Wondering what is a sales pipeline? There are several aspects that you need to understand and keep in mind when you consider a sales pipeline. Let’s start with the basics.
What is a sales pipeline?
A sales pipeline basically refers to the steps that are taken for turning prospective buyers/customers into those who purchase your product/service. This pipeline shows the open deals and those which require your attention. This is vital for businesses that have sales targets on a weekly, quarterly or monthly basis and want to accomplish them in a timely manner.
How is it different from sales funnel?
A lead pipeline is one of the basic stages in a regular sales pipeline. The sales pipeline comprises of the steps taken by the sales team for qualifying leads and eventually closing deals. On the other hand, a sales funnel is what showcases the journey of the customer, right from knowing about the organization to finally becoming a buyer. A funnel visually depicts customers as they go through various stages of the pipeline.
Leads which are qualified, keep funneling downwards throughout the process of sales with the funnel becoming narrower and the number of qualified leads reducing. At the very bottom are customers who have been converted successfully. Hence, a pipeline is about the steps taken by the business in the sales process while the funnel covers the numbers of customers finishing the whole journey.
What are the stages of sales pipeline?
While talking about the sales pipeline stages, you should certainly emphasize on the following:
- Contact- This covers when a prospective customer starts learning more about your business. This covers the generation of leads and sales prospecting.
- Qualification- Qualification of leads is essential for determining whether any lead has chances of being converted into customers. Qualification of leads saves time and helps you focus on the ones who really count. Qualification can be done through the BANT method, i.e. Budget, Authority, Needs and Timeline.
- Meeting- Setting up meetings is of importance. This helps to know prospective customers, learning more about their pain points and so on.
- Proposal- The proposal stage is when you direct your lead towards becoming a final customer. A crisp proposal that is informative and illuminating, is the need of the hour.
- Closing- The leads in the closing stage are people who have already made the purchase or signed the deal. They have transformed into paying customers.
- Retention- Keeping new customers is the need of the hour since a major chunk of future profits will be derived from a minor percentage of new customers alone. Keeping them content is thus vital.
How to build and manage a sales pipeline
Here are some of the ways by which you can create your sales pipeline-
- Identification of suitable customer
- Determination of the stages of the sales pipeline
- Finding the right triggers for customer behavior
- Work out suitable pipeline size for achieving sales goals and targets
Management of the pipeline can be done with the below mentioned steps-
- Training the sales team
- Investing more time and resources
- Following up consistently with leads
- Ensuring a crisp and smaller sales process
- Garner referrals and recommendations
- Collaborative marketing and sales efforts
- Regular cleansing of pipeline, weeding out ineffective and unnecessary leads
- Tying up with strategic partners for expanding market presence
Effective sales pipeline management from the outset
Getting qualified leads is the elephant in the room that most sales teams struggle to address. LeadX helps tackle this issue by providing a one-stop solution that can be used by everyone in the organization and partners to generate warm and qualified leads. These can be handed over seamlessly to the sales team and progress can be tracked in real-time.
Everybody is empowered to scale up organizational revenues with rewards/incentives for generating qualified leads. The management, tracking and collaborative part of the process is taken care of by LeadX. Deals are thus closed faster while fostering teamwork and enabling better performance monitoring at the same time. This makes it a value-addition to any sales pipeline.