What is a Sales Pipeline?
A sales pipeline is a specific sequence of actions that a sales rep needs to take in order to move a prospect from a new lead to a customer.
Sales pipelines allow sellers to keep track of the status of every deal.It is a visual representation of the sales process and helps in forecasting the number of deals and sales.
Tips for creating and managing an effective Sales Pipeline
Determine the close rate
Not all sales prospects end in a deal. Eg: If you have ten prospects in the end only one will agree to buy. So your close rate is 10%. By calculating the actual close ratio of sales you can determine the number of calls to make and meeting to set up.This ratio shows the amount of work you need to put in.
Set activity goals
Primary mistake the sales managers make is setting numerical goals. Instead focus on action oriented goals.Do not set an aim of achieving a specific revenue in a day instead aim at talkingto 20 prospects.The goal is to give your best presentation.Set your daily and weekly activity goals based on your business and revenue results.
Establish the pipeline stages
Defining the right stages can increase the sales of the company.It will create a shared understanding of the sales process.Defining the sales stages can help in identifying specific activity goals. Your industry, sales procedure, products offered etc., influence the sale stages. Discuss the stages with your team and get their input. Make sure that everyone agrees and understands the various activities involved in each stage.Revise the stages when the need arises.
Getting more deals is pivotal for increasing the revenue of the company.The best way to achieve this is to talk to more prospects.Get a weekly or daily goal of talking to additional 10 prospects.Identify new sales opportunities and pursue them.
Closing large deals
Any company can close large deals with proper sales pipelines and focus. Understand the bigger companies and study how they make their decision.
Focus on large companies with large budgets. Offer a product with additional services and add-ons to properly secure the deal.
Increase the close rate
Here are some ways to increase your closing rate:Talk to the decision makers and develop your skill to reach them.Do not set up an elaborate buying process.Do not pursue prospects that don’t fit into your profile.Know your potential customers better than the competition.
Increase the speed
Speeding up the deal involves both the sales rep and the prospect.
Understand the decision making process of the companies and set a time frame for each stage of the process. Eliminate all doubtful and vague answers. Clarify and set dates for future meetings. If a prospect is disinterested or taking too long to respond, focus on other deals that you can close soon.
Purge dead leads
Too many deals can block the flow in the sales pipeline.
It leads to overproduction.
Review your contacts weekly and drop the deals that are taking too long.
Put such deals into the future pipeline and call-back list. Focus on the prospects that have a stronger chance of being closed.
Review and revise
Properly measuring your progress will help you identify the areas you need to focus on. Track the number of deals, size of each deal, success rates and the time frame for each deal.Track other factors based on the needs of the company and the revenue.