Basic Concepts: Sales Pipeline Management (1 of 2)

Everyone here at Pipefy loves Sales Pipelines,  and so should you, for the record, even if you’re not in sales. Yes, you read right, it doesn’t really matter whether you’re a well versed salesperson, a business owner, an NGO/charity administrator, working with a sales/deals pipeline will make your life a lot easier, you can take my word for it.

Why have/use a Sales Pipeline?

We already pointed out here and here the relevance and importance of having a sales pipeline that suits your business’ needs and, most importantly, makes your life (and your company’s) a lot simpler.

Sales Pipeline management, therefore, aims to tailor your pipeline to better suit your needs (keep in mind that your pipeline may change overtime according to your needs and according to information you need to extract from it, making management as a whole, including there continued improvements, flow a lot more smoothly.

Sales Pipeline Management Basics

Since the basics of what is a sales pipeline and its importance within your sales processbreaking down to basics, here’s what sales pipeline management can do for your business:

  • It’s a directly proportional ratio – the more deals driven through your sales pipeline:
    • The bigger your conversion rate, or else, the percentage of them you’re able to close;
    • The less time it’ll take a customer to move through all the pipeline’s stages;
    • The bigger those deals and the results they bring you tend to get overtime and
    • The bigger your revenue and profit will be.

Sales Pipeline Management just keeps making your life better when you look at your results and ask yourself: what can be done to improve those metrics? There sure are a lot of ways to do so and, in order not to overwhelm you with information, we’ll break the concept in a two post series.

Keep the deals coming in:

As pointed out above, the higher the deal income of your sales pipeline, the bigger the chance of meetings to attend, proposals to present, etc. It’s important, though, not to give in to the temptation to stop prospecting once your deals are advancing.

People tend to prospect a lot when their sales pipeline is empty and not at all when it’s full. That’s a terrible habit, if you follow the logical thread of thought, your results will be much better if you keep on prospecting constantly.

Here’s a few sales pipeline management tips for you to follow in order to let go of the bad habit of only filling up your pipeline when it’s empty:

  1. Keep track of all of your opportunities using a list and updating it every week – Set weekly or daily goals for yourself or your team (let’s say, 1 new opportunity a day or 5 new opportunities a week) to be reported on team meetings (the results of these actions will start to show on varied periods of time, depending on the average length of your sales cycle).
  2. Determine this as a new standard for prospecting – Adopting new habits is hard and can be a painful process, so to ensure the adoption of the new standard will go on and your sales pipeline will keep on being full, people have to make the effort. Once the new specific goal (X prospecting ideas a week/ a day), make it clear that it’s a new standard and it’s to be followed.
  3. Be creative to create your lists – Besides cold-emailing and cold-calling to purchased sets of contacts, or following up on inbound leads, there are a lot of other ways to find new opportunities:
    • Go back and contact again people you have’t been able to sell to (after all, circumstances change and what made them not buy from you may have changed too), or opportunities you haven’t contacted in 6-9 months;
    • Keep track of important changes of your existing contacts’ profiles (good subjects to start a conversation);
    • Ask your customers for referrals;
    • Be systematic on your day-to-day routine – keep your eyes and ears open to any company signs on the news or as you’re driving on your way to the office, use those incidents as conversation starters.

Look for bigger and better deals:

  1. Look for companies with bigger needs (and bigger budgets do fulfil those needs) – As the universe may have already taught you, the higher the potential customer’s profile, the less they’re going to want to talk to you. Of course that’s right, they have a lot more on their plate but, as we already pointed out here, if want to close bigger deals, you have to ask for it, and the only way to do so is approaching bigger companies.
  2. Figure out your target’s buying habits – Find out when, why and how the bigger companies you’re targeting buy and then trace an action plan. Every client profile is different and, in order to adapt your actions to their profile, you first need to have detailed information about them. Try getting in touch with people that work at the company to find out how the company works, who are the people you need to contact in order to get positive responses for your proposals and so on.
  3. Think big – Bigger deals have to become natural to you. People tend to have an ease closing deals they perceive as normal or average, making it harder on themselves when it comes to closing bigger deals.  The best starting point is to you sell yourself the idea that you sell larger deals and when you come to perceive the bigger deals as natural, they become normal to you.

Stay tuned for the post 02 of the Sales Pipeline Management series for more tips on how to optimise your Sales Pipeline’s results.

Keep track of all the steps of your Sales Pipeline!

Try Pipefy’s Sales Pipeline Template: it will guide your team through all the steps of the sales pipeline, from prospecting, to properly qualifying leads to closing the deal, helping them keep track of the opportunities and always staying on top of their game.

Download a free Sales Pipeline Template

Written by Isabelle Salemme, Product content manager at Pipefy. She uses her extensive Pipefy knowledge to write informative pieces teaching users to make the best of Pipefy. Besides being responsible for all product-related content, she's an avid reader, a coffee lover and a professional photographer.