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  • Writer's pictureSsemujju Lewis E

How To Build A Strong Sales Pipeline

A sales pipeline is a visual representation of every stage in a sales process so that you can quickly identify where your qualified leads are in the buying journey. This helps the salesperson identify all the opportunities available for the prospect to turn into an actual buyer. In addition, they help to track and manage every step of the deal in the sales process. Focusing on optimizing each stage in the process of sales can help you achieve more with less.

Sales representatives often use the sales pipelines to study the particular steps to move from leads to transactions and equate this with sales.

The process through which business owners and sales teams need to acquire large numbers of potential leads to establish a core group of reliable customer data is known as the sales pipeline.

A sales pipeline can help you visualize your sales process. It will show you where in the sales funnel all your deals are, where deals are stalling and which sales activities are bringing in the most revenue. It adds a layer of accountability and makes goals more straightforward to achieve by breaking the sales process down into small, trackable tasks.

Build Your Sales Pipeline In 6 Easy Steps

First and foremost, you need to determine and define the stages of your sales pipeline.

Typically, customers go through:

  1. Awareness: The buyer realizes they have a pain point or opportunity.

  2. Consideration: The buyer defines their paint point or opportunity, develops evaluation criteria and needs, and researches potential approaches.

  3. Decision: The buyer has finalized their strategy and is now comparing vendors/specific solutions.

Therefore, these are the stages.

1. Identify your target market

Here, you are tasked to identify the people your business is targeting. Whether the scope is enormous, similar identifiers should be in the group to help you build a profile.

Doing a deep dive into your audience's challenges and what drives them to make the decisions they make makes your sales pipeline easier to complete and more effective.

This data can be found in the following channels:
  • Social Media Analysis and Insights - The commonest social media channels (Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, Instagram, etc.) provide insights on demographics and interests.

  • CRM - The system holding together your interactions with clients is always a fantastic place to look.

  • Google Analytics - Enable the Demographics and Interests report and use that data to understand who visits your website.

  • Customer Surveys - What is the customer thinking? You are doing everything in your power to address the clients', and it is imperative you source feedback on how your solutions are working out.

  • Customer Support Agents - An extended arm of surveys. Use agents to find out how customers relate to your product.

2. Create Buyer Personas

After gathering the data in the step above, you have to make sure it makes sense to you and determine how it affects your sales process and pipeline.

Based on what your customers want from your product and how they use it, you can group them into a persona representing these features.

From your data, let us call your fictional customer Joseph, a first-level manager aged 31. Joseph wants to be in charge. He hopes to have things done swiftly. How do you like Joseph to find out about your company - social media, workshops, advertising? What kind of information and content will bring Joseph in and greatly influence his purchase decision? Simple as they may seem, answers to these questions will significantly help your sales pipeline.

3. Prospecting

The first step in any pipeline is always the same: finding prospective buyers who need what you’re selling. When you know who your audience is and understand what drives them, and have a buyer persona to serve as a litmus test for your sales funnel, it is time to start driving leads.

Different organizations do prospecting differently, depending on their clients, products and the structure of their organization.

  • Agents - A team that is responsible for getting the leads.

  • Social Media - The numbers of users on the various social media channels state that you should have a strategy to drive leads from social media.

  • Lead Magnets - Offer a downloadable guide, ebook, template, or worksheets to draw in potential customers.

  • Guest Blogs - Expert pieces and articles on different sites will signal to your target audience that you are trustworthy, and this will, in turn, drive them towards you.

  • Website - Ensure to have automation that reaches out to the different visitors of your website to leave behind contact information you can use to reach out to them.

4. Qualifying

Lead Qualification is a crucial step in the sales pipeline stages. An opportunity is identified with a potential customer, and a record is created as the first step to closing a deal successfully.

It would be best to separate the leads that are ready to buy from those still in the awareness stage. Then, you will be able to sort the hot leads from the cold leads. This will save your team a lot of time.

Here are a few good indications they are ready to convert:

  • They've visited several pages on your website, including your pricing or services page.

  • They've downloaded/signed up for a lead magnet.

  • They are reading comparison pages.

5. Contacting And Engagement

Here, the salesperson is tasked with contacting the prospect. This might be done over the phone, via email, or through social media.

The content you are sharing with your prospects in this stage says it all. The content is supposed to be helpful and communicated regularly.

6. Closing

The summation of the education process you have gone through with the prospects is here—the final push and nudge to decide to purchase.

You can use a few tricks and strategies to make sure the decision is yes in the end. These are:

  • Use Video

  • Avoid pitches but rather have free conversations

  • Make it easy to convert

  • Offer promos and freebies

The process is done and is thriving. Repeat the process repeatedly, so you keep leads coming in. You can go ahead and test your process to find and clean out any bottlenecks. For example, you might find that prospects you thought were unqualified need a bit more education to convert.

Consider using automation to take over tedious tasks like data entry, email follow-ups, or sending leads to your sales team. This will give sales and marketing more time to focus on strategy.

Don’t forget to keep in touch with existing customers – ask for their feedback, offer a promo code for the next purchase, or just a “thank you” for choosing your company.

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