Sales pipeline management is one of the most important responsibilities of B2B teams that marketers should learn to help the salespeople effectively and efficiently move the sales forward.
Sales pipeline management starts with setting up a sales pipeline to drive your demand generation endeavors and by defining and measuring the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and metrics to assist the salespeople to expedite the sales conversions. An efficient sales pipeline management also involves continuously monitoring and reviewing your sales pipeline for encouraging consistency and growth in sales.
According to a report by Harvard Business Review, companies with effective pipeline management showed a 15% improved growth rate as compared to those devoid of effective pipeline management. Moreover, companies with three specific practices i.e. having a defined sales process, training management in pipeline strategies, and those actually executing the pipeline review process witnessed a 28% increase in revenue growth.
Sales pipeline management involves identifying the most effective ways for salespersons to move a prospect from being a lead for eventually closing the sale.
Each stage of the sales pipeline is somehow aligned with the sales process. At every stage of the sales pipeline, the salespeople are expected to perform a series of tasks.
Effectively managing your sales pipelines can positively impact your ROI, as well as can prevent the pipelines from being soft, keeping them perennially healthy.
Managing your sales pipeline can be divided into 4 stages and each stage has the potential to positively impact your business bottom-lines. The aim of the marketers should be to build operational agility to optimize their marketing and customer experience deliverances. The tools being employed for lead generation should be automated and integrated. This allows marketers to get the data that they need to qualify and engage leads in a way that expedites the sales conversions.
So, if you feel stagnated with your sales endeavors and want to improve the quality of your sales pipeline, consider improving the following four sections of the sales pipeline:
1) Lead Qualification
This stage of the sales pipeline is all about evaluating the opportunity in front of you. As salespeople, you need to understand the requirements and the pain-points of your prospects. Also, budget is an important factor. Salespeople need to analyze how much their prospects can invest in a particular product or service.
Neglecting lead qualification results in wasted down the funnel endeavors. Either marketers tend to adopt a suboptimal approach to close sales or they keep on chasing a sale that’s uncertain to happen.
Lead qualification is important because it saves you time and money and ultimately helps you optimize your business bottom-lines. It is an initial stage of inbound marketing and occurs pretty early in the pipeline. The marketing and sales teams take integrated endeavors to optimize their lead generation endeavors.
Asking the BANT (Budget, Authority, Need, and Timeline) related questions is an important part of lead qualification and helps marketers determine how qualified a lead is to work with their company and accordingly allows them to prioritize their leads.
Asking the BANT questions help marketers deduce:
- If the prospect is qualified to benefit from the niche-specific solutions that you’re providing
- If your prospects have a need that can be addressed by your products
- The lead-in question has the requisite budget and exercises the authority to make a buying decision
- What are the probable ways the solutions being offered by you will better suffice the requirements of your prospects than the solutions being offered by your competitors
Lead qualification helps make sales representatives more efficient, productive, and motivated and allows marketers to quickly assess whether or not they are talking to a person who intends to buy what you are selling. Thus, you can easily take steps to optimize your core bottom-lines.
This stage is all about meeting the prospects and discussing the solutions that your organization is offering. Your sales closure mechanism becomes very crucial here.
Adopting the right method for closing the sales will allow your prospects to realize why your products or services are the right choices for them.
Optimizing the engagement results can definitely help your brand achieve better bottom-line results and this can be done by following the steps below:
- Prioritize professional development
- The terminologies being used by the sales teams should be clear to the prospects and to all the teams across the organization, this ensures ease of communication
- Learn about the end goals of your prospects and customers and prioritize customer success
- Embrace the latest Martech tools
By improving the engagement, marketers can create a narrative where the client is the hero of the story, which allows them to measure clients’ expectations and position all the efforts in line with the clients’ mindset. It’s a gradual process but in the end, it’s beneficial.
At this stage, a solution is developed and presented to the client. Proof of concepts is done and a proposal is drafted alongside the costs. This stage is very crucial in increasing the total sales volume and revenue. Make sure that you draft the proposals convincingly and keep the trust of your clients intact.
This is the final stage which leads to the culmination of the sales pipeline into sales. At this stage, negotiations occur and contract signing takes place. Closing is generally the final stage of the sales transaction and implies that the desired outcome has been accomplished.
Closing is the make or break moment in sales and depends upon choosing the right phrases to seal a sales deal.
In order to optimize your sales closure, you can follow the steps below:
- Consider incentivizing your customers
- Stress on the values and benefits imparted by your products or services so that the prospect feels enticed to sign up
- Avoid discounted prices and add-on discounts wherever feasible
- Discover customers’ needs and effectively communicate how specific products or services offer satisfactory solutions to customers’ problems
Wrapping Things Up
Having been deployed as a management tool, the sales pipeline is an incredibly valuable and effective means for salespeople to plan, track, and optimize their sales. The management can identify gaps in their sales strategy and can ensure that the sales process is smooth and effortless.
This helps in expediting the sales conversions without deteriorating the quality of service that the prospects receive from sales.
Visualizing the entire sales pipeline of the organization also allows analysts to come up with the projected sales number which can be pulled for a weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual basis. This can further help you in optimizing your sales bottom-lines.
Valasys Media is a well-renowned name helping B2B companies with services including lead generation lead nurturing, account-based marketing, list building services, contact discovery services, content syndication services, event promotion, appointment setting, business intelligence, and CRM services to help them optimize their marketing and advertising endeavors.
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