Any business aims to increase sales and make a profit. To achieve this, you need to pay attention to prospects and how they move in your sales pipeline. Having a system to track all these makes it easier. A business pipeline follows your marketing efforts and forecasts your revenue.
A business pipeline shows you key metrics such as the number and size of deals, the rate of successful sales, and the time to close deals. A pipeline helps you evaluate the next course of action and areas to strengthen. Because you can see the progress you make with leads, you know which aspects of your team need to be strengthened. There’s no sugarcoating it; you need a solid business pipeline.
The Difference Between a Business Pipeline and a Business Plan
A business plan is a detailed description of a company’s modus operandi and its strategies for success. It earmarks the vision of the organization and includes financial projections. A business pipeline is a strategy or process used to track leads till they become customers. While a business plan focuses more on the executive and operational level of a business, the business pipeline focuses on sales opportunities and the prospect’s journey till closure.
Estimating your revenue accurately is a superpower wielded by those who have a solid pipeline. But do you have prospects stuck at a particular phase of the pipeline? Or scheduling follow-up calls is a daunting task because you don’t know what stage the prospect is at? These tips will guide you to creating a solid business pipeline.
To nurture leads into customers, you need to bring your sales and marketing strategies together on a platform. Customer relationship management(CRM) software will allow you to make better analyses, take quick action, and identify patterns through its data visualization feature. With CRM software, you eliminate work silos as you and your team can collaborate and have all your customer information on a platform. Whether you’re sending emails, calling prospects, or tracking social media metrics, it serves as your go-to platform for communication.
2. Create your Pipeline Stages
The first thing to know is that your pipeline stage would largely depend on your business model, sales strategy, and product.
The simplest form is: Prospect > Connect > Qualify Lead > Present Offer > Closed won > Closed lost.
It could also take this form: Prospect > Connect > Appointment > Qualify Lead > product Demo > Solutions Design > Present Offer > Closed Won > Closed Lost.
This is the longest stage: Prospecting > Appointment Schedule > Needs Analysis > Qualified to Buy > Presentation Schedules > Decision Maker Bought In > Quotations Presented > Signaled Intent to Sign > Closed Won > Closed Lost.
As important as having a sales pipeline, not every prospect will become a customer. Metrics help you determine qualified prospects to move further down the sales funnel. You need to outline critical metrics like sales, expenses, appointment setting, among others, into a well-compiled paragraph. For example, if you have a conversion rate of 1 in 20 prospects and you need five clients to reach your goals, it means you need to have 100 leads at the prospect stage.
Another benefit of building your sales pipeline on CRM software is the insight and patterns you’re privileged to have. Look through your previous marketing strategies for what created success and incorporate it into future endeavors. It could be an email, an e-book, or a demo that converts well. Identify and optimize this strategy to increase sales.
LinkedIn is a fantastic tool for the initial stages of a pipeline, especially lead generation. Once you know who your prospects are, you can use LinkedIn to connect with them, get their details, and possibly book an appointment. In addition, sales intelligence tools are highly effective, and 72 percent of sellers believe it is vital to sales.
This means strategically positioning yourself as a solution to people even before the need arises. Put out social media content and blogs in your niche. When people recognize you as a solution provider, they naturally gravitate towards you when they have a problem. Thought leadership improves your sales, SEO, brand visibility, and social presence.
Leverage previous data available to you. Who are those who have bought from you in the past? Create a new list of leads, remove dead leads, then map out a strategy to reach out to them.
One key to building a successful pipeline is mapping your entire workflow on one platform, cutting out bottlenecks. A CRM software will give you insight into your lead’s data, the communication pattern, and the status in the pipeline. Your sales and marketing strategies don’t need to be on different spreadsheets. Improve your productivity by having them on one platform.
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