How To Manage Your Sales Pipeline

Managing your sales pipeline is the key to success when it comes to generating business sales. Follow these tips on how to manage your sales pipeline successfully and with ease.

What is a sales pipeline?

Creating a sales pipeline is the process of moving people you “suspect” of being customers that would like your services or goods, and turning them into fully paid-up customers. You need to manage this process and effectively and gauge it, in order to know how successful you are as a business in turning suspects into customers. In simple terms if you don’t have visibility of your sales activity it is very difficult to see where you need to improve.

If you can successfully manage your sales pipeline, it means that you can determine areas such as how many leads it takes to generate a sale, or the time it takes to generate a sale. This will help businesses plan for the future.

Follow these five tips for managing your sales pipeline:

CRM: Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is essential in assisting with the management and operation of your sales pipeline. All CRM systems will have a range of features for businesses, designed to improve your sales. CRM services offer Sales Force Automation (SFA) which help with the processing of orders, the generation of invoices and even the analysis of sales forecasts.

Identify Sweet Spots: This is crucial for success with your sales pipeline. Remember that some people, industries or companies will be more likely to buy from you than others. Identify these “sweet spots” and target them. Equally important is for sales staff to identify early on who the decision makers are within a company and target them.

Time Management: This is extremely important for all sales people to manage properly and is also extremely important for companies to manage effectively in order to improve their sales pipeline.

To ensure success with your pipeline you should look at where sales staff are prospecting, identify sweet spots and then ensure that they use their time effectively to contact prospective customers.

What is the Metric? For some companies the metric they use to manage their sales pipeline is the number of leads; for others it’s the amount of time it takes to liaise with a client; for others it will be the number of face-to-face meetings held. In order to be successful in managing your sales pipeline and in planning ahead it is increasingly important that you identify what your metric for success is. Once identified you can think of ways to improve on this.

Think like a SCOTSMAN: This is an old piece of sales advice that is worth repeating, as it offers a timely reminder to companies looking to improve their sales pipeline. SCOTSMAN stands for Solution, Competition, Originality, Timescale, Size, Money, Authority, Need. Think about what each word stands for – it should improve how sales teams qualify a lead and get sales people thinking about how your product or service can fit in with the needs of a prospective customer.

This article was written by Workbooks, a leading supplier of online CRM systems.

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