Does your organization have a customized workflow that manages the sales journey of your prospects?
Every successful customer starts their journey with awareness of your business, followed by the effective lead nurturing of the marketing team and the closing deals by the sales team. However, the stages are not as smooth and hassle-free as they sound.
The different stages of the purchase journey collectively are called the sales pipeline. Optimizing your sales framework to get better results every time is essential for a marketing team.
Let us explore effective strategies in sales pipeline management.
Table of Contents
- Sales Pipeline Management
- Steps In Sales Pipeline Management
- Creating a Sales Pipeline
- Benefits of Having a Sales Pipeline
- Sales Pipeline Management Best Practices
- Closing the Deals
Sales Pipeline Management
Sales pipeline management is the effort to increase the sales team’s productivity. Effective pipeline management consists of unique sales strategies and techniques practically applied to the business’ sales operation.
To understand the need behind the sales pipeline management, consider the working hours it takes to close the deals at the end of the month. The long conversations trying to convince the qualified leads to purchase are exhausting. But is that the end of your role?
Absolutely not. You must ensure that you retain the customer while prospecting new leads and nurturing them towards making the purchase. If your company doesn’t have a proper sales management framework, you will likely fail at every stage of the pipeline.
A sales pipeline gives you the exact outline from the initial contact with your lead through to the closure of the deal. Optimizing your pipeline helps your sales team to progress and monitor leads at every stage, to convert leads into customers.
Steps In Sales Pipeline Management
The different stages involved in the sales pipeline vary across industries. However, a typical sales pipeline consists of the following steps:
- Prospecting leads
- Lead qualification
- Deal Proposal
- Closing the deal
Creating a Sales Pipeline
Whether you are selling products or services, a sales pipeline is needed for every industry. You don’t need to create a seven- or eight-stage sales pipeline to complicate your sales process.
- Start with the prospecting aspect of your sales team, collect data regarding the workflow, and estimate the metrics you must implement at this stage.
- The second step is to label your leads as qualified, hot, warm, and cold leads to distinguish the leads from one another.
- While working with qualified leads, get an appointment to brief them about your product or service. Personal communication is the best way to gain your lead’s trust. Get yourself a team of sales experts you can trust at this phase of the sales pipeline.
- You’re almost on the verge of closing the deal; what is the best way to negotiate the terms with your customers? Propose a deal to your lead and make the negotiation if necessary.
- The final step is deal closure, in which you cover the documentation. You can also request your customer’s signature (if necessary) and requirements for the purchase.
Benefits Of Having A Sales Pipeline
Managing the entire sales process of your business, from prospecting to closing, often feel like burning the candle at both ends. Implementing the sales pipeline management into your sales operations has significant benefits, some of which are listed below:
- If a salesperson takes too long at any stage, you can easily track the process for delays and focus on addressing the issue.
- With sales pipeline integration into CRM software, sales managers can trace the rise of any potential barriers and the sales movement through each phase.
- Visualization of the sales timeline helps the sales team to effectively manage the time required to close each deal.
- With the sale pipeline, tracking the progress of every sale month-wise and annually helps organizations to set their target and achieve their goal.
- One of the common mistakes in the sales process is spending a lot of time on cold and dead leads. You can identify and remove dead leads using the software in sales pipeline management.
- A sales pipeline helps organizations to build strong communications with their customers through every stage.
Sales Pipeline Management Best Practices
It is not enough to create a sales pipeline for your business. Instead, you must follow the industry trends and key practices to obtain the best results from your sales team.
- Always follow up with your prospects at every stage of the pipeline.
- Use a CRM to optimize your sales pipeline and manage your overall sales operations.
- Ensure to drop dead leads in your sales pipeline to provide maximum productivity.
- Focus on the leads more likely to convert into customers (hot leads).
- Monitor your sales pipeline metrics, i.e., where the prospects are, how many leads are moved to the next stage, how well your sales team is performing, the closing deals ratio, and track the overall statistics.
- Reviewing your sales pipeline and updating it is mandatory.
- Keep minimum stages in your pipeline, as it reduces the process workflows and ensures maximum efficiency. With many stages, closing a deal takes more time and effort.
- Sales Pipeline – Everything You Need to Know in 2023
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- Sales Appointment – 8 Effective Ways to Improve Your Sales Strategy
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Does a CRM tool make a sales management process effective?
Yes. CRM software brings a significant difference in the way a business handles sales operations.
Without a Customer Relationship Management tool or software, a business is left with spreadsheets and constant check-ins to measure the effectiveness of a sales process. CRM software can handle multiple sales leads and visually represents the phases where potential customers are in the process.
2. What is the prime purpose of using sales pipeline management?
The primary purpose of using the sales pipeline management system is to ensure that sales operations are carried out effectively and efficiently. With an effective sales pipeline management system, a business can
– Forecast the number of closed deals required to achieve the annual targets.
– Identify potential blockers and focus on hot leads.
– Get rid of dead leads and clarify remaining prospects at each pipeline stage.
3. Are the sales pipeline and sales funnel the same?
A sales pipeline consists of a sales team’s actions to complete a deal. In contrast, the sales funnel determines the number of leads converted to customers.
Sales Pipeline = Seller Journey
Sales Funnel = Buyer’s Journey or Conversion rate
4. How many stages must a sales pipeline contain?
An optimal sales pipeline must contain five to seven stages to ensure effective pipeline management for businesses. If you have more than ten stages, your sales cycle becomes inefficient as it will take more time to navigate through each stage and eventually close the deal.
Closing the Deal
The most important and final stage of the pipeline is closing the deal. Your business’s entire profit depends on your sales pipeline’s effectiveness.
If you need help with creating a sales pipeline for your business, reach out to us to take your business to the next level. At Appointments, we help organizations close more deals, build pipelines, and provide results-oriented solutions every time.
Illustrations by Storyset