If you’re looking for ways to streamline your business and manage all your sales, then you’ll need a robust and effective sales pipeline in place. Good sales pipeline management can help you boost your revenue and grow your business.
Here’s your guide for managing your sales pipeline.
So, what is a Sales Pipeline?
Put simply, a sales pipeline is a useful visual summary of where prospective deals are in the sales process. Your sales pipeline can tell you how many sales your sales team is expected to close in the coming weeks, months, or years.
It’s a great way of checking how your sales team is performing from start to finish, and it provides you with some easy-to-handle metrics to evaluate how your business is doing.
Companies should make sure that their sales pipeline is never stagnant. You should have one deal at each of the sales pipeline stages, ensuring that as one deal closes, you’ve got several others in the works at various stages.
Why is it Important?
Sales pipelines are important because it establishes an easily trackable sales process within your business. When you have an established process and sales pipeline, it helps your sales reps keep on top of their target and keep track of each lead.
There’s also one more reason that a sales pipeline is essential, and that’s boosted revenue. According to research from the Harvard Business Review, companies with a defined sales process could experience an 18% revenue growth difference compared to companies that did not.
Good sales pipeline management is vital for B2B companies. B2B deals can take months to be completed, and having a pipeline allows you to stay on top of the more complicated deals.
Having a well-managed sales pipeline can help you:
- Improve sales process
- Manage resources
- Analyze sales process
- Review progress
- Stay on target
All in all, a sales pipeline is an important part of your business and one where you should be focusing a lot of your efforts.
Tips For Sales Pipeline Management
If your sales pipeline isn’t quite up to scratch yet, don’t worry. You can do a few things to manage your pipeline effectively and help turn leads into solid sales.
Here’s how to boost your revenue.
1. Follow Up Leads
This seems like the most obvious piece of advice, but you’d be surprised how many companies don’t follow up on their leads. Even among companies that do follow up, the average response time is as high as 42 hours.
Lost leads can always translate into lost sales, so your sales team needs to be persistent when chasing leads and closing sales. Admittedly, it can be challenging to do this as it’s increasingly taking longer to close deals, but if you don’t follow up on a lead, you’re guaranteed not to get the sale.
With so many leads at different stages, the best thing you can do is to implement a system of reminders that can give your sales team a nudge to follow up on leads that haven’t yet been handled.
Sales automation systems can ensure that any leads that come through are followed up and responded to, which frees your sales team to get more leads in the works.
2. Target Good Leads
Leads are always a good thing. After all, you’re in the business of generating leads and sealing deals. However, and as you probably know, not all leads are equal. In a climate where nearly a quarter of all leads end up being fruitless, you need to be able to target your most promising leads and focus on closing those deals.
You should always focus your attention on the leads that are high value and ready for sales, and you should discard leads that you don’t think are going to drive your business forward.
One way to do this is by adjusting how you sort your leads on your dashboard. Instead of sorting them simply by date order, sort them by value from high to low. This allows you to quickly analyze which leads you should be focused on and which leads you should drop.
3. Ditch Bad Leads
On the flip side of the above point, you need to know when to let dead leads go. Not all leads will end up with a sale. That’s just part and parcel of running a business. Identifying dead leads and dropping them early can help you streamline your sales process and focus on the customer interactions that are likely to generate the most revenue for you.
A lead can be considered dead when it’s clear that the customer isn’t interested, you can’t get hold of them, or you’re having trouble pushing them through to the next stage of the pipeline after speaking to them multiple times.
Letting go of leads can be hard, but it’s important to be able to drop leads that are going nowhere and focus your time and effort on leads that are more likely to lead to money coming in.
4. Content is King
As the world of business slowly transitioned to the online world, content soon became one of the most effective marketing strategies out there.
Engaging content crafted by your marketing team is an incredibly effective way of nurturing potential new leads and getting new deals through your sales pipeline.
Sales and marketing should never be too isolated from each other. The more they can be aligned, the better your chances of getting new leads and making sales.
5. Monitor Your Metrics
Think of your sales pipeline like it’s a living being. It is organically changing and evolving all the time. You need to be able to keep on top of all these changes and monitor the right metrics.
You should monitor things like:
- Number of deals
- Average deal size
- Your close ratio
- Average lifetime of deals
Take time every week to review these metrics and assess how you’re doing. You can use a CRM platform to help you keep on top of these metrics.
6. Analyze Your Process
Every salesperson has their own way of closing deals and following leads, and you should never try to dampen that, but having a standardized sales process can help streamline your sales pipeline and ensure that deals are being done the way you want them to.
You also want to make sure to keep on top of trends. Sales techniques of yesteryear may no longer work now. There are also all sorts of new requirements and regulations around customer data and contact information. You want to make sure that you know these inside and out to maintain best practices.
7. Update Your Pipeline
As mentioned above, your pipeline is an organically changing and evolving beast, and you need to be vigilant about updating it.
If you and your sales team aren’t aware of which deals are at which stage, which new leads are being generated, and which deals have already been closed, you could end up losing out on sales.
To avoid this chaos, make sure that you’re adding notes and reminders to your pipeline – by using your pipeline management tools – so that everyone knows exactly what stage each deal is at. You can also use customer relationship management software to help you with this.
8. Equip Yourself With the Right Tools
All of the tips so far can seem a bit daunting. The truth is, they were in years gone by, but now there are a ton of great tools that you can use to manage your sales pipeline.
The most important of these is a CRM with sales pipeline software. CRM stands for customer relationship management, and these systems are vital for managing your leads and sales.
You can use a sales CRM to manage your pipeline and analyze which deals are at which stage of the pipeline, and identify the leads that are most worth your time persuing.
9. Keep Things Short and Sweet
Deals seem to be taking longer to seal nowadays, and spending hours chasing down a fruitless sale can be demoralizing.
This is another area where sales CRM software can help you. Typically, your sales reps can spend a lot of time following up old leads and sending emails back and forth to the customer trying to seal the deal. A CRM tool will help to take some of this workload off your reps and allow them to focus on generating new leads or closing older ones.
10. Sink Time Into Your Pipeline
Like all things in business, the more you put in, the more you get out. This is especially true of your sales pipeline. Companies that spend even a few more hours a week managing their sales pipeline can see a huge boost in their revenue.
Try to sink at least four hours a week into assessing and managing your pipeline. This will help your entire sales team understand what they’ve done so far and what they need to do over the coming weeks or months.
Get Control Of Your Sales Pipeline Today
Sales pipeline management requires time, resources, and the correct tools. But once you nail the right formula for your pipeline, you’ll start seeing significant increases in your revenue and profits.
If you’re interested in an easy-to-use and complete Sales CRM system, contact us today to see how we can help you. Our system doesn’t require you to install any software, and you can easily keep on top of your sales pipeline, leads, contacts, and activities whenever and wherever you wish.