6 Best Practices Discussed to Build a Robust Sales Pipeline
- Dropping dead leads and prioritizing high-value and sales-ready ones can help you gain more efficiency
- The more control you have over your sales pipeline, the better your revenue generation
- Combining your sales and marketing teams can pave the way for your business’s growth
- To increase sales, provide more relevant content to your product/service and business
- Identify and cross out possible bottlenecks in your pipeline to keep your potential customers moving through the sales pipeline smoothly
Are your sales declining or not growing as you expected them to? The issue could be in your sales pipeline.
Your sales pipeline is the backbone of your overall sales process and is vital to your business’s success. It delivers a stable feed of qualified leads and enables your sales team to convert those leads into valuable customers.
However, if you’re unsure about how your pipeline is built or are looking for the best practices to build your sales pipeline – don’t worry; we’ve got you covered!
Before we get moving, you must be clear on understanding what a sales pipeline is.
“A sales pipeline is a visual way of tracking a potential client’s status in the sales process. It is a set of actions taken by salespeople to convert a lead/prospect into a customer”.
According to Harvard Business Review, “there was an 18% difference in revenue growth between companies that defined a formal sales process and companies that didn’t. Businesses that adhered to best pipeline practices saw 28% higher revenue growth.”
It is imperative that your company, B2B in particular, has a healthy sales pipeline as it enables you to:
- Improve the entire sales process
- Predict your business results
- Analyze the best sales strategies for your business
- Evaluate your company’s progress
- Close more deals
6 Best Practices for Building a Powerful Sales Pipeline
We’ve listed below six best practices to help you transform the way you manage your sales pipeline. These tips can help improve your sales process and generate more revenue. Let’s explore.
1. Define Your Pipeline Stages
The first step to follow in managing your sales pipeline is to break your pipeline into stages and then define them. Each stage needs to be clearly defined with actionable steps for the sales reps to take.
If you haven’t created a sales pipeline yet, our experts can help you create one.
Map your customer journey by understanding how a lead moves and makes its way through the sales process.
Also, understand what your sales team is already doing. Modify the existing approach if needed and build a new pipeline for better management.
Related Read: 7 Key Steps to Build a Solid Sales Ops Structure
2. Put Your Customers First
“Never put the cart before the horse while building your sales pipeline.”
One of the biggest mistakes most sales managers and teams make today is they don’t put their customers’ thought processes first. Instead, they just build their pipeline around arbitrary decisions.
But your product/service exists only because of your customers. So, build a customer-centric sales pipeline that runs alongside your buyer’s journey.
We recommend you break your buyer’s journey into the following stages:
- Recognize the problem
- Realize the economic impact
- Specify decision standards
- Check alternatives
- Select the vendor
Each of these five stages require a specific action to be taken by your sales reps.
For instance, let’s say your potential customer has reached the fourth stage (checking for alternate sellers/vendors). They might be weighing up your product/service against your competitors. This is the right time for your sales team to quickly jump in and send a brief comparison video or a similar asset to them, which can help them sway back to your side.
Remember, these stages need to be flexible so they can be tweaked later per the customer journey.
3. Bridge the Gap Between Sales and Marketing
Bridging the gap between sales and marketing may sound cliche or like an adage, and you just shrug it off. But, you might want to reconsider your thoughts as it is crucial for your sales team to be aligned with the marketing.
Yes, their main objective is to forward good and qualified leads. What if they don’t know what a good lead or SQL (Sales Qualified Lead) is? The very thought haunts you, right?
However, the good news is that it can be fixed by working closely with experts who can help you identify the problem, fix it, and overcome your lead generation challenges.
4. Identify & Focus on the Best Leads
It takes about the same time to close each deal in every sales process. It is best practice to avoid getting distracted by leads that won’t move the needle.
Instead, concentrate your time and efforts on high-value and sales-ready leads. View the activity of your leads, identify the most engaged ones, and focus on them.
It is equally important to drop a lead when you need to!
After spending weeks or even months nurturing a lead, letting it go can be hard. But, when they are not interested and can’t be pushed through to the next stage, it is better to drop them and focus on others.
Don’t waste your time trying to convince leads that simply aren’t interested. Identify dead leads quickly so you can concentrate on the following opportunities in the pipeline.
5. Review and Update Your Sales Pipeline
Top sales companies know that a technique that works today may not work tomorrow. So, they review their sales process and strategies regularly to ensure things are on point for maximum efficiency.
Every sales pipeline changes constantly – new leads come in, move from one stage to another, and finally, deals get closed. If you are not prudent, your pipeline can get helter-skelter and lead to lost deals. You must keep your details and information in your pipeline reviewed and updated for each process stage.
Related Read: 5 Common Mistakes to Avoid in Sales Operations
6. Deliver More Content
Emails and phone calls are indeed the pillars of sales communication. However, people require more; in-depth information that can help them better understand your product/service and is helpful for their business.
Create content that showcases your brand, product/service, and offerings. Send them to your prospects – this will enable your team to take your potential customers to the next stage. A study by Marketing Charts reports that only 27% of sales reps who talk to prospects collaborate with the marketing team on content creation. But, the sales and marketing teams need to work together to create content your potential customers want to consume.
Optimize Your Sales Pipeline Today
Not heeding your sales pipeline can negatively impact your business growth.
The aforementioned six sales pipeline best practices can help you drive your sales process, focus on sales pipeline growth, gain better control over sales data, and eventually boost your profits.
You need the right sales pipeline management tools, technology, and expert guidance to achieve this, close more deals, and gain more revenue.