A Sales Pipeline is a visual representation of a sales process, used by Sales Teams to quantify the demand for their products & services.
All businesses will have a sales pipeline, of sorts. But not all businesses know how to effectively record and manage one. Ideally your sales pipeline will be located on one easy to access CRM platform. NOT on a load of emails and spreadsheets – and definitely not in your head!
The key benefits:
It will analyse your sales performance, give you an effective tool for sales forecasting, keep you on track to achieve your sales targets, and allows you to better prepare for lull periods.
Forming your sales pipeline:
A sales pipeline is formed by grouping your database of prospects into well organised, logical stages, specific to your business and that your whole sales team can easily understand. And behind each stage should be set of actions that need to be completed in order to encourage the prospect through the cycle, from unqualified prospect to satisfied repeat customer.
An example of a sales pipeline:
- Prospect Data
- Qualified Company
- Decision Maker Contacted
So just to reiterate the above point, if you know where a prospect is within the sales pipeline, you can target them accordingly, to keep nurturing through the cycle until conversion into customer account. Therefore a well maintained sales pipeline will have a positive impact on how effective and cost effective your marketing communication efforts are, in turn having a positive impact on your sales conversion rates.
Something to bear in mind:
Sales pipelines do have a tendency to leak. You will not be able to control this completely, however an effectively managed pipeline will keep it to a minimum. It also means you can keep a record of why companies leak at certain stages, so you can implement measures to prevent it.
Just keep swimming:
Maintaining a healthy sales pipeline is a continuous, never ending process. Just because your order book is looking healthy now, does not mean you can stop focussing on your sales pipeline. It is essential to secure the long term sales success of your company.