitor, don’t have the budget, choose to build in-house, etc. — is critically important in improving your sales process, and giving insight to your product and roadmap.
Let us know if there are other early-stage enterprise GTM metrics that you are tracking as a founder or as investors — we’d love to hear!
If you’re working through early-stage enterprise sales, check out our complete set of Work-Bench Enterprise Playbooks across Must-Ask Interview Questions for VP of Sales Candidates to Customer Evaluation templates, and more.
Thank you to my teammate Kira Colburn for her support on this piece.