As a business owner, your sales strategy must always include activities that help in maximizing the sales pipeline by constantly attracting new leads inside it. Filling up your sales pipeline with hot leads lets your business flourish and generate better revenue.
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What is a sales pipeline?
You have often read terms like sales funnel and sales pipeline in articles that talk about generating or attracting hot leads. In this section, I will focus on what is a sales pipeline, and why it is important for you to keep it filled with new leads.
So, what is a sales pipeline?
Sales pipeline is a series of steps that enable your sales team members to organize and manage their deals and sales activities. The sales pipeline also provides crucial insight into your sales process to the sales team members.
Your typical sales pipeline serves one common purpose; help sales rep navigate the leads via various stages and turn them into paying customers.
Apart from this, salespeople can easily visualize the stage of prospects inside their sales process. Doing so, your sales team members can easily understand the actions they must take for pushing the deals into the next stage.
Sales pipeline also allows you or the sales managers to check the deal stagnancy. They can take immediate actions and make sure that their sales reps do not get stuck on one deal while compromising the health of the entire sales pipeline.
A healthy sales pipeline defines your entire sales process so that the sales reps can work within a streamlined system. Modern businesses use CRM for deriving valuable insights from their business data and making better decisions.
A well-managed sales pipeline with precise information enables the sales reps to enhance the pace at which they close a deal. Closing a deal in the right amount of time allows businesses to generate enough revenue and keep the revenue cycle stable.
Here is simplified math.
Your prospect contacted you on social media or fill up their contact information on your website form. The CRM system created a contact for you, assigned the contact to an available sales rep, reminded the sales rep about the assignment, and sent a welcome email to the prospect.
Your task is to make sure that the leads qualified by the reps after their initial communications spend less time inside your sales pipeline.
Talking with the time in mind, if your sales reps are taking more than 4-5 weeks for closing a deal, then you will see a decrease in your bottom line.
Then comes the sales funnel. In short, your sales funnel provides a visualization of the quantity and average conversion rate of prospects getting converted inside your sales pipeline.
What are the sales pipeline stages?
I am well aware of the fact that every company abides by its own unique process while building their sales pipeline. Yet, there are some basic steps involved that allows you to understand that your sales pipeline is built properly and is optimized for success.
Almost 40% of sales leaders say that optimizing lead generation so salespeople can prospect better is a top priority to help them reach revenue goals – ResourcefulSelling
Prospecting is the founding stone of every sales process. Just generating leads through effective content marketing isn’t enough, their conversion is equally important. Sales representatives try to identify the level or degree of interest the leads are showing towards your product or service.
- They start by reaching out to them over the phone or email,
- And if the prospects are not reverting, the sales reps chalk-out their follow-up tasks.
- The sales reps’ major task is to make sure that they attract the prospects and nurture those who are not interested.
2. Qualification of the prospects
80% of marketers using automation software generate increased leads and 77% convert more of those leads. – APSIS International
Breaking the ice and establishing a friendly relationship with the prospects is essential for identifying whether they are a good fit for your offering.
- If your reps don’t do this, they risk focusing their productive time and money on someone who might never convert.
- Research your prospects’ pain points, interests, budget, and needs.
- Explore all the features that the prospects might require.
- Learn more and more about your prospects.
- Doing so, you’ll successfully prioritize them and understand the ones you should focus on.
- Take advantage of various lead qualification methodologies like CHAMP or BANT.
3. Giving a demo to your prospect
How will you show that your offering is the perfect solution for their current issues and problems? With a thorough demonstration of your product or service to your prospects and highlight the important features and benefits.
- Show them how your product works.
- Also how they will benefit from its use.
- Create a narrative for encouraging prospect questions and feedback.
- Focus on your prospect’s point of view and avoid getting into the technicalities.
4. Sending the proposal
22.9% of companies focus on proposal development as a part of their sales enablement process. – FinancesOnline
Once your sales reps give the demo and understand the pain points of the prospects, they need to send a proposal.
During the demo session, your sales reps are trying to establish whether the prospects have:
- The need
- Purchase timeline
The collective data can be converted into useful information and get used in developing a tailored proposal for the prospects.
Your proposal is a reflection of the observations the sales reps made during the calls while communicating over emails and conversing with the prospect during the demo.
Your proposal must have these details in it.
- Features to include
- Total cost of the solution you are offering to them
- Exact duration of your service
- And other relevant information
If everything goes fine, you move the deal into the next phase.
5. Closing the deal
Businesses must know and understand that this is the most crucial part of your sales pipeline. Everything that you have worked for will end if you don’t successfully close a deal.
The prospect decides to make a purchase.
- Analyze and retrace the steps that have led you to this positive outcome.
- Based on your finding, optimize your sales pipeline further for improving your closing rates.
- Once the closure occurs you start with your onboarding process.
- Device a strategy that makes sure that your current customers stay satisfied and loyal to your brand.
- Even if the prospect left and you lost the deal, you must follow up.
You can still proceed with nurturing the relationship as he/she might still need your offering in the future. Never hesitate from asking for their feedback. This way you will learn where you lost the brownie points.
How to attract hot leads into your sales pipeline?
Attracting your prospects is an important task and must be carried out with better planning and flawless execution.
Many modern businesses use inbound marketing or outbound marketing for attracting their customers. Inbound marketing involves
- Creating content
- Using search engine optimization
- Subtle ways of targeting potential prospects
- Attracting them towards your website or landing page
Outbound marketing takes a more traditional and direct approach, where your sales reps are sending out cold emails or making cold calls to your prospects to introduce your offerings to them.
Here are five crucial components that can come in handy while progressing your prospects through the sales pipeline:
1. Official blogs
Strategic landing pages are used by 68% of B2B businesses to acquire leads. – Marketo
Attracting the prospects to your website and making them go through the various landing pages is one of the best methods.
Businesses can attract visitors by creating insightful content for drawing more interest in your brand. Create digital content that makes your brand look reliable and trustworthy.
Blogging is an excellent marketing tool and must be used by businesses for fostering relationships with potential customers. You can attract hot leads with the insightful content you put up on your official blog page.
2. Social media pages
90% of top-performing sellers use social media in their sales strategy. – State of sales
You can attract and fill up your sales pipeline by generating leads on your social media pages too.
Businesses must publish their content like blog posts, infographics, and videos for expanding their online presence and help them reshare these content to new audiences.
Social media allows businesses to freely and easily interact with customers and industry professionals.
Being active on the social media front is considered as a sign of an active and modern business.
Plus your activity on social media will definitely attract hot leads towards your business website.
3. Availing gated content
Gated content is used by modern marketers to attract hot leads and also used for nurturing and advancing these leads further into the sales pipeline stages.
The gated content include:
- white papers
- other downloadable content
Visitors can receive these content once they sign up on your social media page or the website itself. Once you have their data, you can add them to your email sequences and run an automated follow-up process.
4. Optimal use of emails
293.6 billion emails were sent and received each day. – Oberlo
Email communications help businesses build better and stronger relationships with their potential customers. They are an important tool that enables businesses to freely follow-up with their customers.
Following up with your prospects also helps businesses to provide better experience to them via your offerings. Sharing highly engaging emails will also help in converting the leads and turn your existing customers into loyal brand advocates.
With email sequences provided inside the most powerful small business CRM in the modern market, you can worry less about the follow-ups and focus more on strengthening the relationship with your customers and prospects.
To conclude: Be sure to use the best CRM software for managing your sales
60% of sales managers admit that their company poorly manages its sales pipeline.
Sales CRM have become advanced in the past decade. From being on-premises, they have come into the cloud, with advanced security and faster loading speeds. Sales CRM are not just simply a tool for managing your customer data anymore. They have outgrown that role. Now, they are used by the sales managers for
- Tracking their on-field locations
- Gathering reports of sales rep performance
- Status of the deals in their particular stages
- Forecasting the sales based on previous data
- Do advanced calculations and predict a win or lose rate without worrying about the bulky spreadsheets
These advanced CRM systems also come with built-in features and the ability to integrate with third-party applications to make the life of modern business owners much easier.
Salesmate CRM is one of the most affordable CRM software in the market catering to a wide array of businesses. With its features and integrations by your side, you can become more productive and close deals at a better rate.