Companies lose qualified leads every day. That’s probably something owners and sales leaders don’t want to hear, but on a positive note, there are a few things they can do to help keep their sales pipeline healthy.
The core of a business’ sales department is their pipeline. It provides the sales team a structure and process that works best for their company and the product or service that they are selling. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to create and build a pipeline, but there are certain things to make sure its foundation is functioning as it should.
Want to learn more about factors that contribute to a sales team breakdown? Read our blog:
With an optimized pipeline, salespeople will have a better chance to keep deals moving through the process and see greater success.
Here are seven tips to consider in creating a robust sales pipeline.
1. Deep Dive: Why Do Deals Stall?
Sales is a consistently changing game. Market conditions play a big factor into whether sales are successful or not. If a company is experiencing issues with keeping buyers from going through the pipeline, it’s time to examine the reason why deals get stalled. Here’s a few things that can be evaluated:
- Competitors create an overwhelming playing field of options for buyers. Salespeople need to dial in to what the differentiators are of their product/service and provide a superior customer experience to sway decision in their favor.
- Staff Changes happen all the time. Is the sales team still reaching the correct contact that would make the final decision to purchase? Maybe a contact and information update are needed.
- Business Focus Changes are also constantly occurring. It could be a change to the overall company direction, a reduction in budget, or different goals that are preventing buyers from deciding.
- The Sales Process is not aligned with current market conditions causing a backup in the sales pipeline. In a volatile economy, things may need to shift in how teams are selling or messaging to see greater sales success.
2. Prospecting, Prospecting, and More Prospecting
It’s probably noted by most salespeople that prospecting is the most time-consuming, and least favorite portion of their job. It’s hard reaching out to cold call leads to gauge interest, which might amount to nothing. However, without new, incoming clients, there is no way that a company will grow their sales. On the plus side, there are now platforms like LinkedIn that can help find better matched leads.
3. Nurture Through Marketing
Sales and marketing teams need to support one another and be fully aligned and aware of what each are doing to help drive sales. Pre-call emails with targeted messaging can start to warm up prospects so when a salesperson reaches out, they will already have some brand awareness.
Ongoing marketing materials should continue to be sent out, even if a prospect is not expecting them. The materials should balance a focus on selling and establishing the company as a trusted, knowledgeable thought leader in the industry. This will ultimately help gain buyer trust and confidence.
4. The Power of Referrals and Partnerships
Even in such a digitally tuned-in world, word of mouth is still one of the best ways to get new leads. A part of any company’s goals should be to turn a client into a referral by delivering exceptional service. This can not only help win ongoing sales, but you also get that client to refer other businesses that would be a good fit for your product. Business owners are well connected in their community and may be able to recommend and introduce you to new businesses.
Partnerships with other businesses is another avenue to explore. By aligning yourself with a complimentary, but non-competitive company can provide a stream of new business opportunities for both parties. A positive company reputation will be key in securing both referrals and partnerships.
5. Know Your Customers
If you examine the customers you have had prior success with, similar businesses can become an area of focus for salespeople. Build out a few buyer personas based on your best customers and research comparable companies to contact. A great case study of the success that has occurred with the original company can help convert the new companies into a sale.
6. Cross Sell and Up Sell Opportunities
If a business has multiple products or services to offer, salespeople are at a great vantage point and cross sell products to current clients to help meet sales goals. Buyers might know the value of one of your products or services but seeing how 2 or 3 additional items would help solve and improve on whatever problem they are experiencing will not only double their benefits, but keeps the communication open with existing clients and sales flowing.
7. Monitor and Prioritize
Pipeline metrics need to be monitored to keep tabs on sales numbers and where prospects and customers are in the pipeline. Sales teams should regularly evaluate the quality of prospects and deals that they have and prioritize those that are most likely to close to keep things moving. Those prospects that might not close a sale right away need to be noted and followed up with.
With ever-changing market conditions, sales teams need to be able to pivot and keep up with changes as they occur. There is always space for salespeople to tweak and improve upon how they are operating within the sales process. By standardizing a regular review of their pipeline, it will help keep the sales team on top of their game and meeting their goals.
Wondering how you might be able to get a start to see movement in your sales pipeline? MPI can help. Contact us to learn more.