A Sales Pipeline depicts the seller’s journey right from prospecting to closing deals. But, that is not all. Are you among those who believe the pipeline of sales is just a diagrammatic representation of your sales process? If so, understand that this is not true. A study by Harvard Business says that sales professionals who effectively manage the sales pipeline can improve their conversion rates by 28%.
If you are a sales professional, who is trying to utilize the benefits of visualizing the sales process in a pipeline, this article aims to help. This includes:
- Sales Pipeline – The Seller’s Journey
- Sales Pipeline vs. Sales Funnel
- How To Build an Effective Sales Pipeline
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Closing Thoughts
- Related reads
Sales Pipeline – The Seller’s Journey
The sales pipeline is a pictorial representation of the sales process from the seller’s perspective.
This visual way keeps track of potential customers as they progress through various stages of the purchasing process. It also helps businesses stay organized, and have a record of the customer’s journey.
This pipeline is often visualized as a horizontal bar or a funnel that is divided into various stages of a company’s sales process. Potential leads and prospects progress from one stage to another through the sales process.
This pipeline management is a powerful tool that helps sales managers analyze data on how well their process is working. It also helps them optimize it if required.
The B2B Sales Pipeline vs. the B2B Sales Funnel
The main difference between the B2B sales pipeline and the B2B sales funnel is that the pipeline focuses more on the sales process from a seller’s perspective, while the sales funnel focuses more on the sales process from a customer’s perspective.
A pipeline of sales refers to a set of stages that a potential prospect progresses through as they convert from a lead to a client. Whereas, the sales funnel refers to the quantity and conversion rates of prospects through your pipeline stages.
While the sales pipeline and the sales funnel serve two different purposes, their objectives remain the same. The objective is to build good relationships with clients to grow the business’ revenue.
Now that you now know the difference between a sales pipeline and a sales funnel, let’s discuss the steps to building an effective pipeline for B2B sales.
|Sales Pipeline||Sales Funnel|
|Seller’s perspective||Buyer perspective|
|Depicts the seller’s stages in moving the client.||Depicts the customer journey towards purchasing.|
|Starts from finding leads to converting them into customers.||Starts from becoming interested in a product to purchasing it.|
|Pipeline stages are: |
– Prospecting Leads
– Qualifying the Leads
– Negotiating with Prospects
– Closing Deals
|Funnel stages are|
Steps To Building an Effective B2B Sales Pipeline
A B2B sales pipeline helps to keep track of the sales process from start to finish. From prospecting to closing the sales deal, it is essential to build a solid yet flexible pipeline that can help your business grow.
Here are some of the steps involved in building an effective B2B sales pipeline that can help you earn quality leads, and close several deals.
- Prospect the leads.
- Qualify the leads.
- Contact potential leads.
- Build a relationship with your leads.
- Propose a sale to the leads.
- Negotiate and close the sales deal with your leads.
Let’s dive into the details.
1. PROSPECT THE LEADS
Prospecting refers to the process of finding potential leads who benefit from purchasing your service or product. Prospecting is also known as lead generation. This stage involves a lot of research, outreach, planning, and creating a list of high-potential individuals, and organizations to focus your service or product.
When prospecting is done right, it improves the quality of the leads entering the pipeline. This makes qualifying for the next level easier. As the leads qualify from one stage to another, they are close to becoming your clients.
2. QUALIFY THE LEADS
The next step to prospecting is qualifying leads. In the B2B sales pipeline, qualifying leads refers to filtering down your leads to the ones who are most likely to purchase your service or product. Some of the essentials a sales representative must analyze are as follows:
- Pain points and challenges
- Special requirements
- Growth possibilities
In this stage, you can contact your potential lead and ask them a series of qualifying questions. This can be done either over the phone or via email. You can also make use of social media platforms. This helps you engage with your potential leads, and build a relationship with them.
3. CONTACT POTENTIAL LEADS
If you have not yet contacted your potential leads in the qualification process, you should now connect with them. During this call, you can discuss things to help figure out if you are a good fit for each other.
In this stage, make sure you listen more to what the potential lead has to say. You must also make sure that the conversation helps to build trust. Even if they are not in the position to purchase your service or product, building a trustworthy relationship with your potential lead can help if they try to reconnect with you in the future.
4. BUILD A RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR LEADS
It is essential to build a relationship with your potential leads, and not let your lead go cold after the initial contact. Make sure to stay in touch with your potential leads, until the very end of the process.
You can schedule follow-up calls to check the status of their decision. This allows you to discuss more ways that can make both your businesses work together. Keep your potential lead interested, and informed by making use of content and email marketing techniques.
5. PROPOSE A SALE TO THE LEADS
At this stage, you are now closer to the goal. This stage of the B2B sales pipeline is where you can deliver your sales pitch to your potential lead who should soon be converted into your client. Avoid making use of templated approaches. Rather personalize your conversation according to the requirement of your lead.
At this stage, make sure to explain to the potential lead how your service or product can benefit them. Make use of the research you performed to find out the pain points, and challenges they face.
At this point, most potential customers would prefer to see a live demo on how exactly they benefit by purchasing your service or product. You can offer a live demo or free trial, as it can help gain the potential customer’s trust, and improves the chances of closing the sales deal.
6. NEGOTIATE AND CLOSE THE SALES DEAL WITH YOUR LEADS
Last but not least, the last stage of the B2B sales pipeline is to negotiate and close the sales deal with the potential customer. At this stage, the terms and conditions, contract, and final price are all agreed upon and signed by the customer. This is the stage that requires you to stay active by communicating with the client as much as possible. Complete the payment process and close the sales deal. Make sure to fulfill all the promises on time that you have made to the customer.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. What is the best way to build a sales pipeline?
Some of the best ways to build a sales pipeline are as follows:
– Design a sales cycle for your business.
– Identify your potential customers and target audience.
– Make qualified leads go through the sales cycle.
– Make use of a CRM tool to make your sales pipeline more efficient.
2. What is the most effective way to get B2B sales?
Some of the most effective ways to get B2B sales include:
– Research your prospects.
– Try to get as much information as you can.
– Listen to what the prospect has to say.
– Instead of talking about your business, explain how your business can benefit the prospect.
3. What is a healthy sales pipeline?
A healthy sales pipeline refers to the number of sales leads that are more likely to convert into closed sales deals. The main goal of this pipeline is to help with closing numerous sales deals with your potential leads. Higher the number of closed deals, the better and healthier the sales pipeline.
4. What should a sales pipeline include?
Here are some of the essential details a sales pipeline should include:
– Lead qualification
– Meeting or demo
– Sale Proposal
– Close the deal
– Post-purchase details
5. What are the benefits of the sales pipeline?
Some of the benefits of a sales pipeline are as follows:
– Helps monitor the progress of the team.
– Helps you analyze the requirements of resources and allocate them accordingly.
– It helps to determine the overall flow of the process, and how close your team is to closing a sales deal.
– Helps increase sales volume and generate more revenue.
If you have been wondering about how to build an effective B2B sales pipeline, this article should have helped you. Make sure to follow the steps discussed above to build an effective sales pipeline that helps you achieve your desired result.
If you have been looking for lead generation services that can help you boost your sales opportunities, make sure to reach out to us to learn more about our services.
Illustrations by Storyset