Five tips for a good sales pipeline
The word pipeline is used by all salespeople who acknowledge that sales processes take time. When you open the tap at one end, it takes some time, of course, before the oil comes out of the other. If you want to keep up steam in your business, there must be a constant stream of sales going through your sales pipeline. This requires management.
Pipeline management is about adding orders and projects in a continuous stream, ensuring that capacity is constantly being used optimally. When the inflow of clients and projects is uneven, it creates problems for the entire company. Sales droughts arise in the sales pipeline. This causes stress in production, and concerns about the economy in management. Therefore, salespeople and sales managers have a great responsibility to keep the "oil" running constantly.
1. Use a CRM system
If you think using a CRM system to keep track of your upcoming sales sounds tedious, think about just how long you and your colleagues already spend doing estimates in different systems, creating long Excel spreadsheets and holding meetings. Think of all the Sundays you spent making sales estimates for Monday's sales meeting. webCRM compiles all the information into one system and gives you accurate and consistent sales forecasts, giving you control of your sales pipeline.
2. Be disciplined
Pipeline management must be an integral part of the culture of your sales department if it is to be successful. If pipeline control is too casual and the results are too inaccurate, it is hard to keep discipline. webCRM makes it easy to enter data and information into your sales pipeline and assess the likelihood of a sale. This way, keeping track of sales quickly becomes a habit.
3. Keep your sales pipeline up to date
Make sure to keep your sales pipeline up to date, so you always have an updated overview to present at sales meetings and to management. This means that you continually have to:
- create new prospects or leads in the CRM system
- link your sales activities to the appropriate contacts at the prospect
- specify where in the sales phase each prospect is,
- specify what the probability is that the prospect will place an order
- specify an estimated order date and an expected turnover.
Some of the entries may seem like a stab in the dark, but they are important because they provide more accuracy for the total estimate. If you use a CRM system such as webCRM, you get automatic reminders which help you keep your pipeline updated.
4. Prioritise your sales activities
With your updated sales pipeline in hand, you need to prioritise your sales activities, so you spend your time where the need and yield are the greatest. You can review your pipeline and work out a plan for what you have to get done over the next 7-14 days. The prioritisation also means that you must continually evaluate your activities and assess which types of leads will give the best results – and where you may advantageously prioritise your efforts going forward.
5. Continuously compare to budget
Pipeline management is not the only tool in webCRM which can exploit the fact that your sales estimates are compiled and updated. The budget function keeps an eye on whether estimates meet the objectives. Not just the overall goal, but also specifically across products, customers and salespeople. If both pipeline and budgets are under control, you as a sales manager get the opportunity to manage efforts much better. That way, you can make sure that your department always delivers enough "oil" to keep up steam throughout the company. Why it might even let you expand with an additional oil rig in the long term!