A successful business does not rely on luck to make dependable sales and increase its number of customers. When coming up with how your sales pipeline and targets should look, it’s important to know the leads and customers you’re trying to serve. A streamlined pipeline that allows for faster sales hinges on your customer relationship management (CRM). Not only is it crucial to be able to pitch your products or services to people in a way that relates to their needs, but it’s also essential for your sales team to know who and when to reach back out to people interested in the company’s products or services.
Utilizing a customer relationship management (CRM) platform like HubSpot, Ontraport, or Active Campaign is a great way to automate and keep track of your sales pipeline targets.
Sales Pipeline Stages
Getting sales is more complex than creating a product and having people purchase it. You need to set up a sales pipeline in stages that outline how long your prospects spend in each phase of the sales journey and make adjustments as needed. The more complex your product or service is the more details should go into each phase.
Using a HubSpot pipeline as an example of pipeline development, you can develop a sales pipeline stage system that works for your product. Through experimentation, you can set up an approximate conversion rate for each step of your pipeline. Additionally, you can estimate how long your potential customers are expected to spend in each phase.
1. Cold Prospect
When setting up your sales pipeline, it’s good, to begin with, the notion that not everyone will be aware of the services you offer. While there’ll be a couple of potential customers or other companies that your offerings will be a good fit for, there’s a high chance that these customers/clients do not even know that your company exists. These lead types are called cold prospects, and most of the time, they’re the first step of the pipeline.
To turn a cold prospect into a buyer, it’s important to reach out to them in a way that appeals to them. Because very few people respond well to cold calling, it’s in your best interest to develop the right strategy so that it doesn’t immediately repel potential buyers.
For example, if you’re planning to reach out to individual companies, try to study their websites and discover the needs that would make your services relevant to them. It’s also helpful to launch campaigns and advertisements through different forms of media rather than only using one approach.
Keep your pitch somewhat short initially to avoid bombarding your potential customer with a barrage of information that they may not be interested in.
2. Marketing & Sales Qualified
As you have probably gathered, there are several stages that leads go through along the sales journey, but sometimes these steps can be pretty close. A good instance is the marketing qualified lead and sales qualified lead. A marketing-qualified lead is further along in the pipeline than a cold prospect because they have shown interest in the services you’re offering. And while they have shown interest in your product/service, they may not be ready to make a purchase or become customers. Nonetheless, Marketing Qualified Leads are likely to respond well to lead nurturing.
Sales-qualified leads are those who are ready to discuss with your company’s sales department, which is likely the result of lead nurturing.
To move a marketing-qualified lead along the pipeline and increase your conversion rate, it’s a good idea to learn about your target audience. If you’re trying to provide specific services for a company, take a close look at their website to get an idea of where your service would fit into their function and use your marketing efforts to focus on their need.
3. Booked Call
In nurturing your leads to become buyers, booking a call is a crucial step that takes two parts. The first is coming to an agreement to meet with your potential customer, and the second is completing the call and beginning the next step in the sales pipeline.
After you have booked a call with a potential client, be sure to send reminders and make the connection as easy as possible. Once you have the prospect on the phone or in the meeting, approach your sales pitch in a way that makes your product tick all the boxes in the prospect’s list of needs.
If you’ve completed your call and your pitch was successful, you’ll likely move on to the next step in the pipeline. Sales-qualified leads become buyers once they accept the proposal you generate in the next step of your pipeline.
4. Proposal Generating
When a lead has shown interest in your product or service or had an initial conversation with your team, it’s then up to you to create a compelling proposal so that they’re fully aware of what challenges your services can meet and what opportunities working with your company can present.
To generate a proposal, take all of the information you have obtained from your potential client during the call and other interactions and use these points to propose the desired service package.
5. Proposal Sent
Once you have created a proposal, the next logical step is sending it to your lead for review. If you’ve done this part well, your proposal will likely result in a sale, thus completing your pipeline.
Once you have carefully written out your sales proposal, the final step is sending the proposal to the lead you have nurtured until this point. If they accept your proposal, your pipeline has been a success, and you have made a sale. If they do not accept, a different approach or critiquing of your proposal might be needed.
Keep in mind, once you have designed a sales pipeline, it should be easy to determine which steps of the process are showing the most promise and which stages have the most potential customers dropping off. With a carefully organized pipeline, reinforcement is simpler to accomplish because you know exactly which stages of your pipeline need improvement to increase your conversion rates.
If you’re trying to set up a sales pipeline in your company and you find that you could use a hand, we are here to help. We can help you build each stage of your sales pipeline to increase your conversion rates and make more sales.