No matter how simple and common the job of a sales rep sounds, it still requires a lot of patience and steady positivity to drive leads from the initial contact stage to the final deal closure stage.
Every business thrives on customers and with a good sales team, more leads mean more customers.
So what exactly is a sales pipeline you may ask? Sales reps acquire leads, connect and capture their interest, market products and services to solve pain points and ultimately close the deal; all these steps constitute a process that’s called a sales pipeline.
Building a successful sales pipeline mainly means that sales reps are able to lead more contacts from the initial stage to the deal closure stage to become customers.
The possibility of a high win rate at sales may seem like a distant dream for every salesperson, but it isn’t impossible. The key step in this process- Prospect, Prospect and keep Prospecting!
Brian Tracy of Brian Tracy International has rendered some sound advice in this perspective – “Keep your sales pipeline full by prospecting continuously. Always have more people to see than you have time to see them.”
Setting up a process to increase your customer base not only helps in fetching greater profits but also helps build long-term relationships that enrich and sustain brand loyalty.
Still wondering what a sales pipeline is and how it differs from a sales funnel?
While a sales pipeline is the sequence of actions that a sales rep executes to convert a lead into a customer, a sales funnel is the visual representation of the success rate at each step of the sales pipeline.
Although the main concept of a sales pipeline and sales funnel are the same, there is a vast difference in the insights or results that can be inferred from them. It is important to know the critical difference between the two in order to learn how to boost the efficiency of your sales pipeline.
In order to understand the progress of each step of the sales pipeline, it is vital to take insights from your sales funnel. The coordinated analysis and tracking of the sales pipeline and funnel can help you accelerate the conversion rate achieved from your sales strategy.
How exactly can you perk up your sales pipeline efficiency?
Every time as an entrepreneur, when one sees the sales figures rise there is an inexplicable sense of elation!
How is this achieved? What are the points or processes where streamlining can result in better sales?
Here are 6 easy ways to boost the efficiency of your sales pipeline:
1. Track progress at each stage of your sales pipeline
Basically, a sales pipeline constitutes 5 stages and the vigilance of the sales team at each of these stages can prove to be critical to evaluate the success of the sales pipeline.
The 5 main stages of the sales pipeline include:
- Closing The Deal
- Repeat Business
It is important to assign reps in sales teams the job of evaluating the efficiency at each stage in order to surmise the overall success of the sales pipeline. Sometimes the clogging of leads at a particular stage can slow down the progress of the pipeline and can ultimately lead to loss of potential prospects and ultimately a lower conversion rate.
Thus tracking each stage of the sales pipeline cannot only boost its efficiency but can also guarantee long-term business relationships with the chance of repeat buyers.
2. Understand the potential of your sales pipeline
Every sales team needs to have a plan in place before starting to execute at each stage of the sales pipeline. It becomes vital for sales personnel to identify the potential opportunities at each stage of their sales pipeline and make the most of them.
For this, the first and foremost requisite is to understand whether the prospect or lead is at the ‘ready to buy’ stage or still requires ‘convincing and nurturing’ to be able to proceed to the buying stage.
Once this vital understanding is obtained then the process is fairly simple, sales reps need to adopt different approaches and strategies to make the maximum conversions happen.
Getting an idea of the number of possible conversions that can happen not only helps in boosting the success of your pipeline but also helps to predict when to slow down the lead generation efforts and when to fuel them up so that your sales pipeline management is smooth.
3. Push forth the velocity of each stage of the pipeline
I am sure as a sales rep your main aim would be to present a sales report at the end of the month that shows the highest conversion rate ever!
But for that, you would have to ensure optimal momentum and flow of leads into conversions out of the sales pipeline.
How can you possibly ensure something that seems like a huge challenge? It’s easy! All you have to do is track the speed of each stage of the sales pipeline and try to circumvent all possible obstructions.
Tracking the velocity of the pipeline includes ensuring constant prospecting and the setting up of metrics to measure the success rate at each stage of the pipeline.
It is estimated that if you are not connecting with all those on your database at least 1.8 to 2 times a year you are losing out on a huge chunk of potential sales profit. Hence it is important to prospect by contacting prospective customers on a regular basis.
As a kid I wondered why we had different parameters to measure our success at school, isn’t being good at studies enough? Why do I have to be evaluated at sports, moral conduct, artistic talent and a million other things when I am getting good marks in my exams?
Now I realize that there was a need to explore the potential of each child to help them grow into multi-talented individuals. Similarly, there is a huge potential in your sales pipeline and thus, at each stage we need to track its progress with the help of certain metrics.
Some of the important metrics that can measure your sales pipeline success include:
- Number of qualified opportunities
- Win rate
- Size of deals
- Sales cycle length
Each of these metrics will help not only estimate the success of your sales strategy but also help to map out the buyer’s journey in a systematic manner thus, aiding optimal changes in product design, marketing, and sales strategies.
4. Identify points of lead leakage and control lead loss
With continuous prospecting and an inflow of leads, sometimes tracking each lead’s progress across the pipeline becomes difficult.
This often results in unforeseen leakage of leads due to clogging at a particular stage or not enough nurturing.
Lead scoring can be extremely helpful in categorizing leads into sales-ready and those that still require nurturing. Lead scoring prevents clogging of leads at different stages of the pipeline and also helps in effective lead management.
Controlling lead leakage and lead loss is an important step to ensure the efficiency of the sales pipeline. For this, the marketing and sales teams need to work together to make sure that leads who enter the sales pipeline are prospected, qualified, presented attractive proposals and ultimately converted to satisfied customers.
Even minor glitches in the proposal or qualification process can prove to be detrimental to the sales profit figures if not tracked regularly.
5. Increase the prospect influx with better acquisition techniques
There are several tactics and techniques that can boost your lead and prospect influx. Acquiring better leads and guiding them along the sales pipeline carefully to ensure maximum conversion is what every businessman aims for.
There are several techniques that can aid in better lead generation, these include:
- Build an impactful blog. A blog can be a powerful tool to increase your outreach, capture your target audience’s interest and acquire qualified leads.
- Create lead magnets. Video demos, free perks, discounts, reports and guides etc. are lead magnets that can ensure a steady influx of leads for your brand. These lead magnets need to be created carefully and promoted optimally for the acquisition of good leads.
- Employ an efficient sales team. A sales team that works together coordinating different touch points of the sales pipeline can prove to be a valuable asset to your company. Moreover, tightly aligned sales and marketing teams can boost your pipeline efficiency exponentially.
- Be active on social media. In today’s world, social media is where the world is! So if you want to have a big audience and an even bigger client base then you need to perk up your social media marketing tactics.
6. Use a pipeline management tool to boost productivity
Pipeline management is an important step to sales success. Pipeline management tools such as CRM Software, Marketing Automation etc. can accelerate your sales pipeline success significantly.
Managing the individual steps of the sales pipeline and providing vital information of the prospect’s purchase behavior accumulated from previous transactions are some of the most important benefits that can be obtained with the use of a pipeline management tool.
A few conclusive words
Building a sales pipeline is critical to a business set up and must be done well so as to ensure guaranteed results and profit. With the mentioned 6 ways to boost the efficiency of your sales pipeline, I hope I have given you tips that can help your business grow and succeed.