If you are from the sales department, you must have heard the term ‘sales pipeline’ a lot. It holds a significant amount of importance in the overall sales management strategy.
In simple words, sales pipeline management helps you visualize your entire sales process. It breaks down your sales opportunity into defined stages.
Have you been able to successfully convert all your leads? How many leads are waiting in the timeline? These pieces of information are important for critical planning.
Poor sales management often leads to wasted resources, including time, money, and effort. If you wish to avoid such pitfalls, you need a standardized set of the sales process in your pipeline. These processes define the series of actions that your sales reps need to perform to convert a prospect into your customer.
For better sales pipeline management, many companies are adopting sales CRM. It helps streamline and automate the entire sales process and keeps track of the progress. This pipeline management tool automates sales actions, sends out reminders for follow-up, and much more.
In short, the CRM tool helps maintain a well-organized sales pipeline.
Let’s now discuss how you can create an effective sales pipeline with the help of CRM. Let’s begin.
Steps to Effectively Build a Sales Pipeline
The primary idea of sales pipeline management is to estimate the number of sales you are going to aim for a month. There are a few basic steps involved in building a sales pipeline.
Also Read: Why Your Online Store Needs a CRM
- Finding prospects
- Determining potential leads
- Nurturing them from MQL to SQL
- Following up with SQLs
- Measuring and analyzing results
- Finding Prospects
The first step to sales pipeline management is finding your prospects.
In simple terms, prospects are visitors to your website and have gathered data on or have signed up for an email newsletter or a blog. But how do you attract visitors to your site?
The goal here is to help the user discover your website on search engine result pages. Organic traffic has the potential to get converted. You can embed a lead capture form on your website using CRM. Sales CRM helps display a lead form on the website as well as your Facebook page. So that when they visit your website, you can collect information from them.
Creating remarkable content
Another way to empower potential customers is by creating relevant content that aligns with your buyer’s journey. You can create blogs, ebooks, and other useful guides that will pique your visitors’ interest and also help attract new prospects. CRM can capture information about your visitors and store them in an organized manner.
With more than 2 billion active users on social media, it is a great place to identify and attract prospects to your site. You can get your content in front of the right people and spread the word about your business. Through interaction on your social media posts, you can identify your potential customers that have the chance of converting.
ii. Determining Potential Leads
You can’t get leads without a conversion process. Leads are those contacts who have submitted a form in return for a content offer like a white paper, ebook, and more.
But not all leads are a good fit and not all leads will be ready to buy. That’s why it’s essential to filter the leads that have the potential of becoming your customer. To do that, you need to do thorough research on your leads.
Look for their company information, check their social media, read about their industry, and more. If you use sales CRM, you can even look at the lead intelligence that you have collected. Lead intelligence refers to the lead’s engagement with your company – what pages they are looking at, what they have downloaded, and what content is resonating with them.
This information helps in determining your potential leads. And once you have identified them, you can use the same data to create and give a personalized sales experience to them.
iii. Nurturing Them From MQL to SQL
The next stage in sales pipeline management is qualifying leads to prioritize them. This is also known as the process of lead scoring. You identify qualified leads as marketing qualified leads, commonly known as MQLs. These are those leads who have identified themselves as more deeply engaged, sales-ready leads.
Offers like buying guides, requesting for product demos, or any other high-interest level offers are considered for MQLs.
CRM helps with automating the lead qualification process. It sets up a process of assigning a numerical value to each lead to reflect their likelihood of becoming a paying customer. Your CRM will notify you if they find a lead who qualifies based on the scores.
iv. Following Up With SQLs
Once a lead has been promoted to an MQL, the next step is to identify SQLs.
SQLs, or sales qualified leads, are those MQLs that your sales team has decided to be worthy of a direct follow-up. This is an extremely crucial stage as it can help convert your qualified leads into buying customers.
To follow up, you can send an email to your contact or call them up to see if they are still interested. You can document all your follow-up actions in your sales CRM. When it’s time for a follow-up, CRM will send you a reminder so that you don’t miss it Using CRM, you can completely track and record all your actions.
V. Measuring and Analyzing Results
To know if you have been successful in closing leads or not, you need to track and measure your results. You should be reviewing metrics monthly, if not daily, to understand how your efforts are performing and quickly adjust if need be.
CRMs are well-equipped with reporting and analytical tools that help you generate customized reports. Using the system, you can generate reports on various key elements such as the number of visits, leads, and customers in a month and compare it to the previous months.
Some of the important key metrics to track are sales velocity, lead-to-qualified opportunity conversion rate, win rate, and more.
CRM acts as an ultimate sales pipeline management tool. It makes it easy for business owners to track their clients and prospects in their pipeline.