According to research by Vantage Point, 60% of sales managers say that their company does a poor job of managing their sales pipeline, how do you rate yours?
A sales pipeline is a visual snapshot of where prospects are in the sales process. Sales pipelines show you how many deals salespeople are expected to close in a given week, month or year and how close you are to reaching targets.
If you have a pipeline worth £100,000 in contract value and your conversion rate, from lead to sale, is 10%, then you can expect to close £10,000 worth of new business.
If your sales target is £20,000, then you will need to convert twice as many leads.
This is where pipeline analysis comes in. If you can identify improvements within your pipeline that will help you move more prospects from one stage to another, then you’re going to be more successful in your business.
For B2B sales in particular, having a healthy sales pipeline allows you to:
- Improve your sales process
- Forecast future business results
- Analyse different sales strategies for your business,
- Review your progress for the current financial year
- Know how far you are from your targets.
A sales pipeline plays a key role both in closing more sales deals and indicating the overall health and future direction of your company. Here are a few tips to manage your sales pipeline.
Follow up, follow up, follow up.
Buyers today have more choice than ever before and with it, they need more help to make the right decision and choose your product or service. The best sales people will make sure they keep following up with leads and keep following up.
Focus on the best leads
Concentrate your efforts on the best, most sales-ready, high value leads.
To help, you could sort your sales prospects from high to low, instead of by date so you can instantly see which leads are most valuable. Also, if you view your sales activities for each lead, you can identify which prospects are the most engaged.
Let go of the dead leads
It is important to know when to let go of a lead. A lead is dead when they clearly tell you they’re not interested. If you can’t contact them, or you’ve spoken to them repeatedly but have not been able to move them forward.
Recognise these dead leads quickly so you can move on.
Regularly monitor your pipelineYour sales pipeline is changing all the time so you need to monitor the key sales metrics. This includes things like:
- The number of deals in your pipeline
- The average size of the deals in your pipeline
- The average percentage of deals that you win (close ratio)
- The average lifetime of a deal before it’s closed (sales velocity)
These metrics give you an ‘at a glance’ view of the health of your sales pipeline and your business.
Review pipeline processes
The best sales organizations regularly review their sales pipeline and techniques to make sure things are optimized to ensure maximum efficiency and success.
When it comes to the sales process, each stage can be looked at and adapted/improved over time. This can be done one bit at a time!
Keep your pipeline updated
Don’t let your sales pipeline can get messy and confusing.
It is important to keep details up to date on every single lead by adding regular notes and information for each stage of the sales process. This does mean more admin time, but if you use this time to remove dead leads or update outdated contact information, then it’s time well spent.
Above are just a few good practices for managing your sales pipeline, there are more!
If you would like to discuss ways of improving yours Your Business Development Team would be happy to have a chat and see if we can help.