A sales pipeline is not actually a pipeline but a process. More accurately it is the process of selling to various prospects which in the mind of the time is represented like a pipeline with the prospects lined up one after the other. Successful businesses regularly review these pipelines and hold meetings to note how far the sales team has progressed.
Moving prospects through the sales pipeline faster not only enables a business to record more sales number but also to make more sales if the time frame of making each sale is considerably shortened. All businesses ultimately thrive on sales, the more sales the better it is for the business. Prospects languishing in the sales pipeline are not only a time-consuming process but is also bad for the spirit of the sales team. The spirit of the sales team is an asset. It is this asset which makes your team remain confident and make better sales.
It is crucial to know if your company policies are unnecessarily making the sales process longer than it should be and therefore making the progress of prospects through the pipeline sluggish, costing the business in every way possible.
Spending too Much Time on Administrations:
Review meetings are necessary but the actual sales process is crucial for the success and survival of the business. Spending hours every week on reviewing and reporting can and often does take time away from the sales process. So if you are holding long administrative meetings every week you are possibly doing it wrong.
Studies have revealed that an average sales representative spends almost 23% of his or her time in administrative meetings and 22% selling. This process, needless, to say is not good for the Company, quite the opposite in fact.
Moving Faster from One Stage to Another:
The process of sales has many steps along the way. Having opportunities in the pipeline is simply not enough, each sales process must progress from one stage to another otherwise the opportunities will never translate to actual sales figures. Each lead must be properly organized and developed to facilitate the sales prospect.
Not Knowing the Opportunities:
The sales team must be aware of which stage each lead is in. Not knowing this prevents the team from setting their priorities right. The sales which are almost near completion, where all the terms and objectives have been discussed and the customer has agreed to them, should be on the top of your priority list.
Next up are those where the customer is one meeting away from agreeing and so on till at the bottom of the list you have leads which have been registered recently. This way you are continuously clearing your list and moving the sales process towards completion, quicker and faster.
Not being Able to Discern the Value of Each Customer:
While all sales are important all customers are not the same. Some of them will make big buys from you while others will make smaller ones; some regularly buy from you while others are here for a one time buy. It is necessary to understand the value of each customer in order to determine how much time and energy should be invested in each lead.
If you have managed to check every point in the above-mentioned list you have already taken steps to move the sales process faster along the pipeline. After determining what not to do it is time to know what to do to move sales prospects faster along the pipeline.
Sales CRM or Customer Relationship Management is a software that lets you efficiently store the leads, send emails, schedule meetings and follow up on each and every lead. It makes you aware of the stage each lead is in and helps you to manage them accordingly. This is invaluable if you want to move your sales prospect along from one stage to another smoothly.
Identify the Decision Maker:
Every sales pitch must be made to the right decision maker. Trying to sell to a person who is not authorized by his Company to take that decision at all is counterproductive as it costs your team time and energy without felicitating the buying process. Make sure you identify the key gatekeeper in order to cross the sales threshold.
Learn About your Customer:
Before making the sales pitch find out everything about the potential customer. Find out their vision, their goals, and their drive, what keeps them awake at night , in short everything. This information will help you develop the proper selling tactic and increase your chances of actually making the sale.
Learn to Cut Your Losses:
If research or intuition tells you that the solution you are providing will not solve the client’s problem or meet their needs aim for a quicker no instead of a half-hearted yes. Even if that yes moves your sales figures up a notch it will not lead to long-standing satisfaction for either the customer or you. This will only create bad blood all around and may even affect the goodwill of your Company. It is a much better practice to cut your losses a sell to a customer who will actually be benefitted and satisfied by your solutions.