“Just because something works doesn’t mean it can’t be improved.”
—Shuri, Black Panther (2018)
The last few blog posts have covered your sales pipeline frustrations, the benefits of having a sales pipeline and now I want to share with you how to make the most of your sales pipeline with key top tips. So read on to find out how you can and should improve your sales pipeline with a few quick simple steps and become more effective at selling.
- Update it often.
Your sales pipeline is only as good as how often you update it. To really get the most from it you need to be updating it frequently. How regularly you do this is really individual to you. It may be daily, weekly or even fortnightly. You’ll know what works best for you and your business but if a client moves from being a lead to meeting with you – update your sales pipeline.
If they move from several meetings to making an order – update your sales pipeline. By not updating your sales pipeline you run the very real risk of everything becoming disorganised. The information you are looking for will be difficult to find, you’ll lose time looking for it and you could potentially lose sales by not having the correct information e.g. contact details.
- Tag your next action date.
We have all heard of the stat that it takes 8 or more touches to close a deal with a prospect. With that in mind it’s even more important to make sure you contact your leads to turn them into buyers. Yet, 44% of salespeople give up after 2 follow-up calls with leads. We don’t know the reasons for this; it could be a lack of a sales pipeline, knockbacks, a disorganised sales pipeline or other reasons.
However, a sales pipeline that is kept up to date with correct details and follow-up actions tagged next to each prospect will help you to be efficient. By knowing what you have to do and when you have to do it by you have a greater chance of following up and getting closer to the buying stage. Those leads that are nurtured make purchases that are 47% larger than those that are not nurtured.
- Know your numbers.
Now that you have a stellar sales pipeline and you are managing it effectively: updating it and marking follow-up actions your next step is to work out your numbers. This is monitoring your performance to really understand your sales pipeline flow. You can make better decisions when you know what targets you are working towards, what your forecasts are and where you need to focus your business.
For example, if you have very few leads in the top of your sales pipeline you can take another look at your marketing materials. When working out metrics start by finding out lose rate, cycle times and hit rates. Know your lose rate at each stage of the sales pipeline to understand if all parts of your selling process are working efficiently. Know your cycle times to understand if there are any obstructions in the sales pipeline and how to manage these effectively.
Finally, know your hit rates so you can see how many attempts you have to make before you close the deal. It may give you reassurance that you are performing well, or it may give you areas to work on in your personal development.
Next week I’ll be moving the subject on from Sales Pipeline to Pre-Call Planning, so use this time to take advantage of my pipeline management tools, such as SPANCOP, that can be found in the funnel section of my website.
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