7 Killer Ways to Master your Sales Pipeline
Your sales pipeline is not your sales forecast – it’s a management tool. If you spend your time discussing close dates, probabilities, and deal sizes, then you are forecasting. However, if you are spending your time discussing the overall health of your pipeline (i.e. how it can bring more deals to closure) then you are managing your pipeline.
Here are 7 killer ways you can improve the health of your sales pipeline:
- Sales process:
Understanding your sales process for your organization is the first key to mastering your sales pipeline. If you make assumptions you can overlook key steps in the process that could prevent you from being an efficient sales person.Start by brainstorming the sales process with your sales and marketing people so that you can make sure it is correct and comprehensive. This visual guide will do two things: firstly it will be a great everday tool for you to refer to and secondly it will identify gaps in your existing sales process that need addressing.After establishing your sales process, assign a code / term to each step. Try to limit the number of codes / terms you use. If you overcomplicate the data it will become meaningless and too difficult for people to understand.
Next, classify your prospects by the status codes you’ve identified.
Using this system you can start to compare, month by month, the changes for each prospect.
Get the basics right at the start. Log the name, address and phone number of your contact. Also record the value of the sale, what the prospect is interested in and the deadline. This basic information is the foundation of the potential sale.
Successful sales techniques are ones based on collaborative approaches rather than just selling i.e. working with the customer and educating them through exchanging ideas e.g. you provide them with useful advice and in return your customer gives you their time or their custom. When creating content to exchange with your prospect think about the customer journey. What type of information would your customer want to receive, how and when? Getting inside the mind of your customer is crucial to delivering smart content that drives results.
It takes time to engage people so why waste all your hard work by not following up on promises? Start working more productively by setting reminders that ensure you make contact with your prospects at the right time and using the right method. Your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system should be able to do this for you.
If you don’t measure you can’t manage. How do you know whether you are being a successful sales person if you haven’t defined what success means?Is there a certain number of interactions with a prospect you would like to meet? Is there a fixed amount of time you’d like to make a sale within?Make sure your goals are specific, measureable, achievable, realistic and time-bound (SMART). This will make your gaols trackable and also provide a real sense of achievement when you reach them.
- Continuous improvement:
Evaluating your sales process and making improvements should be a regular activity that stands you apart from your competitors. Take time to consider how you could improve your sales efficiency e.g. what caused some prospects to leak from the pipeline? But don’t stop there – make sure you take action from your findings.
Ask your customers for feedback on how they found the sales process and what they think you could do differently. This links with continuous improvement (see above) and will help you evolve your sales process and, in turn, your pipeline health.