Sales Pipeline Management: What It Is Benefits and Stages
To continue growing, every business must have new customers and clients. Businesses must create and manage a sales pipeline to attract new customers and keep them coming back.
The sales pipeline helps teams organize each stage of a deal into manageable steps. This allows them to visualize how close prospects are to purchasing. To make this process efficient, you’ll need to provide oversight.
This article will teach you everything you need about managing your sales pipeline and how to optimize it.
What is a sales pipeline?
It can be difficult to visualize the sales process. This visualization is often called a sales pipeline. It helps managers and reps track their progress and close more deals. Sales and marketing teams may have difficulty tracking their progress and knowing the next steps if they don’t have a visual presentation. Debbie Qaqish, a partner and chief strategy officer at Pedowitz Group, stated that “you don’t have a business if you don’t manage your pipeline.”
To better track the clients and deals in your pipeline, you can organize, and implement it within a customer relationship management tool. Your company’s selling strategy and processes will determine the stages of a sales pipeline. No matter the individual steps involved, the goal is to get a lead through each step of the sales pipeline and win a new client.
What is sales pipeline management?
Management of a sales pipeline management involves tracking, generating, and communicating with prospects in order to convert them into paying clients. A well-designed pipeline management system can help sales teams keep track of every deal and ensure that new leads are coming in. This is crucial for any business that wants to grow.
There are many ways to manage your sales pipeline. Each member of a team may be responsible for their own deals in some companies. A single person may manage the pipeline for a more collaborative or unidirectional team. The rest of the team will follow that person’s lead. While the specific strategy for your sales pipeline will be determined by your team’s goals and priorities, there are some best practices you can follow.
Sales teams must first track their metrics. Then, they can analyze the data and improve their sales strategies. These are important metrics that you should document:
- Neue leads
- Conversion rates
- Average deal size
- The average length of the sales cycle
- Ratio win-to-loss
- There are many sales opportunities available
Each stage of the sales process should be reviewed by sales teams to determine what has been successful and what can be improved. To forecast the sales revenue for the next month, look at the number of closed deals and leads in the pipeline at the end of each month. This information can be used to optimize slow or broken processes and increase sales projections.
The benefits of managing your pipeline
A sales team will be able to manage their pipeline more effectively and convert high-quality leads into sales.
Qaqish stated that world-class companies have a predictable, repeatable, and scalable pipeline. They know from a lot of evidence how the opportunities will flow through each stage of the sales pipeline. This predictability helps companies ensure that the right products are available for customers.
These are the three benefits of monitoring your sales pipeline.
1. This will allow you to monitor your progress more effectively.
Salespeople may not know where their potential deals are if they don’t have the tools to visualize and organize them. Proper sales pipeline management will allow a sales team to see their progress clearly and analyze their own problems. When the situation requires it, pipeline managers can help.
2. You will be able to nurture leads more effectively.
Your CRM can be used to build a sales pipeline. This allows sales teams to gather and analyze data from the sales process. This analysis provides your team with better insight into how to nurture potential customers. It allows them to build personal relationships and close deals.
3. Forecasts of sales will be accurate.
It’s much easier for teams and forecasters to accurately predict future sales because every step in the sales process has been tracked and monitored.
Managers can assess how close their team is to close the sales. They can also make an accurate estimate of when the sales will be finished and how it affects their quota. This data allows businesses to better predict revenue, budgets, and identify new growth areas.
Sales pipeline management is essential for every business. It captures future revenue flows, usually three to nine months in advance.
Sales pipeline stages
A sales pipeline has seven phases. Each phase should be included in your tracking and management process.
Before you can sell, customers must know that you exist. Target potential customers who match your client base using promotional efforts. Referrals and content marketing are also options for your sales team to educate potential clients about your company.
To increase interest in a prospective client and to move them through your sales pipeline, you can offer e-books or whitepapers, webinars, or any other lead magnet. These materials will allow your leads to find out more about your company and establish a relationship with your brand.
Once you have a shortlist of qualified prospects, reach out to them for a meeting or to send them a pitch via digital. Send a personal pitch to potential customers explaining how your product or services will benefit their business. Discuss with prospects clear steps to take them forward after the meeting.
Once you have made your pitch, make a summary of key information in a sales prospectus. It should contain your prospect’s pain points, your solution and pricing information, as well as a timeline for implementation.
Sometimes, clients and you don’t agree on the first proposal. Clients might have questions about the terms or wish to change them. Prospects may wish to increase or decrease the scope of work, adjust pricing, or manage expectations. Both sides should negotiate fair terms. You can walk away if you are unable to reach an agreement.
Sign the contract once both parties have reached an agreement. To make it easier, use a digital signature service. You and your customers can find and amend the contract easily in one place. Once it is complete, you can send a copy to them.
Once the contract has been signed, it is time to fulfill your order. To improve and redefine your sales strategy, your sales pipeline manager must collect information from the sales process. Follow up with clients to sell additional products or renew the contract before it expires.
How to optimize and build a sales pipeline
First, gather insights from customers and your team to define the stages of your sales process. Next, create a clear process for your team using performance metrics and specific goals.
Discuss your thoughts and ideas with your team before you implement your pipeline. A previous sale can be used to test the efficiency of your pipeline.
Qaqish believes businesses must recognize that a pipeline is not just a sales activity but a priority for sales and marketing to work together.
She said that marketing now has the responsibility of influencing a significant portion of the customer journey, given all the technology available and changes in customer behavior. Marketing is about setting up digital conversations with customers and responding to their digital body language and needs well before sales even gets involved. Customers typically reach 60% to 70% of their buying journey before sales are involved. Leads nurtured by marketing have higher closing rates and average deal sizes.
Once you have defined your key performance indicators (KPIs) and steps, it is time to start implementing your sales pipeline in your process. CRM software helps teams optimize and build their sales pipeline.
CRMs can help you manage your sales pipeline
CRMs can automate parts of the prospecting process. A CRM can send cold emails, create lead capture forms and post to social media. Once the CRM has collected potential leads, you can determine their potential.
Once the sales process is completed, CRMs can also be useful tools. You can set up the software to remind your team to follow up or to automatically send follow-ups.
The CRM can collect data and measure the results after-sales. It tracks your win rate and conversion rates, as well as the length of your sales cycle and your sales pipeline velocity.
Your CRM tracks metrics that give your team data and analytics to help improve your sales pipeline. You can see which leads are most successful, what steps to take to speed up the sales process, and where you can make improvements.