Pipeline Management: How to Get a Handle on Your Lead Flow
By Josh Slone
Without sturdy pipeline management, it is difficult to generate leads and build relationships.
Help your sales reps and managers get into a steady groove in their sales process with these tips on how to nurture leads from seed to sale.
What exactly is a sales pipeline?
It is a visual representation matched with a statistical approach that creates a process intended to help sell a product.
A sales pipeline helps to track clients, quotas, and deals.
A good pipeline will allow sales personnel to effectively trace leads, money, goals, and manage client relationships over time using accurate data and analysis. The CRM for your sales pipeline should alert the user to deals and customers that need specific attention at a designated time.
Find your data points
To take charge of your sales funnel find the right metrics to focus on. Aimlessly collecting data isn’t the best way to customize and design a high-functioning pipeline. It is not only essential to understand your numbers, but also have accurate ones.
Here are some metrics you should be paying attention to:
- New leads per month
- Average closed deal size
- Average sales cycle
- Conversion rates of leads to sales
- Sales Velocity
Get specific with the data sales reps are entering into your company’s CRM. Sales managers should monitor to ensure the data is accurate for improved forecasting.
To increase the number of lead-to-sale conversions and improve overall lead generation, it is smart to schedule regular pipeline reviews. There is always room for improvement, and while your pipeline might be full of leads, it could have low conversion rates, for example. Look at the data from the past month, quarter, or year and hone in on problem areas.
Reviews can also prevent pipeline lags from occurring. Regularly evaluating all components will help to increase sales velocity and also help to create improved forecasts for the department. Forecasting tends to only focus on results, that is why it is necessary to set aside separate time outside of a forecasting meeting to review the pipeline.
- Review your pipeline honestly
- Look at the whole pipeline not just problem areas
- Create solutions and preventative strategies
The review process can help you get a handle on runaway leads, a common symptom of a poorly operating sales pipeline. Get both management and reps involved in pipeline reviews.
Use the Appropriate CRM
A good CRM that meets your sales team needs will help your team contact the right person at the right moment in the sales cycle. The CRM is the foundation for all things sales pipeline; it is not only a sales management tool but a way to organize the entire department. The more people involved in a single sales pipeline, the more complicated things get. Remember, that if your CRM isn’t meeting your needs, you should find a way to further customize or adjust the software to support your sales team.
A CRM that matches your product and company reduces administrative work and allows teams to focus on the deals.