From the point of prospecting to closing, an effective sales pipeline is vital. In complicated sales processes, however, simply having a tool is not enough. If by following a sales pipeline you are consuming too much time in closing a prospect then it is definitely not one of the most effective strategies out there. A good management tool along with a simple yet effective strategy becomes necessary to make it successful.
Step by Step Guide for Effective Sales Pipeline
1. Data Collection
Before managing a pipeline, you need to have data and if you don’t have one already, you’ll probably need to build it up yourself. It sounds pretty simple, however; once you are onto the task assigned soon you’ll find out how cumbersome this process could actually turn out.
So how would you go about completing this task?
It’s quite easy and you can go ahead with a number of ways to find leads. One is by utilizing lead management tools. Once you get a lead/prospect, collect all their details like name, primary address, contact details, the value of the lead, the product they are interested in, closing date, etc. This information will be stored in your database with the help of the lead management tools that you can view whenever you need it.
When I was looking for a similar tool myself, I came across this article where I found out an extensive list of top lead management software.
Here’s the link: Click Here for top lead management software products
It has got almost close to a hundred tools with ratings and descriptions on each wherein you can decide and select one for yourself. This basic information about your prospect that you collect and gather in any tool is very useful to prepare the right content, which is our next step to managing our sales pipeline.
2. Exciting Offerings
The whole concept of a sales pipeline is not only about selling a product or service, it also revolves very much around educating the prospect. It is an exchange of thoughts. You share your valuables (white paper, article, advice), and your prospect gives you their valuables (time, attention, email ID’s, etc).
Most of the time, the content you send to your prospect are a perfect match. That means give them what they are looking for. It addresses what they were searching for. It addresses the problems they were facing and finding a solution to.
It certainly takes a lot of effort in coming up with the right content and if done right it is by far the most effective and cost-effective way to get leads straight into your pipeline.
When you are creating content for your sales pipeline, consider sales process, the information you collected at the beginning, customer’s journey, so that it will help you in producing a right content.
3. Following up
Following up with your pipeline is another extremely critical step that shows impact the on any business sales. If you don’t follow up with your pipeline, you have already lost the battle.
In a study conducted by “The Marketing Donut“, it was found that a staggering 80% of sales require 5 follow-up phone calls after the meeting. One of the common mistakes that sales team make is a lack of follow up.
Be in front of people you want to follow. This means that you need to diligently and religiously follow up to your warm or even not so warm leads for an extended period of time. The best way to follow up is by having a living – breathing database of customers that are not only segregated according to scores but stacked in such a way that you can easily pull up prospects who might bring you more business.
The best alternative is this is to get an automated system in place and set reminders to trigger or tools to implement such systems.
If you do not know which prospect turned into customer and in which stage he is in the sales pipeline, it is pretty similar to shooting in dark?
Management legend Peter Drucker quite often says:
“We can’t manage what we can’t measure”.
Have a metrics that measure the progress of leads down the funnel. A good CRM can be used to track and measure the progress of the sales volume coming into your sales pipeline. QuantumDigital, a direct-marketing agency, built a win-loss analysis into its sales process that has changed the company’s sales strategy.
Weekly, everyone reports on their wins and losses in the meetings and delve deeper into perhaps a juicy deal that got away from them. The company even goes to an extent of sending a questionnaire to sales leads who couldn’t close the deal and follows up with an interview. The data is analyzed and reported back to the sales organization.
5. Evaluate and Improvise
Now you have all the data, right content, measurement details. In order to manage each of these individually; it could become quite a task. At this point, you might also have now measured who all are there in your sales. Now you have a complete understanding of your sales pipeline.
Go through the stats. Evaluate and try to figure out those who are still in the pipeline. You can start with understanding who those people are and why are they there. Follow the same path where you earned your sales and improve your strategies for actions you lost sales.
Love to know about your success or inspired stories. My hearty wishes for your success.
About The Author: Indhu Pavul
Indhu Pavul, Masters Degree holder specialized in HR and Marketing. Writing and Training are her forte. She handles sessions for Management and Engineering students. Her grandma is the biggest blessing of her life. Loves to interact and available in twitter @indhushivi.