To understand the different stages of a sales pipeline it is important for us to be able to visualise the entire process end-to-end. A visual representation may not exactly help employees understand it but it definitely helps give a better and clear picture of how individual teams proceed with the sales process.
According to data, 63% of executives believe that their teams can perform more efficiently if they put in greater efforts to streamline their sales pipelines. Inside story, if you really want to save thousands of dollars by increasing your team’s efficiency then you must work to analyse your sales pipeline and efforts.
Understanding the different stages of a sales pipeline
What does a sales pipeline look like?
A sales pipeline is a step-by-step representation of the path that you make your customers take so that you can close a deal. There is no generic representation since different organizations will have different requirements and a unique set of target market. However, the flows remain similar and the ultimate goal is to achieve a successful sales deal.
Let’s look at the 4 crucial stages of a sales pipeline.
Prospecting or lead generation, how we would usually like to call it, is the first step in the sales pipeline.
When you are prospecting, you are looking for prospects and identifying the people who may have an interest in your product. After which you make efforts to ensure that your offerings are visible to these prospects.
There are different ways in which you can approach prospecting. Every sales prospect will not turn out to be a good fit. A very small percentage of initial prospects fit the journey. Therefore, marketers need to generate more than just 1 prospect so that the sales teams can pursue them to make a sell.
There are subcategories in prospecting.
For cold prospecting, your team reaches out to potential clients through various channels. Some of these methods include cold calling, emails and social media reach out.
This is slightly different and difficult to crack than digital marketing because the lead has not interacted with your product industry before. So, sales teams conduct brainstorming sessions to create the perfect script that works with such leads.
This method of prospecting is focused on making a connection with potential clients who’ve shown interest in your product or service.
For example, if you run social media ad campaigns or grow online visibility of your website organically then prospective buyers can reach out to you through various mediums.
After you identify a prospect, the next goal is to determine the prospect’s actual level of interest and continue to move them forward through the pipeline. At this point if the prospect seems interested then you carry them forward and assign them as a lead.
Typically, sales teams have a casual or in-depth conversation with the prospect before marking them as a lead. Depending upon their interest level and how much they already know about your product, sales teams pursue them further.
When you determine that a lead fits your criteria, you can continue targeted and personalized outreach to them through intelligent content distribution, marketing automation, etc.
You can give them information about how you have solved specific problems that are similar to theirs. You can also tell them about how you have helped other companies improve their processes and increase efficiency.
The purchase step seems like it could be an easy one to negotiate. After all, if you’ve kept your prospect loyal through all the preceding steps, it should be a piece of cake to get the documents signed and make it official, right?
As much as closing a deal seems easy at this stage it is important to keep up the persistence.
Don’t let your leads lose interest or go lukewarm and miss the connection altogether. You must make them believe that they are investing and not wasting their time and money. Show them value in this investment.
With all your hardwork and a little bit of luck, you will be able to close the deal and make a sale. However, you are still not finished at this stage.
If you have made promises to the lead then you must ensure that you fulfil them without fail. You can create a smooth transition for the client. Move them from working directly with sales to partnering with your customer success professionals. Thereon, focus on customer success to work with them on integrating the product, maximizing its effectiveness, and ensuring both renewals and upsells.
Additional Tips for Building and Managing Your Sales Pipeline
The steps listed above will give you an idea of how you can get started with building your own sales pipeline. At the same time, you should also look for additional opportunities specifically suited to your industry. It will help you find and win through competitive edge.
Find Options to Differentiate
Do extensive research on what kind of business propositions your competitors are providing to their leads and customers. If you have an upper hand in showing comparisons and how you are better than your competitors, you will surely win the sales deals.
Use Automation to Move Things Forward Where Possible
Incorporating automation into your marketing strategy can greatly increase the number of your qualified leads.
As per research, businesses that use automation to nurture prospects experience a 451% increase in qualified leads. By using automated omnichannel prospecting outreach tools can guide you to build campaigns and support your pipeline goals.
Make Data Analysis a Valuable Part of Refining Your Sales Pipeline
Take advantage of reporting data, and look for opportunities you can create from it. For example, if you see a lot of leads falling out or going dark at a certain step within your pipeline, it means that there is a problem and you must solve it with immediate effect.
Once you have the numbers, you can determine a proper solution to shore up sagging sales.
Your sales pipeline is at the core of your sales success. Refine and create a pipeline that fits your business. Therefore, tou will continue to improve your efforts and make your sales team better.
To know more about sales pipeline and lead generation, visit LeadMi
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- Speak the B2B marketing language using prospecting sales tools