Amidst the current pandemic, that has spiraled into an economic crisis, your pipeline might be slightly affected. This could possibly leave you with some concern about how to effectively manage your deals. Properly managing your pipeline helps you evaluate your sales process, identify weak spots, and forecast revenue. Here are some best practices to follow when managing your pipeline:
It’s easy to assume that each customer is separate and distinct and therefore requires their own custom approach to making a deal. And you may notice that each of your sales reps are using different sales techniques, going as far as using different approaches for each different lead. But your business’s target customers have a lot of things in common. Their prime needs and reasons for seeking you out are similar, you should use that to your advantage and standardize your sales process. This makes it easier to identify where your leads are having hang-ups and give your reps tools to help move them along.
You now have a process and your pipeline is full of leads. Assuming those leads are all in different stages, you need to be sure you are managing it optimally. A simple Excel spreadsheet to track all the details is not going to cut it. You should consider using a CRM system to keep track of all your sales activities. A dedicated CRM is the best way to manage your sales pipeline properly. Actually CRM software has become such an effective part of sales, high performing sales teams rank CRM as their second most important sales tool. As you consider CRM tools, be sure to take a look at the world’s #1.
A process and the #1 CRM tool are great, but then how do you measure sales? Your sales pipeline is a living organism that is constantly changing...almost like the economy. You need to monitor the key sales metrics that it produces, which includes things like:
The right data matters and incorrect data can delay your sales process. This data can be made visible with easy to create reports in Salesforce and added to an interactive KPI dashboard created for the Sales Manager and Executives. This will make it effective and easy to regularly review the health of your pipeline.
Use your pipeline reviews as an opportunity to eliminate weak opportunities. This is an integral factor in effective sales pipeline management. Sales reps can be overly confident. This can cause them to spend too much time on ‘top of the funnel’ opportunities because they believe these new opportunities are in reach. The reality is a percentage of all opportunities in your team’s funnel are WAY out of reach. It’s imperative that you suss out these kinds of ‘out of reach’ opportunities before you waste time and effort trying to convert them.
Every sales process, for the most part, begins with a Lead/Prospect. Good sales reps will nurture their leads in order to land a deal. Following up isn’t easy or anyone’s favorite task but there are ways to make it easier. One way is to set a reminder (Salesforce has tasks/events set up out-of-the-box) to notify you when you should follow up. Or you could also automate the process completely, by using an email template to automatically follow up on a specific date or after a specific period of time.
Breakups can be hard, particularly when you have spent a large chunk of your time forming and cultivating this relationship. But, you’ll know a lead is dead when they clearly state they’re not interested, you can no longer get ahold of them, or you’ve tried multiple times to move things forward and they can’t be pushed through to the next stage. If you learn to identify these red flags at the beginning, you can move on to the next opportunity to close a big deal – without spending more time trying to breathe life into a relationship that simply won’t work out.
Sometimes a lead can go silent because the sales reps responsiveness or followup strategy is slow. As reported by, CSO insights, 27% of sales reps say that a long sales cycle is one of the biggest barriers to sales effectiveness. The reason being, the longer the process, the more chances the lead has to change their mind or find another product or service to solve their problem. Therefore, a short and uncomplicated sales processes are imperative. This doesn’t mean you should blast your leads with all your follow-ups in a single day, but it does mean you should find other ways to shorten it when possible. You could try shortening the number of days between follow-ups or giving your leads more information upfront, making it easier for them to make a decision.
Your pipeline is like the thriving heart of your business, and taking these best practices into consideration will help you use it to its fullest potential. A well-nurtured, CRM-managed pipeline is a vital tool in your business’s arsenal. Endiem is here to help you accomplish that, whenever you’re ready to get started.