Basic Concepts: Sales Pipeline Management (2 of 2)
As promised, this is the second part of the sales pipeline management basic concepts post with more information on how managing your sales pipeline can highly benefit yours and your company’s results.
In the first post we talked about sales pipeline management basics and told you you should add more and larger deals into your pipeline and now we’ll keep on talking about ways to improve your pipeline metrics.
Aim high with your conversion rate:
There’s good news and bad news about this possibility: good news is you can probably achieve it, bad news (and they’re not even that bad) it’ll take time, effort and practice. Here’s a few ways through which sales pipeline management can help you get there:
- Know who to work with – Knowledge is power and knowing who you have to work with is priceless. In a sales pipeline perspective, you can be working with two complete opposite profiles: decision makers and influencers. Decision makers are surely harder to reach, since they almost always have something more important in their plate, but they’ll spend less of your time in a negotiation. Influencers, on the other hand, are easier to reach but take a lot of your time and effort. As the name itself says, decision makers are normally the best people to talk to when you’re looking to close a deal and, not getting through to the right people may end up making you waste your time.
- Don’t wait for an invitation – Yes, you heard it right, if you wait until your prospect decides to give you their time and listen to your proposal, you should probably wait sitting down. Being the first to get to a prospect and helping them form their initial opinions is a lot less hard than trying to convince them after they’ve made their minds. Don’t wait for the ideal moment to happen, take the talking into your own hands (and schedule).
- Know your prospects’ businesses better than any of your competitors – Being able to show your customers you really took the time to get to know their businesses and getting through to them is a display of empathy that can get you more in return than you imagine.
- Enough is enough – Don’t be that person with a thing for lost deals, only spend your time working with people you believe will buy from you. Instead of wasting time and effort convincing people that don’t want to buy what you offer, invest it in searching and finding opportunities with better conversion possibilities. If a shoe doesn’t fit, it doesn’t matter how hard you try to squeeze your foot in it, in the end, it still won’t fit.
Take less time to go through your Sales Pipeline:
In the end, it’s up to both the prospect and the sales associate how long this decision process should take: the prospect’s because it really depends on everything they have to take in consideration and the sales associate because his profit (and therefore his salary) depend on whether they close a deal in a week, a month or a whole year.
- Learn your prospect’s decision process – It’s almost always very hard to work around the companies regular processes. You can, however, optimise the way you use time on your end: don’t assume things, ask them, listen and take notes. Doing this every step of your sales pipeline management you can ultimately trace patterns on the companies decision processes depending on their business/industry.
- Avoid a long “wait and think” period – It’s already been said you have to give prospects their time to make their decisions, but it’s also essential to always have a reporting system according to which both you and the prospect know what and then is expected for the next steps. Make it your business when your prospects want to “think about it” (ask them what exactly do they want to think about and how can you be helpful in this case). If they say they need to consult with their boss or a colleague, also make it your business, ask when will the conversation take place and offer to provide further information if needed. Always try and establish due dates so people don’t leave you hanging.
- Keep your “lost deal” sensor always on – As we said before, it doesn’t matter how many times you try a shoe that doesn’t fit, it still won’t fit, so the sooner you realise it, the better. If a promising prospect stays within your pipeline for too long, it’s probably lost to you, no matter how promising it looked to begin with. If people want to buy something, they’ll probably want to buy it fast, even in a corporate point of view. If you don’t seem to be able to move the prospect to the next step, you should probably declare it lost and dedicate your time and attention on the ones you can actually win.
Track and measure your results:
Keeping the logical way of thinking, you have probably already realised you can only improve what you measure. In order to do so and aim for improvements in your metrics, you have to keep track of your current results by measuring them constantly.
Working with sales pipeline management and actually looking at the numeric figures of the results of each sales pipeline stage will honestly give you a much clearer perspective of how good a salesperson is, how much better they could do and what sort of results they’re capable of achieving.
One thing you can know for sure is that there are always ways to improve your sales pipeline’s metrics, you just have to keep your eyes open and always measure your 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.