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What Is Sales Pipeline and How to Build a Strong Pipeline in The Next 60 Days

The sales pipeline is simply the opportunities and deals that you are going to close in the predictable future.





A sales pipeline is a visual snapshot of where prospects are in the sales process. Sales pipelines show you how many deals salespeople are expected to close in a given week, month, or year and how close a rep is to reaching their sales quota.


Pipeline measures the amount of revenue vs. time and how the business will look like at the end of the cycle.


Your sales pipeline is vital to the company because it measures and shows what you, the seller, through your sales representatives, are doing during the entire sales process to ensure that lead clients turn into business opportunities.


Often, pipelines are visualized as a horizontal bar, sometimes as a funnel, divided into the stages of a company's sales process. Potential buyers are moved from one stage to the next as they move through the sales process: when contact is made, for example, or when a prospect is qualified.

Sales pipeline analysis is the act of assessing why contacts succeed or fail in passing through the last stretch of activities before closing the deal. This analysis is done with key metrics that you can and should track with the help of a CRM or equivalent tool.


Let's have a look at the 7 stages of the sales process and pipeline management;


The 7-step sales process


  • Prospecting.

  • Preparation.

  • Approach.

  • Presentation.

  • Handling objections.

  • Closing.

  • Follow-up.


Prospecting


The first of the seven steps in the sales process is prospecting. In this stage, you find potential customers and determine whether they have a need for your product or service—and whether they can afford what you offer.


Evaluating whether the customers need your product or service and can afford it is known as qualifying.



Keep in mind that, in modern sales, it's not enough to find one prospect at a company: There is an average of 6.8 customer stakeholders involved in a typical purchase, so you'll want to practice multi-threading, or connecting with multiple decision-makers on the purchasing side. Account maps are an effective way of identifying these buyers.


Preparation


The second stage has you in preparation for initial contact with a potential customer, researching the market, and collecting all relevant information regarding your product or service.


At this point, you develop your sales presentation and tailor it to your potential client’s particular needs.





Approach


In the approach stage, you make the first contact with your client. Sometimes this is a face-to-face meeting, sometimes it’s over the phone. There are three common approach methods.



Presentation


In the presentation phase, you actively demonstrate how your product or service meets the needs of your potential customer.


The word presentation implies using PowerPoint and giving a sales spiel, but it doesn’t always have to be that way—you should actively listen to your customer’s needs and then act and react accordingly.

Handling objections


Perhaps the most underrated of the seven steps of a sales process is handling objections. This is where you listen to your prospect’s concerns and address them.


It’s also where many unsuccessful salespeople drop out of the process—44% of salespeople abandoning pursuit after one rejection, 22% after two rejections, 14% after three, and 12% after four, even though 80% of sales require at least five follow-ups to convert.


Successfully handling objections and alleviating concerns separates good salespeople from bad and great from good.



Closing


In the closing stage, you get the decision from the client to move forward. Depending on your business, you might try closing techniques.


Closing techniques are not the subject of this blog and I will talk about them later on.



Now the question is how to build a strong pipeline.


  1. Define the stages of your sales cycle. ...

  2. Calculate the number of opportunities you need to hit the target. ...

  3. Create a sales process or modify your existing process around your sales cycle. ...

  4. Build a strong database. ...

  5. Plan your calls and polish your pitch. ...

  6. Call or send people emails with your pitch

  7. Constantly monitor your progress and conversion rate

  8. Go to 2


Remember you do not need to change your sales cycle every time you want to build a pipeline.


Chances are your sales process OK as long as it is clear and effective. You can always adjust it to your buyers purchasing decisions.


However, you need to be always on top of your current state of sales revenue, pipeline, and the gap.


You can always have a look at your current customers and ask them why they purchased from you!


That will give you a good indication that who else might be in this position.


One more strategy to try is to go through your buyer persona and start investigating what changes are happening in their company as a purchasing trigger and how you can position your business value so that they can benefit from your services.


My recommendation is to send 100 emails/calls per day to get a good result.


How many times you have to touch-based your prospects?


As many times as necessary!!


Good luck building a strong pipeline.


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©2020 by Houman Asefi.