Ready to make sales? A sales pipeline is your ticket to ultimate success! Learn how to build a sales pipeline that converts leads into buyers!
Did you know that almost 60 percent of sales reps miss their quotas on an annual basis? This can be worrying for any business, but it can be an even bigger concern for small business owners who are trying to grow.
What can you do to make sure you achieve sales success for your business? The first step has to be building a sales pipeline. With the right pipeline infrastructure in place, you’ll be primed to make more sales than ever.
The next question is how to build a sales pipeline that actually works. Whether you’re starting from scratch or need to tweak your existing pipeline for better results, this guide is for you.
Understand the Stages in the Sales Pipeline
The first step to building your sales pipeline is to understand the stages in it.
Most pipelines have five or six stages in them. These include:
- Building relationships
- Closing the deal
- Following up
While each stage may seem distinct, it can sometimes be difficult to know when to move between them. You can start prospecting new leads, then move to qualifying them. When is the right time to contact someone?
The time between building relationships and closing the deal probably has the most variability. You may be able to move hot leads to close the deal quickly. Other leads may take weeks or even months to convert.
You may also find yourself moving back through the pipeline at points. You might contact one person in a company, but they’re not the decision-maker. They give you contact information for someone else, so you have to move back to qualifying.
This is all natural and normal. A robust pipeline will ensure you have plenty of leads at every stage and that you’re moving people through constantly. Flexibility can be built right into this pipeline.
Discover What Your Ideal Buyer Looks Like
Your next step in building a sales pipeline that really converts is to think about what your ideal buyer looks like.
To do this, you can look at both your existing customer base and your current prospects. Who has purchased from you before? Do they have anything in common?
Now compare that to your current prospects. You can use this information to segment leads into groups, such as “likely to buy” and “poor lead.”
You can also segment prospects into “buyer personas.” If you know people in a particular industry usually end up buying, but have specific concerns, putting them in a group together allows you to develop a sales strategy to deal with their particular concerns.
For example, a tech firm may service banks and retail stores. Retail stores may have more concerns over pricing. Banks may be more worried about security.
Knowing who buys from you, as well as their common concerns, allows you to prepare. You can then categorize current prospects and develop strategies to find new prospects as well.
Get into a Routine
As mentioned, there should be a consistent flow of leads through your pipeline. This ensures that there will always be buyers ready to close deals and new prospects to contact at any given time.
That means you’ll be conducting activities for all stages of the pipeline constantly. To do this effectively, you’ll want to develop a routine.
For example, you might try following up with clients who are ready to close the deal on Monday mornings. You might spend part of Wednesday afternoon researching and qualifying leads. Tuesdays and Thursdays may be dedicated to contact and prospecting.
A routine helps keep leads flowing through the pipeline. If possible, try getting the entire sales team to work on similar tasks on the same day. This can add a bit of peer pressure or competition to motivate the team.
Routines can also be habits. You might try starting your day with a cup of coffee and a little bit of prospecting. Each team member will likely have a different routine, but that’s okay.
Trial and error will help people find the most effective way of working.
Measure and Refine Your Process
Many business owners and sales managers make the mistake of thinking that once they’ve built the pipeline, they’re done. You have it, so it should just work.
Measuring and refining the pipeline are absolutely key to generating results. Keeping tabs on key metrics lets you see what’s working and what’s not.
From there, you can tweak the pipeline process. You may need to refine your ideal customer profile based on recent market trends. This may lead to a change in the criteria used to determine what qualifies a “good” lead.
You may even want to add steps that help define your process. Reassuring buyers about security or offering additional support may be key to closing the deal.
More Tips for How to Build a Sales Pipeline That Works
The basics outlined above will help you build a pipeline primed for results. There are a few more tips that will help you supercharge your sales pipeline.
The first is to be specific. Some of the stages can be vague. Knowing the criteria that makes someone a good lead versus a bad lead, for example, is important. This kind of detail can make it easier to leverage your process.
Using the right tools is another important aspect of getting your sales pipeline into prime condition. The right tools can help automate some tasks, which can make your team more efficient.
Finally, make sure your sales reps have the right content to support buyers on their journey. Offering the right content at the right time can make all the difference when it comes to building relationships and closing the deal.
Discover the Secrets to Sales Success
If you were wondering how to build a sales pipeline, you should have a much clearer vision now. With the right pipeline in place, you’ll have a steadier stream of high-quality prospects moving through at any time. The pipeline makes it much easier for your sales team to follow their “ABCs.”
Sales is a key component of any growing business. Are you looking for more ways to supercharge your sales success for the year ahead? Call (402) 858-6246 today and discover how you can make maximize effectiveness within your sales team.