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How to Develop a Sales Pipeline

Constructing an effective sales pipeline is straightforward. The idea is to pursue prospects who want to buy what you are selling. Sounds easy, right? 

Well, the easy part is understanding what you want to accomplish. The part that requires a bit more brain power is ensuring your strategy aligns with your desired outcomes. 

A common problem, negatively affecting many sales teams’ bottom lines, is they lose track of prospects in the pipeline or continue to pursue prospects who either aren't ready to buy or simply not interested in buying whatever product or service your business provides. 

This is a failed strategy that will end in you chasing away prospects and wasting valuable company resources.

What sales teams need to do to increase their close rate is follow the sales pipeline model to a tee and implement a sound strategy intended to better track each prospect’s position within the pipeline, and assess their willingness to convert from a prospect to a customer. 

What is a Sales Pipeline?

A sales pipeline refers to a visual depiction of multiple potential customer journeys through every stage of the purchasing process.

What are the Stages of the Sales Pipeline?

Initial Contact

Through your marketing efforts or random web browsing, a new lead has found its way into your pipeline. 

  • What information do you have on that lead? (i.e., do you know what pages or items the prospects were looking at on your website? What information did they provide on your website via forms or surveys? Can you use any of this information to assist in the qualification stage?)

Qualification

If you've received sufficient information concerning the seriousness of the prospect, you can then reach out to them directly.

What questions are you asking your prospects? 

  • Are your questions geared towards determining the probability of converting prospects into customers? (i.e., what are your needs? What product or service are you interested in? What do you do for a living? What is your budget?)

Meeting

After you have qualified the prospect, it's now time to meet them to discuss what they're looking for specifically, what you can provide for them, and at what cost. This is an important step, as you can more accurately examine not only their interest in making a purchase but their ability to do so. If you've determined that they're genuinely interested, then you can move on to the next step.

Proposal

After the meeting, you can take all the information gathered from the prospect to draft a proposal based on everything discussed. Call them or contact them via email to go over everything that will be included and use this interaction to further determine their seriousness, then send them the proposal.

Closing 

If they have made it this far, don't be overzealous. One or two follow-up calls or emails are typically all that is needed to close the deal. If they are ignoring your calls and emails, it may be time to file them in a different location to keep your sales pipeline unclogged and move on to a new lead.

Creating an efficient and effective sales pipeline doesn't have to be complicated. Understanding your objective and ensuring that all of your actions align with your objective is the key to finding success.

A sales pipeline is a powerful organizational tool that is essential to boosting sales, as well as optimizing customer journey mapping, targeted marketing, and so much more. 

If you are a small to mid-sized business owner in search of an innovative CRM and marketing automation software to help boost sales, contact the marketing experts at GreenRope, to maximize the growth and efficiency of your business today.

 

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