We show what a sales pipeline is and why your company should be using one. Learn some tips and tricks to help you get started mastering your own pipeline and review other online resources that help take your sales process to the next level.
A sales pipeline is the predetermined pathway of the sales process. Sales pipelines are a way of tracking the progress of specific deals that a sales team is currently working on. It is a graphic representation of prospective clients/ customers and mapping their positions on the purchase process. It encompasses the entire sales process of the business – all the steps starting from initial contact with the prospect through various channels, right up to closing the sale and converting the prospect into a paying customer.
Tracking, analyzing, monitoring, and managing of all sales opportunities through the pipeline has several advantages. The primary goal of the clear-cut sales pipeline is to increase revenue. Organizations can also track the progress of their sales employees – which part of the process they’re currently at, and how to make the transition smoother and more efficient. Management can also make informed decisions about where to allocate resources and make accurate forecasts to stakeholders about future sales. Sales forecasts and revenue projections help other departments of the organization better plan for the future. Understanding where delays happen in the sales lifecycle can help executives make better decisions about sales training methodology. It can also create additional opportunities for identifying new target markets and potential upsell products.
How To Build a Sales Pipeline
Small businesses and independent organizations can increase sales volumes by building their own pipelines. How to build one? The core principles of a sound sales process boil down to awareness, attraction, agreement, and action. The first step of selling any product or service is creating awareness in specific target markets to solve a problem or provide value. This value attracts potential clients to learn more about a company’s products. The next step is to then use compelling sales copy and other promotional material to land a sales agreement – and convert the prospect into a paying customer.
To build a great pipeline, sales teams have to invest resources into research. Understanding what the target demographic is and tailoring promotional content toward them goes a long way in increasing sales. Creative ways of building a sales pipeline include generating a buyer persona – the ideal customer. Boiling down the target market gives sales teams a fair idea of who their everyday customer is going to be, what problems/ issues they have currently, how to reach out to them, and how to solve that issue by selling them the product.
Online tools are available to create and execute sales pipelines. Business owners can find and download free cold call tracking sheet, excel sales tracking template, sales call sheet template excel, etc. We’d recommend looking at Proposable for managing your sales proposals and looking into a CRM system like Hubspot, or Pipedrive to manage customer data and tracking the sales stages.
Sales Pipeline Vs. Sales Funnel
The terms ‘sales funnel’ and ‘sales pipeline’ are commonly used interchangeably. While both terms describe the prospect’s flow through the sales process, they are fundamentally different. Sales funnel vs pipeline, what’s the difference?
While a sales pipeline focuses on the set of actions taken to convert a prospect throughout the sales process, a sales funnel focuses on the quantity and conversion rates throughout the pipeline process. Sales funnel data can provide companies in-depth insights about how many of the qualified leads/ prospects progressed through to the different stages of the pipeline. While a pipeline reflects what a sales rep does to convert, a funnel measures conversion rates. Sales funnels can help companies make accurate sales forecasts – and identify what part of the pipeline is failing to convert.