Sales pipeline management is important, but what practices should you adopt? This guide explains 5 sales pipeline management practices.
Are you looking to help your sales staff understand the cadence between generating a lead and closing the deal? Have you noticed that your staff often become victims of hope with certain clients they’ve latched onto?
If so, then you need to establish a few new sales pipeline management techniques for your team. There are several best practices that you can try and integrate to see better results. It’s as much about accountability as it is about production.
See below for a list of tactics that you can use to help your staff create optimal sales pipeline management habits. The results will be higher sales conversions and more profit!
1. Consider the Customer Journey Map
Generally speaking, the customer journey map is a marketing tactic. However, it’s always helpful to take a walk in your customer’s shoes from time to time from a sales perspective as well.
There are several stages to a sales pipeline, they include:
- Generating Leads
- Qualify Those leads
- Creating Initial Contact
- Setting Up a Meeting
- Kickstarting Negotiations
- Closing the Deal
It’s always helpful to encourage your staff to define their target market. One helpful exercise is to create buyer personas, which are imaginary avatars that you create to help your team understand where to prospect, the common interests of your target market, etc.
For example, let’s say you create a buyer persona named “Tom” as a potential customer for your car dealership.
Tom is anywhere between 30 to 40 years old. He loves cars, specifically sports cars, but also has a family to think about. For that reason, he’s trying to avoid the minivan life at all costs and go the SUV route instead.
To get his fix, he visits car blogs and has joined various Facebook Groups of car fanatics to learn about all the innovations and new models on the way.
Knowing this information about customers like “Tom”, your sales team now understands where they could prospect, Tom’s preferred method of communication, the inspiration behind his purchase, and even what product he’d prefer (SUV over minivan).
2. Maximize Your CRM
First of all, if your company doesn’t currently have a customer relationship management (CRM) system, then it should be your very next purchase.
A CRM can be a gamechanger for your sales staff. It can help them manage their sales pipeline on a prospect by prospect basis, then help you gain insight on where each of your reps is with their book of business.
That said, there are a lot of companies that invest in a CRM, such as Salesforce or Pipedrive, but never take the time to train their staff on how to use it. That’s like pushing someone out of an airplane without a parachute.
More than likely, your sales team is overwhelmed by the many different features and capabilities of the CRM system. Instead of taking time to learn it (due to the pressure they’re under to perform), they’ll stick with their old, disorganized methods of managing their pipeline.
A CRM can streamline the efficiency of your team’s pipeline management. Look for ways to create tutorials and help them learn the system. The ROI will be substantial.
3. Find a Balance on Touchpoints
By now, we’ve all seen the infographic on sales touchpoints statistics. You know, the one that says “2-percent of sales are made on the first contact while 80-percent of sales are made on the fifth to twelfth contact”. That one.
There’s certainly merit to that statement. It’s just like the tortoise and the hare. Those that stick it out and consistently contact qualified leads will get the sale in the end.
That said, there’s also the danger that your reps become victims of hope. Eventually, there are just some leads that you have to cut ties with… at least for a little while!
Help your sales team learn to identify progress. If each conversation continues to gain momentum, then stick with that lead. If they reach out to them eight times with no response, it is time to walk away from that lead.
4. Teach Your Team the Stages
How can you expect your sales team to go out there and perform if they don’t understand the true meaning of a sales pipeline?
Some leaders in the sales world have a terrible habit of throwing around sales jargon to new and upcoming reps without an explanation. Sales pipeline. Sales funnel. Book of business. How do we expect them to keep up?
Earlier, we listed the different stages of the sales pipeline. Make sure your team understands those stages. We here at OSX Sales Solutions have a passion for teaching teams these principles and showing them how to take actionable steps in each stage.
5. Prioritize Detailed Scheduling
45-percent of sales reps will never follow up with a client. Think about that. If that statistic holds with your team, you could lose almost half your potential profits.
The thing is, most of the time those reps don’t do it intentionally. They just forget to do it. They don’t prioritize scheduling enough to follow through with their sales pipeline.
As their leader, you need to help them establish good habits. Bringing in a sales consultant can help them understand how to schedule their follow-ups and ensure that they’re prioritizing those each day.
Promote Effective Sales Pipeline Management Techniques With Your Staff
Now that you have read our in-depth guide on how to promote sales pipeline management among yourself and your sales team, be sure to use this information wisely.
Need more strategy and direction? We’re happy to help. Call Rob Copenhaver today at (402) 858-6246 to see how our sales consultations can help your business see higher profits.