How To Ensure Effective Sales Pipeline Management in Your Business
Firstly, what is a sales pipeline? A sales pipeline is a visual representation of your prospects and where they are in the sales process. A sales pipeline allows you to define particular stages in your sales process and place your prospects at specific stages. It enables you to stay on top of your leads and to know exactly how close they are to being converted to a customer.
So, what can you do to ensure effective sales pipeline management ? Read on for 5 simple steps!
1. Find Prospects
Without prospects, you won’t have or need a sales pipeline, so the first thing you need to do is generate some leads! This is often the most challenging step for businesses starting out but there are many ways to generate new leads for your business. If you need help with this area, we’ve written some useful (and free!) e-Books on lead generation, download them here or from the bottom of this post.)
2. Record Prospect Data Effectively & Keep It Up To Date
Now that you’ve got some leads, you should record their data in your CRM system. This is theirname, contact details, the value of the deal and the closing date. It is vital to record this data as without it, your prospect is no more than a name. It’s also really useful to have it stored in your CRM system so that you can access it whenever you need it and it’s in a safe and secure location. This information is crucial to good sales pipeline management as it will ultimately have an impact on the success of your follow up. Ensure that you keep you keep your prospect details up to date to avoid any embarrassing conversations later on down the line when a primary contact has left the organisation you thought they were working for.
3. Have Regular Reviews of Your Pipeline
If you’re a small business, reviewing your sales pipeline with your team is really important. Doing so allows you to:
- Discuss new leads and opportunities coming in
- Identify any obstacles that your sales team are experiencing
- Put steps in place to move deals forward
- Identify dead leads to funnel out of your pipeline
- Follow up on the last sales pipeline review and how your leads have progressed
4. Measure The Progress
Measuring the progress for each prospect is really important for you to realise what works and to improve your sales strategy at its weakest point. To do this, you need clear metrics in place. Is there a certain number of interactions with a customer you would like to meet? Maybe you can measure the effectiveness of face-to-face vs non-face-to-face interactions and see which ones help you close a sale faster.
Also, think about time. A prospect may take anything from a few days to a few months to go from a lead to sale, depending on your business and the industry you operate in. However, estimating a closing date is important since it gives you a timescale by which activities should be performed.
Evaluating your sales process and performance improvements when necessary is a huge part of the sales pipeline management process. Linked to the measuring point above, how do you measure success? What other factors should be taken into account when evaluating the effectiveness and efficiency of your pipeline? Consider the time it takes to convert a sale, the satisfaction of the customer at the end of the pipeline, the leaked prospects (leads you have lost at different stages) etc. There are always areas for improvement and finding ways of identifying those areas is crucial.
Feedback could be of great use. Ask your former leads (now customers) how they found the whole sales process, the content you’ve given them etc. Ask what they would change if given the chance. Also, listen to your salespeople. The ones who actually use the pipeline (if you have a sales team), they may have identified gaps or areas that require improvements. Give your staff the chance to voice their opinions.
The importance of managing an effective sales pipeline is significant in improving a company’s performance. It lets you to be more focused, disciplined and organised, so make sure your pipeline is up to date, organise regular reviews and continue to measure and improve your process for better sales success.
For more great content, follow us on social media:
We’ve just released 4 FREE Lead Generation e-Books…
Simply fill out the form below and your e-book will be delivered straight to your inbox: