What is a Sales Pipeline and How to Build & Manage it?

A Sales Pipeline is moving one step closer to achieving your revenue goals. 

If you hang out with your sales team often you must have heard of the phrase “Getting prospects into the pipeline” or “filling your pipeline with hot deals.” 

“Sales pipeline” for a growing business or a new business is an important sales tool than just a phrase for any sales management operation. 

It has the potential to bring noticeable changes in your sales management as it helps you visualize the whole sales process of your organization. 

But what if your company isn’t using a sales pipeline? 

If your company doesn’t have an effective sales pipeline, your company is more likely to drive blind in your sales process. You may also lack insight into your sales process that can result in to decline in your sales revenue. 

Hence, it is essential to have a winning sales pipeline for your organization and in this article, we’ll help you build one. 

What is a Sales Pipeline? 

A sales pipeline is a visual representation of where your potential lead stands in your sales process. It is an organized and visual way of tracking multiple buyers in a purchasing process

In simple words, it shows the number of deals a salesperson has closed or is about to close in a day, week, or month. 

Achieving monthly/ yearly targets is the top-most priority of every organization and a sales pipeline allows you to build your approach towards your goals. 

Let’s take an example to understand this better:

Your sales pipeline is worth $1,00,000 and your conversion rate is 10% then you can expect sales of $10,000. But if you decide to set a goal of $20,000, you may need to book your prospects beforehand so you convert twice the expected goal. 

A sales pipeline analysis is very beneficial when you look forward to achieving higher goals every month. With a sales pipeline, you have a clear view of your prospects and conversion rates so you could plan your sales goals accordingly and plan to achieve higher goals. 

How can Sales Pipeline Benefit my Business? 

According to a study by Harvard Business Review, companies have seen 18% growth in revenue that have an effective sales process than those that didn’t. Having a sales pipeline can benefit your organization in ways such as: 

  • You can monitor the performance of your sales team
  • Better sales forecast
  • Increased sales revenue with the effective sales process
  • Lead nurturing gets better
  • Track the deals better and close them efficiently 

What are the Stages of a Sales Pipeline? 

Everything in an organization follows a particular process to achieve its goals and so does a sales pipeline. The sales pipeline has stages that you can follow to achieve higher goals as it allows you to segregate leads according to the stages. 

The stages of a sales Pipeline are:

  • Prospecting 
  • Qualifying 
  • Setting prospect call/ appointment 
  • Presentation 
  • Follow-up 
  • Address sales objection 
  • Negotiation 
  • Closing the deal 

4 Ways on How to Build a Winning Sales Pipeline

4 Ways on How to Build a Sales Pipeline

Now that you have known the benefits and stages of a sales pipeline, it’s time to build your winning sales pipeline which will convert your prospects into potential customers. 

Building a fully-functioning sales pipeline is very essential to meet your goals and here’s how you can do it: 

1. Define Your Ideal Customer Persona 

Effective selling needs a clear understanding of who your ideal customer is. The people that are interested in buying your offerings are decided before you develop your product as you come up with a product that is useful to certain age groups, gender, or community. 

Your ideal customer persona for the B2C market can be identified by:

  • Age 
  • Gender
  • Professional background or work profile
  • Income
  • Region/ Nationality 

The ideal customer persona for the B2B market is identified by the job title and the industry of your prospect

The goal is to understand the need of your prospects, it doesn’t matter if you’re selling in a B2B or B2C market, defining the needs of your ideal customers is essential. 

2. Create a list of Your Prospects 

Now that you have defined your ideal customer, you can create a list of your prospects. There are numerous ways to build a prospect list and one tool that can help you and you can blindly trust is- Aeroleads

To build a prospect list, you will need their:

  • Full name
  • Email address
  • Phone Number
  • Company name
  • Designation 
  • Location

Aeroleads is an email-finding tool that can help you find and verify the email addresses of your potential customers from LinkedIn or any other networking site. The best feature offered by Aeroleads is you can perform your search and keep adding the gathered information to the prospect list. 

Sign up with Aeroleads and build an effective list of prospects. 

3. Set Your Revenue Goals

How to set revenue goals for a Winning Sales Pipeline

The sole reason for a sales pipeline is generating consistent revenue and setting revenue goals. As it is important to plan and evaluate your sales process. These revenue goals will impact the shape and scope of your sales pipeline and how you’ll prioritize the process. 

Say, you’re setting a revenue goal of $100,000 sales this year. So, you need to make sales of $25000 every 3 months. Accordingly, you will need to pitch your offerings to your prospects so you can have your ideal customers lined up for future months. 

Now, review your conversion rates based on past sales or assumptions, if you have a conversion rate of 20%, it means you can convert 1 lead out of the 5. This means that you will have to move a minimum of 100 leads through your sales pipeline. 

You might convert more leads than 100 or sometimes less but you will know the minimum leads you will have to move through your pipeline so you could convert more. 

What’s the point of everything if you don’t have a clear sight of your revenue goals? Hence it is important to set a goal and try to achieve it with an effective sales pipeline. 

4. Define Your Sales Process and Discuss with Your Team

Your sales pipeline is step-by-step visualization of your sales process and setting up your pipeline with each of the steps is important to see your sales potential. 

In this step, you will define your sales process to check if it perfectly goes with your sales pipeline from start to end so you could quickly review your team’s opportunities. 

You can define your sales process by building the sales funnel and discuss everything with your sales team. 

While you decide on a specific sales process, it is essential to have a discussion with your sales reps to avoid miscommunication and to follow all the steps effectively. 

How To Manage Your Sales Pipeline? 

Now that you have built your sales pipeline, the next step is to manage and fill it with leads. Managing the whole process is much more challenging than building a sales pipeline as it is difficult for your sales team to manage each and every process. 

Here’s how you can manage your sales pipeline to achieve your revenue goals successfully:

1. Prioritise High-Value Deals

Each lead takes the whole sales process to get through the sales pipeline and you can expect the unexpected from any deal. Although it is necessary to invest your time in each deal but putting in more effort and time on high-value deals will help you save a lot of time. 

Choose the deals wisely but always prioritize the deals that have more chances of getting converted easily. 

2. Let- Go of the Dead Leads

While you qualify your leads, you will come across the leads that are not responding to your emails or calls. Why waste your time and efforts on dead deals? 

When you can invest that time in prioritizing and converting the deals that are more likely to get converted. 

3. Track the Process

Track the Process

The beauty of a winning sales pipeline is it lays a roadmap for your sales team to follow making it easy to see where each of your leads is in the process. Track the process and keep updating your sales pipeline with each step. 

An outdated pipeline will negatively impact your sales, updating everything manually can be time-consuming but is worth the effort. 

Lost a lead? Update it into the pipeline.

Closed a deal? Update it in your pipeline. 

4. Keep Your Sales Cycle Short 

A long sales cycle can result in losing the focus and you might end up losing a deal as your prospect might also lose interest in your offerings. So keep your sales cycle short so you don’t miss out on any of your clients and manage your sales pipeline efficiently. 

Final Thoughts!

A CRM tool can help you manage your sales pipeline in a better way as it is always better to have a professional tool by your side. An email extractor like Aeroleads is another effective way to build your winning sales pipeline successfully so you find accurate business emails of your prospects. 

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