- September 11, 2019
- Posted by: Jo Johnston
- Categories: Business Continuity, Business Technology, Management Consulting, Marketing & Sales, People
What can make or break a business?
There are many things that can collapse a business, but not having a reliable reporting of your pipeline or lead/opportunity drivers built and customised for your business into a Sales Pipeline – “Not having a good sales Pipeline tool will be a slow and painful death“.
So, to convert your leads into customers having a well-structured organisation with defined processes help every member of your organisation to understand what needs to be done and when. Effectively defining your sales process can generate up to 18% of revenue growth in comparison to companies that didn’t, and companies that spent at least 3 hours per month managing their sales saw a direct 11% increase in revenue according to Harvard Review.
What is the sales pipeline?
The sales pipeline is the set of stages that a prospect moves through as they turn from a new lead to becoming a customer to your product or service. It’s a visualisation of where things really are, in terms of the sales cycle, and what’s being done at each stage. The sales pipeline is generically made up of the following stages:
- Lead generation
- Lead qualification
- Deal Closing
CRM and Pipeline customisations can be created specifically for your business and provide a much better experience for your customers, and prospects. The most affordable option with great standard features to Zoho CRM or Zoho One. Then you might look toward to SalesForce and Microsoft Dynamic.
Lead Generation and Prospecting
Every sales pipeline begins with prospecting for where you can generate promising leads. Prospecting is where your sales team tries to find customers interested in your business’s products and services. Lead generation is the specific marketing campaigns you launch trying to get people interested in your products and therefore create leads for your business. Generation of these leads can then allow businesses to build a database of their leads.
Many methods exist for people to create situations where potential clients would give you their contact details.
- In-Person Networking
- Cold Outreach
- Social-Media Selling
- Content Marketing
- Events and Trade Shows
Qualifying and Managing Leads
Having a healthy funnel for leads and a deep understanding of the sales cycle of your sales pipeline can help determine the most cost-effective way to allocate resources in an attempt to maximise profits. Many businesses can become distracted by conversions, so depending on your resources – a good pipeline can determine the best allocation of new vs. experienced staff.
- After the generation of leads, management is necessary to see whether these leads you’ve acquired fit your products and services and whether they’re willing to engage more with your services, and potentially buy them.
- Managing your leads helps allow you to keep the most promising leads in priority. There are several tasks to make sure you categorise and understand your leads well
Ensuring your lead represents your target audience: As a business owner, incorporating the target audience and personal details of your lead into your sales strategies and processes should be an integral step to lead management. This allows the quick elimination of unqualified prospects and leads so that more time and focus can be given to leads with greater potential.
Assess the leads authority over their purchasing power: Make sure your lead has full authority over their purchases, and do not have gates where they need to get permission from other people to purchase your services and products. or Recognise when you don’t- This will change your proposed sales cycle. Zoho CRM has a close-by date so a business may layout the expectation of stages, so to better predict the close date. This can be a powerful feature.
Other questions that can be asked are questions such as whether your lead has the financial ability to buy your products or services, and understanding the extent that the lead you have needs your services. By understanding such questions, you allow yourself to understand if they’re a high potential lead or not and therefore qualify them accordingly.
After this process of qualification, your leads can be managed and followed-up systematically so that you can clearly communicate and follow-up on them to move them forward in the sales process.