Sales Pipeline Health: Top 5 Indicators + Best Practices

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5 Key Indicators of a Healthy Sales Pipeline

The key indicators that signal a well-managed and effective sales pipeline are:

  1. Size
  2. Balance
  3. Velocity
  4. Growth
  5. Cleanliness

1. Size

Size refers to the total number of leads and the total dollar value of deals currently in the sales pipeline, indicating whether there are sufficient prospects to meet your sales target. 

When measuring the size of your pipeline, it’s crucial to consider the quality of your leads and ensure they’re likely to convert.

2. Balance

Balance refers to the distribution of leads across different stages of the sales process, ideally forming a funnel-like structure with sufficient leads at the top and a smaller section of qualified opportunities towards the end. 

In addition to having an appropriate number of leads at each sales stage, a balanced pipeline will also facilitate the consistent flow of leads from one stage to the next.

3. Velocity

This measures the speed at which leads move through the sales pipeline, from initial contact to deal closure. 

When evaluating lead velocity, it can be helpful to benchmark your speed against industry standards or historical data within your company. This will help you evaluate if your pipeline velocity is optimal or if there are issues hampering the smooth flow of deals across the pipeline.

4. Growth

This tracks the rate at which new leads are added to the pipeline, ensuring a steady influx of potential business to maintain or increase sales over time.

It’s also important to monitor the sources of these leads. Understanding which channels (like inbound marketing, outbound sales efforts, or partner referrals) are most effective can help in optimizing lead generation strategies.

5. Cleanliness

A clean pipeline means the data in your pipeline is accurate, up-to-date, and easy to find. A key aspect is having a unified source of truth, such as Salesforce, which everyone in the organization relies on for analyzing the state of the pipeline. 

While the “cleanliness” of a pipeline is not quantifiable through traditional pipeline metrics, it’s a top priority for Operations and Sales Leaders. 

The clarity of a pipeline is often discerned through hands-on experience in deal investigation, sales forecasting, and collaboration with a sales rep and other team members. 

It’s an intuitive measure — you recognize a “clean” pipeline by its transparency and the straightforwardness in assessing your sales process, as opposed to a “dirty” or “convoluted” pipeline where insights are obscured.

Now that we got the basics out of the way, let’s now delve into how a healthy pipeline contributes to overall business success.

What Are the Benefits of a Healthy Sales Pipeline?

A well-maintained pipeline comes with several benefits, including:

  • Predictable Revenue: You gain an accurate forecast of future sales, helping you develop sound revenue projections. This predictability can help in planning long-term business strategies and managing cash flow effectively.
  • Efficient Resource Allocation: Understanding the pipeline’s status allows for optimal allocation of resources like time, budget, and personnel to the most promising/urgent leads. This can increase the likelihood of conversions and maximize your ROI.
  • Improved Sales Strategies: Regular pipeline analysis helps in identifying effective sales tactics and areas needing improvement. This leads to more refined sales strategies and processes that are crucial for adapting to market changes and the needs of a potential customer.
  • Enhanced Sales Team Performance: A clear, well-managed pipeline helps set clear sales goals and track performance, and also opens up more and better-informed coaching opportunities. 

Additionally, a healthy sales pipeline facilitates improved one-on-one interactions with sales managers — fostering a shift from reactive to proactive sales coaching due to easier data access.

However, assessing the health of a sales pipeline comes with its own set of challenges:

6 Key Challenges in Assessing Sales Pipeline Health

Here are all the hurdles and complexities of pipeline analysis:

  1. Data Quality and Accuracy
  2. Pipeline Bloat
  3. Insufficient Pipeline Coverage
  4. Subjectivity in Sales Pipeline Stages
  5. Changing Market Dynamics
  6. Dealing With Sales Cycle Variations

1. Data Quality and Accuracy

Accurate sales pipeline assessment requires high-quality sales data. Incomplete, outdated, or incorrect data can lead to misleading conclusions about the health of the pipeline.

2. Pipeline Bloat

Pipeline bloat refers to a situation where the sales pipeline is filled with too many leads, many of which may not be viable or well-qualified. This bloat can make it difficult to focus on the most promising leads and give a false sense of security regarding the pipeline’s strength.

Additionally, pipeline bloat can manifest as an overload of opportunities, not just leads. 

Often, this occurs when a sales rep hesitates to remove an opportunity from the pipeline, unwilling to accept that it may not lead to successful closures. This reluctance can lead to misallocated time and resources, and can distort forecasting because deals that are unlikely to close successfully are still counted. 

To mitigate this, sales managers should maintain better deal inspection and also monitor the duration that deals spend in the pipeline. An opportunity that lingers significantly beyond the average deal cycle length should be critically evaluated and potentially removed.

3. Insufficient Pipeline Coverage

Insufficient pipeline coverage arises when there aren’t enough opportunities in the pipeline to meet a sales target. It indicates a need for more effective lead generation and prospecting strategies to ensure a steady flow of potential deals.

4. Subjectivity in Sales Pipeline Stages

Different sales reps might have varying interpretations of each pipeline stage, leading to inconsistent categorization of deals. This inconsistency from each sales rep can skew the overall picture of the pipeline’s health. 

The key is to have a uniform understanding of sales procedures, stages, and data sources. In this context, data sources refer to the single source of truth (such as Salesforce) where everything is recorded.

5. Changing Market Dynamics

The market environment is constantly changing, which can affect the behavior and needs of a potential customer. Keeping the sales pipeline and forecasts aligned with these changes is a continuous challenge.

6. Dealing With Sales Cycle Variations

Different products or services may have different sales cycles, which can complicate the assessment of pipeline health, especially in businesses with diverse offerings. 

So, how do you tackle all these challenges and establish a healthy sales pipeline?

8 Ways to Build a Healthy Sales Pipeline

There are various strategies for creating a dynamic sales pipeline, which include:

  1. Set Performance Benchmarks
  2. Diversify Lead Generation Strategies
  3. Encourage Open Communication
  4. Clearly Define Lead Qualification Processes
  5. Systematize Lead Nurturing Practices
  6. Perform a Regular Sales Pipeline Review and Optimize the Pipeline
  7. Monitor and Adapt to Market Changes
  8. Use the Right Sales Pipeline Management Tools

1. Set Performance Benchmarks

To foster a healthy sales pipeline, it’s essential to focus on key metrics beyond just revenue. 

Establish clear benchmarks for sales performance to measure progress and identify areas for improvement within the five pipeline health indicators we mentioned earlier.

For example, to maintain cleanliness, set internal benchmarks to ensure all deals are updated by a specific time each week, which can facilitate accurate sales forecasting by managers. 

In terms of maintaining growth, ensure that you hit a specific number of new leads every week/month. As for size, while monitoring the number of new leads certainly helps, also verify if your pipeline isn’t overpopulated by stagnant deals.

When it comes to pipeline velocity, monitor the average cycle speed to understand and improve the pace at which deals progress through the pipeline. 

As far as balance, a regular pipeline review can help sales managers evaluate deal distributions and step in when necessary.

2. Diversify Lead Generation Strategies

Leverage avenues like content marketing, social media marketing, and networking events to attract a steady stream of potential leads. A diverse lead generation approach ensures a continuous influx of prospects into the sales pipeline.

Beyond ensuring a constant flow of prospects, diversifying lead generation helps you identify the most effective tactics. It allows you to pinpoint what to amplify and where to innovate. 

Now, lead generation isn’t limited to marketing efforts — it also involves leveraging referrals, forming partnerships, and quickly responding to potential leads who engage through your website or other interactive platforms. 

While diversifying your lead generation strategies, it’s important to simplify the process that prospects use when reaching out to you. This might require collaboration with engineering teams to integrate more accessible contact methods within the product.

3. Encourage Open Communication

Candidness goes beyond the relationship with the sales manager, sales leader, and sales rep, and extends to your relationship with your prospects. 

Whether it’s directly requesting an introduction to a decision-maker post-discovery call or confidently executing a walkaway close on a stalled deal, candidness is key to advancing sales effectively.

In line with this, it’s crucial to be honest and transparent with your leads — they are more likely to reciprocate this transparency. Avoid overstating product capabilities — instead, inquire about their specific needs and decision-making criteria. 

Don’t hesitate to ask comprehensive questions to understand who your leads are and what they require. This will help you assess if they are a suitable fit for your product. 

Additionally, be clear about your sales process.

Need an example?

If you offer a 21-day free trial for a SaaS product, it’s beneficial to explain why you chose this specific timeframe. 

For example, you might mention that this period is ample for users to familiarize themselves with the workflows without overly delaying other priorities. Ultimately, the aim is to facilitate a decision that is both rapid and informed for everyone involved.

4. Clearly Define Lead Qualification Processes

Use specific criteria or methodologies, like MEDICC and BANT, to assess the potential of leads to become customers. Focus on factors like need, budget, and decision-making authority. 

For example, here’s how the MEDICC sales process can help you clearly define lead qualification processes:

  • Metrics: Focuses on understanding the measurable benefits your solution offers, helping to target leads that align with these value propositions.
  • Economic Buyer: Identifies the individual with purchasing authority in the prospect’s company, ensuring that you’re targeting the decision-makers who can greenlight the purchase.
  • Decision Criteria: Clarifies the prospect’s requirements and decision-making factors, enabling you to qualify leads based on how well your solution meets these criteria.
  • Decision Process: Focuses on understanding the prospect’s decision process, which involves knowing the steps they take to make a purchase. Such knowledge is crucial for qualifying leads, as it allows you to align your sales process with their buying process.
  • Identify Pain: Involves pinpointing the prospect’s challenges and qualifying leads based on their need for your solution.
  • Champion: Focuses on identifying an advocate within the prospect’s organization who believes in your solution and can influence the buying decision.

Overall, clearly defining lead qualification processes ensures that your sales team only spends time on leads with a higher likelihood of conversion.

5. Systematize Lead Nurturing Practices

Develop a systematic approach to maintaining contact with prospects through emails, phone calls, and educational content. 

Nurturing builds relationships and keeps your business top-of-mind, increasing the chances of conversion. Effective follow-ups can significantly increase conversion rates by keeping prospects engaged. 

Additionally, it’s crucial to tailor your outreach to each specific prospect or customer. 


Generic, boilerplate communication is often seen as uninteresting and can lead to poor engagement. Meanwhile, personalized interactions capture attention and foster a connection.

6. Perform a Regular Sales Pipeline Review and Optimize the Pipeline

Conduct periodic reviews to remove stagnant leads and refocus efforts on more promising ones.

How do you get started?

Conduct a minimum of one comprehensive deep dive pipeline review per week. 

This practice should be a routine part of the schedule for reps, managers, and leadership — ensuring the health and efficiency of the pipeline are continually monitored and improved.

7. Monitor and Adapt to Market Changes

Stay informed about market trends and adapt your sales strategies accordingly. 

How does this help?

Being agile and responsive to market dynamics helps in maintaining a relevant and effective sales pipeline.

Additionally, leveraging market insights can help in anticipating customer needs and preferences. This allows for proactive adjustments in your sales approach and ensures your pipeline stays aligned with current demands.

8. Use the Right Sales Pipeline Management Tools

This approach focuses on leveraging technology to streamline and optimize various aspects of the sales process. 

For example, if you’re using Salesforce, you can streamline your pipeline management and deal inspection duties to ensure a healthy sales pipeline by using a tool like Scratchpad.

What is Scratchpad?

It’s a tool designed to boost collaboration and speed for sales teams using Salesforce. It simplifies managing pipelines, inspecting deals, sales coaching, and the forecasting process.

Highlighted below are the distinguishing features that set Scratchpad apart:

  • Deal Inspection: Scratchpad Deal Inspection makes it easy for executives and sales leaders to identify risks, answer critical questions, and maintain detailed visibility across all levels of the sales pipeline. It allows in-depth analysis of deal changes, stakeholder involvement, and adherence to the sales process, all through an intuitive interface connected to Salesforce and where your reps already love to work.

Scratchpad Change Highlighting animates your Salesforce pipeline, making it easy to track changes in your team’s deals, including shifts in close dates, deal values, and sales stage progressions.

Conditional Highlighting offers a detailed view of each sales opportunity, enabling quick identification of stagnant deals, prioritization needs, and overdue updates in late-stage or committed opportunities with expired close dates.

  • Deal Spotlights: Scratchpad's Deal Spotlights proactively highlight warnings and gaps in your open pipeline. This allows you to identify and address issues and make necessary updates independently, often before they are flagged by your sales manager, sales leader, or operations team.
  • Rollups: Scratchpad automates the rollup process and eliminates the need for using spreadsheets to keep track of deals. Its Rollups feature helps you track the evolution of each deal at various levels, providing insights into the history of and reasons behind specific changes.
  • Waterfall Analytics: With Scratchpad’s Waterfall Analytics, you get a straightforward analysis of changes in your forecasts and the reasons behind them. This ensures you have an accurate forecast that’s always in sync with your existing pipeline.
  • Sales Trends Analytics and Daily Snapshots: The Sales Trends Analytics tool allows you to spot trends in how the forecast evolved over time. This allows you to compare current sales data with that from previous months, quarters, or years. Included in Trends Analytics is a feature known as Daily Snapshots, which provides a historical record of daily changes in the pipeline.
  • Scratchpad Command: Scratchpad Command brings Salesforce to users no matter where they are on the web — helping you eliminate the need for using separate note-taking apps, spreadsheets, documents, and more. It empowers sales reps and managers to effortlessly import data seamlessly from a spreadsheet (or a prospect’s website) to a CRM — streamlining your entire sales pipeline management duties.

Keen to discover more?

Schedule a demo today to explore how Scratchpad can streamline and improve your Salesforce forecasting activities!

7 Key Metrics for Evaluating Sales Pipeline Health

Measuring the health of your sales pipeline requires a keen eye on certain pipeline metrics. 

So, let’s take you through essential indicators that can help you evaluate and enhance your sales process effectively:

  • Sales Cycle Length: Sales cycle length typically measures the average time taken from initiating contact with a prospect to closing the deal. 
  • Win Rate: The win rate calculates the number of closed deals against the total opportunities over a time frame — offering insights into the effectiveness of your strategies in closing deals.
  • Number of Opportunities: This sales pipeline metric tracks the total number of opportunities in your pipeline. It’s a measure of the effectiveness of lead generation and qualification efforts.
  • Average Deal Size: Average deal size is crucial as it impacts overall revenue. In most cases, organizations typically prioritize deals with larger sizes, which might not be the right approach. If you want to get a proper average deal size, it’s also important to focus on the deals most likely to close — not just the biggest ones in your pipeline.
  • Lead Velocity Rate (LVR): LVR measures the month-over-month growth rate of every sales opportunity. It’s an indicator of the momentum in the sales pipeline and the potential for future revenue.
  • MQL to SQL Conversion Rate: This sales pipeline metric evaluates the conversion rate of Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) to Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs), reflecting the effectiveness of marketing and initial sales efforts.
  • Pipeline Coverage Ratio: This metric compares the total sales pipeline value to the sales quota or target. A healthy pipeline coverage ratio indicates that there are enough potential deals to meet or exceed sales goals.

Scratchpad: Your Gateway to a Healthy Sales Pipeline

Maintaining a healthy sales pipeline is key to forecasting accuracy, identifying growth opportunities, and ensuring sustainable sales success.

But let’s face it — maintaining a healthy sales pipeline with a tool like Salesforce can be quite a hassle.


Salesforce has a complex interface, and you have to deal with manual data entry problems, scattered sales data, overwhelming large data sets, and a multitude of other issues.

But there’s a simpler solution: Scratchpad!

Try Scratchpad for free today and discover how it can be your gateway to a healthy sales pipeline.