Ever felt the fear of inferiority, that there simply aren’t enough leads in your sales pipeline? At NetHunt, we know we have. In fact, we reckon everybody has.

Most businesses, even enterprise-sized, hold regular meetings dedicated to brainstorming new and existing acquisition channels and how they can generate more high-quality leads. Why?

61% of marketers state that lead generation is one of the biggest challenges.

That’s why. Every individual deal in your sales pipeline is as important as the last one. Once in there, it’s essential to analyse, manage, and tend to them properly so that no opportunity is missed. Nothing should slip through the cracks.

To this end, managers need to develop systematic processes to test and determine pipeline health, regularly checking in with sales reps for pipeline feedback. This helps them identify bottlenecks, ensuring the sales team reaches that damn quota before deadline day.

Sales quotas? Another sales minefield. What’s our baseline? How do we avoid unrealistic quotas and maintain team morale? But, on the other hand, how do we make sure we’re successful and hitting good targets?

Like I say, a minefield; far too big for me to navigate alone. I invited a group of sales experts for their actionable pipeline management insights and key metrics they consider most important.

Specifically, I asked out inbound and outbound lead generation experts three questions…

  • How do you set realistic sales quotas for your team, ensuring the bar is not set too low but still maintaining realistic expectations?
  • Which sales reports do you track every day? Why are these metrics so important?
  • Do you hold sales pipeline reviews with your team? If so, how often do you conduct it and what questions do you ask?

Stay tuned to hear what experts from Reply, NetHunt CRM, Zoominfo, Leadfeeder, and Displayr had to say.

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Anastasia Tatsenko
Head of Customer Success @NetHunt CRM

Anastasia is a chief customer carer and passionate product preacher! Her specialities include competitor analysis, sales operations, and partner negotiations. Anastasia is the one who has a "high-level view" of the entire customer success processes.

- How to set realistic sales quotas for your team? Not to set the bar low and not to undermotivate the team. How to define what is 'realistic' for you?

In business-as-usual conditions, you typically analyse a company's organic growth statistics, multiply sales in the previous period by growth factor; that would be your realistic sales plan. It's necessary though to break down this sales plan over smaller periods ahead, especially if a business has some seasonal fluctuations, and distribute it over the sales team. Usually, you set a sales plan per sales representative that in total for the sales team exceeds the company sales plan in something close to the organic growth rate. That is your optimistic plan, and this approach, to some extent, secures the realistic quota attainment.

Business-as-usual conditions is when a company doesn't plan any extraordinary marketing investments or enter new niches or product groups, etc. If it does, it's a matter of assessing the effect of these actions from many perspectives and adding these effects to the sales plan.

- What are the sales reports you track on the daily basis? Why do these metrics matter to you?

Usually, I look at sales numbers in Year-to-date, Quarter-to-date, Month-to-date, and if needed - Week-to-Date perspectives, sales pipeline in forecasted revenue (deal amount multiplied by deal probability) and our Top-20 deals.

These metrics taken with the current sales plan give me a picture of the quota attainment status and an understanding of how much we are on track at the moment. If these metrics are on par or higher than planned, we are okay. If we are behind the planned numbers,  we are in trouble have an opportunity to take action.

- Do you have a pipeline review with your team? If so, how often do you conduct it and what questions do you ask?

I usually have a pipeline review with my team weekly. It's a one-on-one meeting with a sales rep. It's held on Monday or Friday to sum up the previous week and discuss plans for the upcoming one. I usually focus on Top-20 high-priority deals. Every pipeline review meeting has to end with the action plan for a sales rep to negotiate and close the deal.

At the beginning of the meeting, we follow up on the previous review on top-priority deals and their progress. Standard questions on high-priority deals for the meeting are:

  • What are the next steps?
  • What needs to happen to close the deal?
  • What are the obstacles to close the deal?
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William Oleksiienko
Head of Sales Development @Reply.io

William is a Sales development pro with 5+ years of experience. Building creative sales engagement strategies for personal outreach at scale. An avid non-fiction reader, Tolkien fan, and coding enthusiast.

- How to set realistic sales quotas for your team? Not to set the bar low and not to undermotivate the team. How to define what is 'realistic' for you?

There is a basic rule for setting effective sales quotas (at least, for B2B SaaS sales): it should be 3-5x the on-target earnings. So, if a salesperson’s OTE is $100k, their annual quota should be around $300-500k. In my experience, top sales reps can consistently generate 4-5x of their OTE, while an average performers will only get 2-3x of their OTE.

However, this rule isn’t always applicable. To keep your quota realistic, you should also consider how fast your product grows, how well-known your company and product are, etc. It also makes sense to take into account your historical performance as well as industry benchmarks.

- What are the sales reports you track on the daily basis? Why do these metrics matter to you?

It really depends on the performance model you prefer — OKRs or KPIs. At Reply, we track the number of demos booked for an AE, demo no-show rate, MQL to SQL conversion rate, SQL to Opportunity Won rate, average sales cycle, average deal size.

But most importantly, we track the number of booked demos for an AE to see if they have enough pipeline to reach their quota.

- Do you have a pipeline review with your team? If so, how often do you conduct it and what questions do you ask?

Yes, we have recently adopted bi-weekly pipeline review meetings. Well, basically it’s two meetings per month — a mid-point check and a monthly wrap-up.

During these meetings, we discuss our top 5 opportunities, top 5 deals closed, top 5 lost opportunities, and our top 5 churned customers (since we also invite our CS and product teams to participate).

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Mason C. Neely
Director of Sales @Zoominfo

Mason Neely is a sales leader at ZoomInfo. He started his career at RainKing before joining DiscoverOrg and merging with ZoomInfo. Outside of work, Mason enjoys gardening and driving.

- What are the sales reports you track on the daily basis? Why do these metrics matter to you?

Activity, revenue closed to pace, pipeline generated. These give a sense of where we are at as a team and how we are tracking towards our goals. By tracking them throughout the month, it allows the business to pivot as necessary with spend and growth investments.

- Do you have a pipeline review with your team? If so, how often do you conduct it and what questions do you ask?

Yes, I have a pipeline review with each rep on a weekly basis. I ask them to talk me through the following for their top 10 opportunities and have it answered in CRM notes for all of their opportunities:

  • Who are you engaged with?
  • What's their Why?
  • What's their Why now?
  • What are the next steps?
  • Define insights into the buying process.
  • What hurdles do you have?
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Alexine Mudawar
Major Account Executive @Displayr

Carrying 8+ years of SaaS sales experience, Alexine Mudawar is backed by numerous President’s Club awards, quarterly high achievement recognitions, and a consistent track record of surpassing quota. Outside of her day-to-day sales role, she is an Adjunct Professor and teaches sales courses for Aspireship, Victory Lap, and Re:Work Training. She’s a champion for diversity and inclusion in the workplace and has founded two women-focused Employee Resource Groups. She is currently the co-Host of Women In Sales Club on Clubhouse!

- How to set realistic sales quotas for your team? Not to set the bar low and not to under motivate the team. How to define what is 'realistic' for you?

As an individual contributor, I understand that each year goals will increase. I think important considerations when determining quota should include last year’s performance, any changes to sales process, target market, average contract value, and considerations of territory distribution. I’m very data driven, so I like to see quotas that are actually rooted in data.

- What are the sales reports you track on the daily basis? Why do these metrics matter to you?

The main KPIs I track are demo bookings, meetings completed (broken down by type), and outbound touches (calls, emails, inmails). These are more important to me because I want to be able to consistently track my conversion rates and understand what prospecting activities are delivering the best results.

- Do you have a pipeline review with your team? If so, how often do you conduct it and what questions do you ask?

We do weekly pipeline reviews - we will typically discuss what deals are new to the funnel, what deals have dropped off, and what are the next steps for existing deals to ensure they move forward.

It’s just as important to understand why we are losing deals as it is to understand why we win deals.

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Dipak Vadera
Sales Manager @Leadfeeder

Dipak has started his sales career at Uber and Hootsuite, and currently, he's the EMEA Sales Team at Leadfeeder and is on a mission to help B2B companies nail their prospecting efforts. Deepak names himself “Fulltime Backpacker” and is a strong advocate for remote work. His passion is travel and he doesn't stay in one place for more than 3 weeks.

- How to set realistic sales quotas for your team? Not to set the bar low and not to under motivate the team. How to define what is 'realistic' for you?

The first step is to define what is ‘realistic’ for your own business.

You can start by looking at what’s been done in the past, in my case, from my own experience of being in the role, in order to get a baseline idea of where we want to go in the future.

Things to consider may include: How many customers did you bring in the past year? What’s the average revenue per account (ARPA)? How quickly has our customer base been growing?

Once you have gone through what you have already have data on, you can start assessing the market potential: How big is the market? How much room is there to grow?

Having understood the market, take a look at the resources you have at your disposal and determine what could be achieved. Simply put, your current team should be able to attain the goals you set forward. Make sure you set a plan on how you intend to hit your target together as a team, backed by the aforementioned data and research so your team can see that you’re not pulling numbers from thin air. This helps build transparency and trust, both being quintessential qualities of a successful sales team.

- What are the sales reports you track on the daily basis? Why do these metrics matter to you?

  • Activity numbers (segmented by types of activities)
  • Deal touched to connected rate - are the activity numbers yielding results

- Do you have a pipeline review with your team? If so, how often do you conduct it and what questions do you ask?

Yes, every week.

What are the most promising deals for this week and why? We then dive into each deal discussing the current and ideal scenario, who the champion is, their goals and objectives, and last but not least, next steps to ensure they can commit to bringing the deal in.


A properly-managed sales pipeline makes it easy to identify bottlenecks, optimise every stage of the process, and accelerate growth at the very end of the funnel.

Sharing is caring. I’d like to thank all the sales experts who dedicated their time and tips; sharing with and caring for our community. In educating each other, we can supercharge sales processes, ensure our customers feel a personal connection, and ultimately share success.

I hope the advice in the article brings you closer to a well-managed sales pipeline, shortened sales cycles, and increased revenue.

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