No matter what industry you’re in, sales are a crucial element that you shouldn’t neglect. That’s why, whether you’re a big or small business, you still need to learn and better manage your sales pipeline.

If you don’t have a sales background, it can feel very intimidating to start managing your sales pipeline from scratch. However, there are a few foundational tips that you can try that will surely lead you to success.

Here are a few of those tips that will help you manage your sales pipeline better as a whole.

Define Your Sales Process

If you want to have a successful sales pipeline and automate that process, you have to be deliberate with how you deal with it.

You have to create a step-by-step process of planning on taking your prospect through the sales funnel. Having a clear plan helps you identify the steps and goals for each part of the process.

The moment you make some form of contact with your prospect, you should already have that included in your sales process. The end of your sales process should be when you manage to close a deal with them.

As you continue to change and adapt, your sales process is going to change as well. Therefore, you should define your sales process and tweak it every once in a while.

Focus on the Best Leads

When you have multiple leads coming in, you have to focus your efforts on the best and most sales-ready leads. That way, you aren’t wasting your time and resources on those that will take longer to close.

Of course, you first need to identify whether a lead is sales-ready to focus on them.

It would help if you defined the qualities that your sales-ready lead should have. Both your marketing and sales teams should be aware of these pre-qualifications.

Once you have the qualifications, you can use them to screen the leads that come in. If they fulfill those qualifications, then they’re most likely sales-ready.

You can also focus on the leads closest to fulfilling the pre-qualifications until they are sales-ready.

Polish Your Pipeline

The pipeline you’ve dictated for your sales process may change over time. It may no longer be accurate, or it may not be useful for your prospects anymore. Therefore, you have to take the time to polish your pipeline.

To polish your pipeline, you need a particular level of self-awareness and data to back up how you can change your pipeline.

Use your analytics to figure out which part of the pipeline needs the most improvement. Remember that your leads that don’t end up closing or dead leads shouldn’t be in your analytics, so the results are more accurate.

The more accurate your data, the better information you have to help you tweak your sales pipeline overall.

Monitor Key Sales Metrics

To ensure that you’re on top of your sales funnel, you have to monitor and look into your sales pipeline at all times.

However, it would be best to view the key sales metrics that you want to look into based on the information you want to know about your pipeline. Otherwise, you’ll be taking too long, or you won’t be getting an accurate reading of the state of your pipeline.

For example, you can look at the number of deals in your pipeline to indicate your current sales process’s effectiveness. Your close ratio will give you the percentage of deals that you win.

If you think that your close rate is too low based on the number of sales you managed to get into your pipeline, there’s something wrong. You may need a significant overhaul if that is the case.

By monitoring key sales metrics, you’ll be able to make informed decisions to change the direction of your sales processes and choices.

Update Your Sales Pipeline

Whether you’re using a spreadsheet or an actual CRM, you have to ensure that the information present there is always up to date. The information on your sales pipeline should be up-to-date because you and other sales members will be using the data on there as a reference.

Aside from that, it also makes you better at keeping track of your customer relationships. If not, you won’t be able to get accurate information on whether you’ve communicated certain things to a client.

Before a lead can move forward in the sales funnel, they must fulfill specific qualifications or have a lower chance of success. That’s why you have to keep the data in your sales pipeline as accurate and as up-to-date as possible.

Shorten the Sales Cycle

As much as possible, you want to reduce the steps in your sales cycle. You have to understand that if the sales cycle is too long, it’s going to be harder to close deals.

Over time, you should try and shorten the sales cycle so that the process is more efficient and smooth.

This also explains why constant communication with your clients is vital. The more you can keep in touch and push your clients (without being too aggressive), the faster they will go through the sales funnel.

Train Your Sales Practitioner

Sales might seem like an easy job, but it isn’t for everyone.

It requires tenacity, a balance of friendliness and stubbornness, and also a hefty amount of knowledge. That’s why, if your sales practitioner doesn’t have the training to back them up, it’s going to be difficult for them to close sales.

Since the goal is to shorten the sales cycle, you want to create a pleasant experience for your lead. If they aren’t well-trained, it’s still going to affect your sales team as a whole.

That’s why you should always put your best foot forward by training your sales practitioners.

Use CRM System to Manage Sales

As your business evolves, using your usual pipeline management system might no longer be enough.

If you find that your Excel sheets aren’t enough to manage your sales pipeline, it’s time to make an upgrade to a dedicated tool like Pipeliner CRM, HubSpot CRM, or Salesforce. That way, you can manage your sales with ease.

Information is critical when you’re dealing with your sales pipeline. With the help of a CRM or a customer management system, you’ll be able to have the information you need at any time.

CRMs can give you forecasts and analytics to provide you with a macro perspective on your sales pipeline.

Aside from that, it will also keep track of your leads, prospects, and clients and where they are along the sales pipeline.

Final Thoughts

Managing your sales pipeline is a constant process. Once you set a sales process up, you need to make sure that you’re constantly reassessing it, so that you can continue to scale your business. 

Hopefully, the tips in this post will help you change your sales pipeline for the better.

If you’re still feeling a little lost, don’t worry. Remember that it’s a process and that you should always seek knowledge to better your sales pipeline.

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