3 Ways to Put a Spring in Your Sales Pipeline
Your sales process is more than likely one of the most complicated parts of your workflow. There are so many different components that could get clogged up if they aren’t regularly maintenanced. So, hopefully these tips feel like you’re spring cleaning your sales pipeline for the most effective conversions.
When we discuss the concept of “spring cleaning,” it’s easy to limit yourself to your personal spaces. Many people enjoy using the springtime to clear out their homes, wardrobes, and finances. As a business owner, you have a few more places that need a good spring cleaning.
And, it seems like we’ve all acquired a bit more time on our hands these days. This can definitely be used to clean up workflow processes.
Sales in particular is a tricky aspect to your workflow. There are several different steps in the ladder before you eventually reach the top, or complete the sale. You may have heard of the phrase “sales pipeline.” Let’s break down what that means.
What is a Sales Pipeline?
In the simplest terms, a sales pipeline is the workflow process that you use to complete a sale. Basically, this method states that a sale goes through certain steps before completion. Let’s look at the steps as though they were almost like a funnel.
Note: The sales funnel and sales pipeline are two different things that work together. Using the funnel as a visual representation of the pipeline helps understand how the concepts work with each other. Learn more about the differences between a sales funnel and sales pipeline here.
The first step is gathering the lead. This is all a matter of interest from your prospective sale. At this point, there isn’t much to do with a lead other than contact.
Once you initiate contact, this is where you begin to gather necessary information about the lead. This mostly helps you determine whether or not there is serious potential with this lead.
If we were to use a sandwich as a metaphorical example of a sale, this stage would be the meat (or veggies, if you’re a vegetarian). Without it, you’d just have two lone pieces of bread and not much flavor. When looking for qualifying factors within a lead, consider the following:
- The lead’s budget
- Their need for your service
- Whom you’re speaking to within the company
- A timeline for the sale
You’ll then distribute the lead into one of two categories.
Placing the Contact
If your lead qualifies, they proceed to the next stage. If they don’t, this doesn’t immediately mean that you need to discard their contact completely. Set the contact aside if they’re not qualified just yet in a separate folder.
For the qualifying leads, this is where you’re going to write up a proposal.
This last step is pretty self explanatory! Congratulations on the sale if you’ve made it to this step!
Now, let’s think about ways to clean up your already moving sales pipeline.
This is like running a diagnostic test for your sales pipeline. Think about the following:
- The contact information you have. Is it up-to-date?
- Your opportunities. Are you allowing yourself the most diverse range of opportunities?
- The statistics. How likely are you to convert leads?
- The sales process. Is the journey clearly defined?
Organization is the biggest key component of a polished sales pipeline. Using a tool such as a dashboard can help you quickly understand what’s working and what isn’t. It’ll also highlight your highest highs and lowest lows.
All you really need to create a dashboard for your sales pipeline is a simple spreadsheet. Make sure you check it daily for the most effective results. Any tool is only as good as the effort and use you put into it.
This dashboard will carefully organize your priorities and hold you accountable for certain stages in the pipeline.
After carefully analyzing and organizing, it’s time to deep clean. This is really like taking out weeds in your spring garden. Anything that isn’t benefiting you or your business should get removed at this stage.
It’s like having a space in your home that just gets far too cluttered. You can’t remember what works for you and what doesn’t after it gets too hectic. Removing the stagnant leads from your sales pipeline is the only way to consistently maintain relationships with the promising ones.
In the end, an effective sales pipeline can propel your business to your goals. If you’re working through the motions and still not seeing the results, your issue may be within your sales pipeline. Once you do a little spring cleaning, you’ll be able to manage your leads more easily and only focus on sales that can be won.
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