Having an effective sales pipeline is very important because sales teams track the progress of prospects through stages of the sales process. Sales pipeline management is the process of making the flow of leads to customers more efficient, hence making the sales pipeline more useful, which requires constantly filling your pipeline with highly qualified leads.
This concept helps predict how quickly you can move prospects down the sales funnel, and get them to close.
Over 60% of sales managers say that their company does a poor job of managing their sales pipeline.
Successful sales reps break up this process into stages in order to gradually familiarize prospects with their product. However, the way sales reps manage their pipeline has changed with the CRM technology. Customer Relationship Management Systems allow sales teams to visualize their pipeline, and monitor how quickly prospects move down the funnel.
Yet, you cannot effectively manage your sales pipeline without having a sound sales strategy, and a high-level goal. First, find the proper means to achieve it, meaning:
- build customer profiles,
- set quotas,
- prepare sales materials,
- have a system for evaluating and improving the performance.
When the sales strategy is all set, sales teams start building a pipeline, and break down the process between initial contact and closing the deal, into stages. Sales teams usually use various sales pipeline tools, such as CRMs and analytics tools, to efficiently move prospects through these stages.
The secret to effectively managing your sales pipeline is frequently re-visiting this process. Sales reps should be reviewing their pipelines on a daily basis, and find new ways to meet their quotas. Here are five best practices for better sales pipeline management:
Focus on the best leads
Don’t get distracted by leads that are just browsing, and make sure that you concentrate your efforts on the most sales-ready and high-value leads instead.
Take time to analyze your sales activities for each lead, and identify which leads are the most engaged. This will show you on which leads you should focus.
Before you contact your leads, check if their contact info is up-to-date by using an automated data validation platform. Verification tools, such as the Sales.Rocks Batch Data Verification Tool, will help you verify phone numbers, email addresses, and company information, saving you plenty of time and resources. Give it a try!
Turn the focus away from dead leads
When you have spent weeks or even months building relationships and nurturing leads, letting go can be hard.
You know a lead is dead when they clearly state they’re not interested, i.e. when you’ve reached out to them multiple times and they still cannot make a decision. These leads can’t be pushed through to the next stage of the pipeline, which means their journey ends here.
Don’t give up on follow ups
Lead follow up is currently ranked as one of the biggest challenges for sales teams. Usually, most sales professionals give up after 2–3 calls.
Nowadays, buyers have more choice, so, they need more time to make the right decision when choosing your product or service. Experienced sales people will keep following up with leads until they close the sale.
Make sure that your contact list is up-to-date. Use a sales enablement platform to automate the data update process.
Monitor pipeline metrics
Your sales pipeline is constantly changing, so you need to monitor the key sales metrics such as:
- The number of deals in your pipeline
- The close ratio (average percentage of deals that you win)
- The sales velocity (average lifetime of a deal before it’s closed)
These metrics should be reviewed on a weekly basis in order to give you an insight into the health of your sales pipeline and your business. Tracking these results will help you indicate what to change or improve in your sales strategy. This will facilitate the sales process and contribute for overall growth.
Use a CRM to manage your sales
As your business grows, you’ll see the benefit of using a CRM system to keep track of all your sales activities, and manage your sales pipeline properly. High performing sales teams confess that CRM is their first most important sales tool.
Stop wasting time with outdated data or missing prospects and start converting. Sales.Rocks as a CRM enrichment tool combines company info from open and public data with the data from your CRM. The list of contacts will be delivered to you, customized to be directly imported into your CRM. Score!
Your sales pipeline is the beating heart of your business, and its importance shouldn’t be underestimated. If you don’t manage your pipeline effectively, you risk losing new customers, which will hurt your business in the long run.
Combine these five practices with the most customized sales automated enablement tools to get your sales pipeline more organized, and bring growth for your business.
Originally published at blog.sales.rocks on April 12, 2019.