A good sales pipeline is vital for efficient sales work. But how do you achieve the optimal setup? Here are some tips for you!
Your sales pipeline hopefully contains all the deals currently on your desk. It can be prospects in the making, warm leads you should provide tenders for, or existing customers you should follow up with – regardless of where in the purchase process your customers are, they should be in the sales pipeline. But having a long “to-do” sort of list is not enough to be a good sales person: your sales pipeline should be pumped and “fit for fight” if you are going to be a winner! This is how you create a winning sales pipeline:
1. Structure your sales process
A structured sales process has several advantages. For example, the overview makes it easier for sales reps to sell, easier for managers to coach and helps newly hired sales persons to jump-start. So how do you structure your company’s sales process?
Step one, of course, is having a genuine sales tool that collects all your information in one place and provides you with the right conditions. But to benefit as much as possible from the system and your sales pipeline, you and your colleagues need to consider a couple of questions:
- When are you adding a deal to the sales tool? Is it when the customer has agreed to a customer meeting? When you have sent them the information? When someone has been over to meet the customer?
- Which steps in the sales process should be statuses and when are you moving a deal forward in the tool?
It’s about defining steps for your sales process. One suggestion is: 1. Qualifying 2. Pursue 3. Close 4. Won. 5. Lost and 6. Pending.
2. Prioritise your tasks once per week
With a sales tool and a deliberate sales process in place, it’s time to review the usage of your sales pipeline. What use is it to have all the customer information and deals nicely arranged if you just work your way through the list, starting from the down and down?
The winning sales pipeline is the one that helps you to prioritise and focus on what is the most important thing in that very moment. A great tip is therefore to take 30 minutes every week to review your sales pipeline and make a plan. What is most important? Is it your case to take? It won’t help you to free up a lot of time – you’re probably flat out anyway. But as one Lundalogician once said: “The difference is that if you have spent half an hour the first day of the week, you’ll be busy with what is important”. Just look at New Wave!
3. Continue to add new leads
Lastly, and perhaps the most important thing you can do to have your sales pipeline “fit for fight”, is to always have new leads coming in. The flow can never run dry! And from preventing this, you can calculate your hit rate, meaning how much of your initial working leads all the way to an order, and then use that as your base.
Even though your sales pipeline has unusually many customers in the final stage of the sales process a certain month, this doesn’t mean that the hunt for new leads can wait. It’s easy to see with your hit rate: if you don’t make those 90 sales calls, you probably won’t have nine customer meetings and eventually three orders to continue working with over the coming months. So make sure you continuously add new leads to your sales pipeline! This, together with a structured sales process with clear priorities, will give you a brilliant sales pipeline – I promise.