How to Build a Sales Pipeline
Sales notebook, sales diary, sticky notes, inbox, or spreadsheets? If they’re all you have to look over during your super busy sales day to summary your sales activities and to ensure nothing is missed. But what if you still feel that they’re not really working? Well! You’re not the only one!
Even how hard you’ve tried to organize your ideas and thoughts, without a framework, you could likely miss previous sales opportunities. In this case, a sales pipeline will be a saving solution for optimizing sales activities and increasing the possibility of successful deals. Not only it helps you arrange everything in order, but it also takes control your entire sales phases.
Here are some helpful ideas to help you in the very first steps of how to build a sales pipeline.
The Concept of Sales Pipeline?
A sales pipeline is a visual method which has been carefully researched and organized to track various potential clients during their reactions through different phases in the sales process. Basically, a sales pipeline will offer the sales manager and sales team members a good overview of your current potential deals.
Do you have a particular method for managing potential clients? Or, have you ever applied a “magic process” that helps you keep following to close a deal? If the answer is “YES”, you already got your own sales pipeline without recognizing it.
If there are multiple phases in your sales process such as: “Contact customers”, “Meet customers”, “Track Customer Demands”, “Contract Signed” or ” Contract Denied” — you’ll easily approach the simple and logical sales pipeline.
When being used effectively, a sales pipeline could be a great tool to support your sales activities and optimize sales opportunities. You will have an overview of your sales situation every time. You can predict the income and get away from the disorganized feeling.
Furthermore, the more you can control your sales pipeline, the more possibility you can expand your sales revenue. That is the way to be a successful sales plan.
The Basis of How to Build a Sales Pipeline
Do You Have Good Sales Habits?
It’s great to return to the basics of good sales.
The basis of sales: Someone is looking for a solution to improve their living, and a sales representative will offer them a production as a solution, help them know why that product will be helpful in making that change. It seems to be simple, right?
The issue is that people often make things complicated when making decisions. This could be understandable, especially with long sales cycles that involve lots of services.
A salesman’s responsibility is to his clients through the complicated decision-making phase. This may include many phases of repositioning or a back-and-forth that provokes new selling stages.
This is where a sales pipeline takes actions.
Review Your CRM Tools
In case you’re now using a CRM system to deal with sales management, a great practice is to return to the initial setup and rules – if you thing you need to switch, data is not difficult to transfer.
CRMs ordinarily get customized over and over. While this renovation seems natural, it’s high chance that you can get a framework that turns out to be excessively complicated.
Before further customize actions, it would be helpful to review how your current CRM delivers the sales pipeline basis being discussed in this article. Whatever your product is, it’s truly important to acknowledge what you need to complete and how it was done.
It’s essential to ensure your salesman can be profitable when using your chosen CRM.
Where to Start?
Before starting, you should review all the contacts that you think they might be signed. If the quantity is huge, you will need the help of a tool in managing not only the contacts but also the interaction between you and your potential/current customers.
What to Do with the Contacts?
It’s high time to take actions. The main thing you should keep in mind is that the outcomes cannot be controlled. Things you can take control here is your day-to-day sales activities. If you can effectively manage and correctly concentrate on sales activities, you’re probably going to be more successful at in achieving your sales targets.
Take a consideration of these regular activities that you could apply:
- Approaching the contact
- Opening the conversation
- Meeting client in person
- Sending the sales proposal
- Closing the deal
- Checking back
Consider what a potential client would need to get an answer from you or which activities they would request you to take before purchasing your product.
Organize Conversations into Sales Pipeline
When things are going, you can realize that there will be several typical kinds of conversation happen. In this case, managers have to decide whether these typical events affect the phases in your sales pipeline or not.
For instance, if you’re selling in real estate field, a “reassure buyer” section should be added when you build a sales pipeline, as you will possibly encounter various nervous buyers.
Develop Discipline for Pipeline Filling
Since you’re having some basic illustration of prospects that you need to approach and the actions to take with each kind of them, it’s important to build up a routine of finding new contacts. This is the definition of “sales pipeline filling.” Another core discipline is to recognize what the following moves will be. Until somebody decides to purchase (or refuse to purchase), consistently planning and taking the following sales activities are the key of a successful sales closing.
4 Quick Steps to Guide You on How to Build a Sales Pipeline
Mapping Out Your Ideal Sales Pipeline
We should begin with mapping out your pipeline, so we can perceive how it would look. When getting through the ideas that customers need what you offer, you’d better be aware of building a sales pipeline first. In any case, think about the conversations between you and your customer and how they process, that will form the sales pipeline. Building a sales pipeline is making various steps, from the initial idea of the deal to the closed sale – these are the sales phases. These phases may be:
- Targets (in the very first days, and those haven’t been contacted)
- Contacted (who you have already emailed or called)
- Meeting Agreed (who you have successfully set a detailed appointment)
- Proposal Sent (who you have successfully submitted formal proposal with quotation)
- Close (who already agreed to your proposal, and it’s just the time to get signature on the contract)
Mapping Out Your Sales Pipeline
In any case, this is just a piece of the process. It’s truly important to keep in mind that your sales stages need to closely reflect the purchasing phases of your prospects or clients. You’ll see that “Proposal Sent” is included in these stages – as regularly, a fully quoted proposal should be submitted to clients, and it’s a necessity in the “Purchasing Cycle.”
Also, remember that the “Purchasing Cycle” of each business is different, but it always good to have a good understand of your clients and how they would like to make the purchase decisions.
Calculate “Magic Numbers”
How many deals need to add to the sales pipeline to achieve your set targets? It would be awesome to win every deal whose proposal have been successfully submitted. However, typically, this dream will not come true.
In case you know the average percent of deals you win, you can be able to easily calculate that figure – a number of deals needed in every early phase. In short, by calculating the “magic numbers”, you’ll easily perceive how your sales pipeline will look like and how many deals should be added to the top of the sales pipeline to achieve your targets.
Set Stage-To-Stage Momentum
When your sales pipeline stages are listed out, you need to keep your deals on track. When moving the deals stage-to-stage, what are the components that will help optimize your deal? It could be: sending a written proposal, identifying partners or approval of the budget. There will always be an event in each phase that push the deals forward.
It’s really helpful to set targets for those key events. You can be able to easily control the sales activities to keep your sales pipeline moving, not the outcomes. Setting goals for yourself regarding how many sent proposals or new prospect calls made per day is the best way to ensure that the deal flow does not slow down.
Locate the Routine to Fill the Sales Pipeline
Activities adding new deals to your sales pipeline should become a part of your routine – weekly or daily depending on the character of your business.
For example, start your day with a cup of espresso, and that’s when you can make calls and prospects to find your new sales deals. It may work for me since it’s a habit. But it might be different in your case, and thus, you may need to experience with various ideas before you can exactly locate a routine that suitable for you.
Once you keep this habit and focus on finding new goals, surely you will not have to stress over your sales pipeline.
Tips for Creating an Effective Sales Pipeline
Get the Sales Team Together
It would be a waste of valuable time as miscommunication and misunderstanding happen among members of your sales team. You and your team should clearly acknowledge all the phases in the set sales pipeline, from the beginning to the end.
A helpful CRM software will definitely wipe out all of the guesswork, help the whole sales team accepts and believe in the data they are provided. A clear sales procedure and clearly defined phases will be the most effective framework for your effective management of sales pipeline.
Give Away Value
Customers would prefer not to purchase anything from a sales representative who just focuses on sales pushing. Thus, please temporary stop your selling. Rather than that, giving away value to your prospects is a better way to connect with them.
How can you offer them to help their work run more smoothly? Let’s show them the solution. How can you offer them to help them remain ahead in the tough competition? Provide them with the latest tools and tips. This is the best way to become a trusted advisor and to build a genuine relationship with your prospects.
Give away true values. The more you give, the higher chance your prospects will go toward your products.
Navigate Your Time
The time it takes to “bring home the bacon” can start from just right here until the eternity. Flexibility is normal, yet uncertainty is surely your enemy. Prepare and outline to how long should the deal flow will help you stop at the right time to pay attention and give priority to the right clients.
Build up an end date that permits you to navigate your pipeline and eliminate pointless uncertainty. You can adjust when to accelerate or slow down.
Have One Solid System
Typically, business is dependent on numerous solutions. Mental notes, notes, spreadsheets, and CRM tools that built years ago will make confusion. Thus, be aware of the consolidation’s power. Regarding this, you should use a solid lead management framework that guarantees your CRM system to integrate accounts, contacts and sales prospects within one place.
Now you have your healthy-looking sales pipeline which loaded with contacts in different phases of the discussion. You might be tempted to trust your business in a flawless position. While this might be valid, it’s great to “clean your house” now and again to guarantee that your time is optimally spent.
Consider emptying your sales pipeline occasionally to make sure you are investing time in the most prospective discussions, and that you don’t get diverted by dead deals. We all know it’s hard, yet it’s much better to let go everlastingly dragging deals to concentrate on new ones that might probably close.
When you feel great using a sales pipeline, it will be an ideal time you graduate from top-selling class. Until then, happy sales closing!
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