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12 Sales pipeline management best practices for your business

Key Takeaways
  • Effective sales pipeline management helps visualize every lead's path, helping to identify bottlenecks and prioritize high-value leads.
  • Defining your pipeline stages helps to streamline the process and clarify the steps needed to move new leads forward.
  • Sales pipeline best practices like removing inactive leads regularly keep your pipeline focused on high-value opportunities.
  • Salesmate CRM offers multiple revenue-driven pipelines with automation, analytics, and customization to boost sales.

Did you know? 

CEOs prioritizing sales pipeline management outperform their peers in revenue and profitability by up to 80%. 

Efficient sales pipeline management can help you: 

  • Visualize the entire sales cycles
  • Focus on high-potential prospects  
  • Discover roadblocks to sales success 

This blog explains the 12 sales pipeline management best practices for getting a boost in sales.  

Whether you’re a sales novice or an expert, these strategies will help you create an optimized and well managed sales pipeline. So, let’s begin learning.    

What is a sales pipeline?

A sales pipeline outlines the stages of a company’s sales process, from initial contact with reps to final deal closure.

It helps manage and track your prospects throughout the sales cycle, ensuring clear visibility of the actions for reps needed at each stage.

Don’t confuse it with a sales funnel, which shows the customer’s journey from awareness to purchase, focusing on conversion rates at each stage to optimize strategies.

So, a sales pipeline focuses on moving leads through stages to close deals. With effective pipeline management, you can

  • Streamline your sales process for success
  • Create more sales opportunities
  • Save time interacting with reps who are willing to listen and pay you

Let’s learn the pipeline best practices top sales managers implement to achieve this.

12 Sales pipeline management best practices to improve your sales game

We have put together the 12 sales pipeline best practices to help you better transform your sales growth strategy. 

Best sales pipeline management tips

1) Define and establish criteria for each stage of the sales pipeline 

A defined sales pipeline with stages and criteria is crucial for structured and efficient deal closing. 

So, as a sales manager, start by identifying the key stages your prospects typically go through, such as prospecting, lead qualification, meeting/demo, proposal, negotiation, and closing. 

Here are the seven key sales pipeline stages to grab opportunities and boost sales:    

Stages of sales pipeline

Each stage should have clear entry criteria: specific actions or attributes a lead must exhibit to move forward.  

For example, a lead might need to request a demo to progress from the qualification stage to the meeting stage of the sales funnel.  

Within each stage, outline the specific sales activities your sales reps should perform, like conducting needs assessments during qualification or preparing personalized proposals during the proposal stage.  

You can implement lead scoring models to quantify leads’ readiness to advance, assigning points based on their engagement level and alignment with your ideal customer profile (ICP).  

Read related: 6 Solid sales qualification frameworks to drive more conversions

2) Pay close attention to pipeline stages 

Paying close attention to each sales pipeline stage will help improve conversions and build more revenue. 

Sales managers can keep a close look at the pipeline management process with the following tips: 

  • Setting clear milestones: Define specific actions or criteria that must be met for a lead to advance to the next stage. 
  • Regular data audits: Conduct frequent sales pipeline reviews of your sales pipeline data to identify opportunities and maintain a healthy pipeline. 
  • Automated notifications: Implement automated alerts for when leads have been in a stage for too long without progressing to discover the roadblocks. 

A smart sales pipeline CRM can help you monitor each stage closely and visualize pipelines efficiently. 

Looking for a perfect tool to build custom sales pipelines?

Looking for a perfect tool to build custom sales pipelines?

Use Salesmate to create multiple customizable pipelines, giving you a comprehensive view of your average sales cycle to close deals more efficiently.

Explore Sales pipeline

3) Review pipelines frequently and identify bottlenecks 

An effective sales pipeline analysis provides insights into optimizing your current sales strategy and closing deals faster and more easily. 

Further, it helps identify and remove bottlenecks, ensuring a formal sales process and enabling you to successfully manage the pipeline.  

Tracking key sales metrics, such as lead generation numbers, conversion rates at each stage, and the average deal size, will provide a clear overview of the pipeline’s performance. 

These key metrics will also help you pinpoint stages where leads drop off or deals stall. 

For example, a consistent drop-off at a particular stage may indicate a need for process improvements or additional support.  

Alongside quantitative data, gather qualitative insights from customer feedback and sales team interviews to understand the root causes of these bottlenecks. 

Also read: 11 Essential Sales Pipeline Metrics You Should Be Tracking

4) Include daily follow ups 

While it used to take about three follow-ups to secure a conversion ten years ago, today’s environment typically requires 5 to 8 follow-ups for a higher conversion rate in meetings or emails. 

The simple reason for this is that nowadays, buyers have more choices than ever, so periodic follow-ups can help you excel at selling products or services. 

You can implement an automated follow-up sequence to ensure timely and consistent communication. 

For instance, automated emails can be set up to send personalized messages to leads who have yet to respond within a specified timeframe. 

Learn: How to Do Lead Follow Up: 9 Winning Strategies for Consultants! 

5) Keep data updated 

Having more leads in the pipeline won’t guarantee better sales outcomes.  A cluttered pipeline can distract your team from high-potential leads and reduce overall efficiency. 

So, performing regular cleanups of your sales pipeline is essential to keeping it lean and focused. These cleanups involve identifying and removing dead leads that are no longer viable.

This keeps the pipeline uncluttered and allows your team to dedicate time and resources to active opportunities.  

Further, by focusing on leads that carry more value, you optimize your sales efforts and increase the chances of closing deals. 

Regular cleanups also enhance the accuracy of your sales forecasts, as up-to-date and accurate data leads to more reliable predictions and better decision-making.   

6) Perform regular cleanups 

Maintaining up-to-date data in your sales pipeline is crucial for accurate sales forecasts, efficient resource allocation, and effective sales management.  

Here are some key strategies for you to ensure your pipeline data remains accurate: 

  • Regular data entry and real time updates: Keep communication history, notes on leads, and opportunities updated in real-time, ensuring all team members have the latest information to act accordingly. 
  • Frequent data audits: Conduct regular audits to identify and correct discrepancies, remove duplicates, and update outdated information. 
  • Leveraging automation: Automated data entry reduces manual errors and improves the overall accuracy and efficiency of sales pipeline management. 
Need to improve pipeline management?

Need to improve pipeline management?

Find out how Saesmate CRM pipeline management can help you meet your sales targets consistently.

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7) Focus on high value opportunities 

An efficient sales pipeline management process enables sales reps to focus on high-value opportunities. 

Here is how you can identify and prioritize these high value opportunities in your pipeline: 

Tips to focus hot leads in sales pipeline
  • Lead scoring: With a lead scoring system, you can rank leads based on their potential value. Factors like engagement level, budget, and decision-making authority are significant. 
  • Customer fit: Evaluate leads and focus on those that match your sales target audience and ICP. Such leads are more likely to convert and offer long-term value. 
  • Engagement activities: Monitor leads’ interactions and engagement activities. Prospects with high engagement with your product/service pages indicate strong buying intent. 
  • Historical data: Track historical data to identify patterns in past high-value deals. Apply these insights to focus on similar opportunities.  

A robust CRM like Salesmate is what you need to achieve all those insights in a single screen. It helps you enrich your contacts and provide more details about leads. 

With Salesmate, you can automate the lead qualification process by setting up criteria within your CRM to score, prioritize & identify leads based on engagement.  Additionally, you can track deal progress, and update pipeline stages in real time.   

8) Develop a consistent communication plan  

A consistent communication plan plays an important role in effective sales pipeline management. It mainly ensures that prospects receive timely and relevant information at every stage of the standardized sales process, fostering trust and enhancing engagement.  

Tailor your messages to address the specific needs and concerns of each sales pipeline stage of the audience, ensuring that communications are clear and concise. 

You must utilize different channels, such as emails, phone calls, and social media, to help maintain regular touchpoints with prospects.  

Follow-up automation is necessary to ensure that no leads remain unattended. Further, personalized follow up emails, driven by CRM insights, significantly improve response rates.   

9) Automate your entire sales book 

Sales pipeline automation enhances efficiency by handling repetitive tasks, enabling sales teams to focus on high-value activities.  

Start by identifying the routine tasks that can be easily automated, such as lead scoring, follow-up emails, meeting scheduling, and data entry. 

Here are the set of tasks you can automate to enhance managing your sales pipeline and boost the team’s productivity to grow revenue faster:

  • Lead scoring: Automate the ranking of leads to prioritize those most likely to convert, allowing your team to focus on the highest value prospects. 
  • Data management: Use automation to input and update data in your CRM, maintaining accuracy and freeing your team from tedious manual work. 
  • Task automation: Automate routine tasks such as assigning leads, setting reminders, and updating records, ensuring nothing falls through the cracks. 
  • Personalized outreach: Leverage automation to send personalized messages to leads based on their behavior and preferences, improving engagement. 
  • Automated follow-ups: Schedule and send follow-up emails automatically, ensuring consistent communication and nurturing leads without manual effort. 
  • Pipeline analytics: Automate the generation of analytics and reports to gain insights into pipeline performance, helping to make data-driven decisions and optimize the sales process. 

Implementing CRM software that offers robust automation features, such as lead management, meeting scheduler, sequences, and more, can significantly simplify these processes.  

10) Choose the right pipeline tool 

Effective pipeline management depends on the type of technology that you are choosing for your business.  

Businesses that are meant to choose the conventional route and track their sales with spreadsheets will only find it convenient and efficient.  

CRM sales pipeline management can be considered a powerful solution because it allows you to customize, track, and manage the pipeline according to your needs.  

You can use the CRM tool to sort your deals, generate reports, automate tasks, and share data across organizations instantly. Through mobile CRM, you can get access to sales data at any point in time.  

Related read: Best sales pipeline management tools

11) Offer better training services to reps 

Continuous training ensures your sales team stays updated on the latest sales techniques, product knowledge, and market trends.  

These are certain key components that you should make sure with effective training: 

  • Initial onboarding: Equip new hires with a thorough understanding of your company’s products, sales processes, and customer personas to ensure they hit the ground running. 
  • Sales acumen skill development: Conduct ongoing training sessions to keep your sales team’s skills sharp and up to date with the latest sales techniques and strategies. 
  • Use of sales tools: Train your team to efficiently use CRM and other sales tools to streamline their workflow and improve productivity. 
  • Customer-centric selling: Focus on training reps to understand your potential customers’ needs, engage in active listening, and build strong customer relationships. 

By focusing on these training areas, you can ensure that your sales team is well-equipped to manage the sales pipeline effectively, leading to higher conversion rates and improved sales performance. 

12) Collaborate sales & marketing through this tool

The collaboration between your sales and marketing teams can pave the way for your business’s growth. Both teams are aligned to work closely and define what qualifies as a good lead.  

This can help your business access qualified leads and avoid wasting time or attention on leads with minimal conversion chances.  

Better alignment and efficient communication between the sales and marketing departments can help nurture sales leads easily and bring more revenue to your business. 

Looking for an easy way to manage your sales pipeline?

Looking for an easy way to manage your sales pipeline?

Salesmate's free pipeline template helps to streamline your sales process and boost productivity.

Get Your Free Template Now!

How Salesmate CRM sales pipeline management help in closing more deals? 

These can only work if you have the best tool for your company. For which we have Salesmate by your side with its best features. 

Salesmate CRM enables teams to visualize the journey of potential leads turning into deals. 

Here is how the stages of the defined pipeline in Salesmate look like:   

Salesmate - Sales pipeline management dashboard

Salesmate CRM offers a robust pipeline management system to help you better design end-to-end journeys with your customers. 

Here are the key features: 

  • Lead Management: With all the information at your fingertips, you can get a complete view of each lead, ensuring you never miss an opportunity. 
  • Sales pipelines: Visualize every stage of the sales process to track leads, identify bottlenecks, and optimize conversion rates, driving revenue growth efficiently and achieving sales quota. 
  • Drag & Drop deals: Easily manage deals by dragging and dropping them across different stages. 
  • Built-in calling: Use integrated calling features to make and receive calls directly within the CRM for seamless communication with prospects. 
  • Campaigns: Gain more leads by taking your email campaigns to the next level through personalizing, automating, and delivering emails that connect clients. 
  • Text messaging: Engage with prospects instantly with automated and personalized SMS to enhance communication and boost response rates. 
  • Sequences: Get new opportunities with automated email and SMS sequences to ensure timely follow-ups and consistent communication. 
  • Reporting & analytics: Maintain your sales pipeline regularly through sales reporting that can help you study your pipeline lacking and where exactly lead drops in the process. 

Salesmate is an all-in-one CRM for your business with advanced pipeline management, automation capabilities, and sales reporting.  

Struggling with sales pipeline visibility?

Struggling with sales pipeline visibility?

Salesmate CRM provides insights into your sales process with enhanced visibility and better management techniques.

Start your free trial

Wrapping it up!

The sales pipeline management best practices require co-ordination between many reps and teams for the best results.  

Besides that, you will require the best pipeline management principles, which are also the best things to adapt, like automating the entire sales playbook, performing regular cleanups, focusing on high opportunity leads, etc.  

Adapting to all these sales pipeline management tips requires the best tool, such as Salesmate, an all-in-one CRM. 

Start a 15-day free trial today! 

FAQs 

1) What is a healthy sales pipeline? 

A healthy sales pipeline enables a team to consistently track and manage sales opportunities, ensuring a steady flow of leads through each stage without bottlenecks.

2) How do you grow a sales pipeline? 

There are four ways to build out a successful sales pipeline strategy to boost revenue quickly:  

  • Enhance lead generation management 
  • Collaborate with the marketing team to understand buyer profiles 
  • Unify salespeople mindsets 
  • Know definitive sales pipeline stages  
  • Measure KPIs  
  • Refine the sales strategy whenever necessary 
  • Used data to maintain a healthy sales pipeline 
3) How do you keep the sales pipeline full so that there are no gaps? 

There are tried methods, tools, and strategies to streamline the process for you as sales leaders. The better ways of a sales pipeline management system are: 

  • Use tracking template  
  • Use strategy portfolio management  
  • Gain help from experienced personnel  
4) How to prioritize the sales pipeline? 

For strategic pipeline management, it is necessary to prioritize the sales leads that can help spike up an average sale. There are ways to prioritize leads in a better way, and they are: 

  • Use a proper prospecting tool 
  • Try lead scoring  
  • Prioritize the inbound leads 
  • Focus on the website visitors 
  • Look for the prospects who respond 
  • Great fit outbound prospects

Sonali Negi

Sonali is a writer born out of her utmost passion for writing. She is working with a passionate team of content creators at Salesmate. She enjoys learning about new ideas in marketing and sales. She is an optimistic girl and endeavors to bring the best out of every situation. In her free time, she loves to introspect and observe people.

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