Sales Pipeline Management

23 June 2017 Amelia Henderson Best practices

Sales pipeline management is the process of tracking and analysing sales opportunities as they move through each stage of the sales pipeline. Effective management of the Sales pipeline is key to converting prospects into sales, and identifying any problems at an early stage.

Sales Pipeline Management Benefits

  • Spend time on what matters: This means less time spent on administrative tasks, such as manually allocating prospects to salespeople, and more time spent selling.
  • Better understand your opportunities: Sales enablement management enables you to track exactly how many sales opportunities are open at any one time.
  • Tailor your approach for each client: Each customer is treated on an individual basis based on what stage they are at in the sales pipeline and what service is most suited to their needs.
  • Identify decision-makers faster: This means less time is wasted trying to get through to the right person.
  • Centralise your sales data: This means that all sales team members can access the data they need at any point.
  • Understand key metrics: You know your exact lead-to-sales ratio.

Effective sales pipeline management makes the sales process more effective overall, enabling sales team members to reach their monthly quotas, which means more revenue for your business.

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How to manage a sales pipeline

How you manage each stage of the pipeline process can have a significant impact on the ratio of leads that convert into sales, so it’s essential to establish a clear strategy for sales pipeline management and roll it out to all employees in the team.

Sales pipeline management is an ongoing process, and it’s important to maintain a consistent approach. Below are the key stages of managing a sales pipeline:

  1. Identify high quality sales prospects
  2. Offer engaging content
  3. Utilise the right tools
  4. Monitor results
  5. Evaluation and adaptation
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Identify high quality sales prospects

One of the most critical steps in the process of sales pipeline management is the identification of new prospects. Identifying high quality prospects is essential for the success of the sales pipeline and the team as a whole. If this initial prospecting stage is ineffective, later stages of the pipeline process are unlikely to deliver results.

To be confident in the quality of your opportunities, an account-based selling approach should be employed. By seeking out companies that fit the characteristics of your ideal customer, your conversion rates and average deal size will improve significantly.

Company information platforms help companies identify prospects by providing firmographic information, such as industry, location and size. DueDil increases efficiency within sales and marketing teams by identifying the right businesses to sell and market to, at the right time.

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DueDil enables teams to analyse their existing customer base to identify their top customers, and identify other businesses that have similar characteristics. Users can collaborate on prospect lists, monitor for sales triggers and identify decision-makers, providing salespeople with the tools they need to succeed.

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Offer engaging content

Providing your sales prospects with the right content at the right time is imperative to converting them into leads. At this stage in the sales pipeline, the focus should be on educating your prospects.

The content you produce needs to be high quality, addressing the interests of your target customers and conveying the quality of your product or service. Additionally, it needs to reach your prospects at the right time: your content should be there to guide your prospects through every stage of the sales pipeline.

By offering your prospects engaging and focused content, they are much more likely to want to buy from you than if you inundate them with sales messaging.

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Utilise the right tools

Utilising the right tools can mean the difference between a fully operational and effective sales pipeline, and one that is listless and inefficient. To ensure that each member of the team is able to work consistently and track prospects as they progress through the pipeline, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software should be implemented.

A CRM system provides a centralised place in which each sales team member can log contact details and data on prospects, record the conversations they have had with them, and mark which stage of the sales pipeline they are at. This enables more effective management of prospects as all members of the sales team can access the information they need at any time.

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Ensuring that the data in your CRM is accurate and up-to-date is essential. DueDil enables users to append and cleanse CRM records with comprehensive company information in just a few steps.

Monitor the results

A key element of sales pipeline management is tracking and measuring sales results to establish which methods successfully turn leads into sales. Analysing these results will help you to determine whether your sales strategy is working, and identify areas that need improvement.

Close monitoring of your prospects is also essential for keeping track of what stage they are at within the sales pipeline so you can continue to provide them with the right content.

You should track the following metrics:
1. Conversion rate of leads to sales opportunities
2. Conversion rate of sales opportunities to completed deals
3. Averages for the time it takes for a prospect to pass through the sales pipeline and convert
4. Number of new leads created (and their source)
5. Number of open opportunities
6. Average deal size

Evaluate and adapt your approach

It is important to evaluate your sales approach on a regular basis, in order to identify any issues that may be hinder sales performance and quickly address them. This way, you can prevent minor issues from escalating and limit the impact on sales performance.

Keeping communication channels open among the sales team can help uncover where the main strengths and weaknesses lie within the sales process. This will enable you to keep iterating and improving, and ensure that process is seamless and your sales team buys into the sales strategy.

How DueDil can help

DueDil is a private company information platform that enables businesses to find opportunities and mitigate risks. DueDil provides authoritative data and rich context on over 40 million companies across 9 European countries.

DueDil increases efficiency within sales and marketing teams by identifying the right businesses to sell and market to, at the right time.

Because every one of your future prospects is on DueDil, our tool allows teams to be far more strategic in their focus by highlighting the whitespace in the market. This allows teams to spend more time in revenue-generating activities because they’re targeting the right businesses.

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