Sales pipeline management refers to the process of consistently filling your pipeline with highly qualified leads, predicting how quickly you can move them through to close, and then learning from your data to improve the process.
A sales pipeline isn't a new concept. Sales reps have always broken up their process into stages so that they could guide a prospect through deeper and deeper familiarity with their product. The way sales reps manage their pipeline, however, has drastically changed over the years due to the prevalence of new technology:
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Systems allow sales teams to visualize their pipeline and monitor how quickly prospects move from beginning to end.
- Data Analytics and Reporting Software allows sales teams to look at rep performance metrics, success metrics, and process metrics and improve their pipeline over time.
Sales pipeline management is the process of continually making the flow of leads to customers more efficient, so a sales pipeline becomes more useful over time. As more leads convert, sales managers become armed with more data on what works and what doesn't. Sales teams who excel at sales pipeline management can accurately forecast sales growth months or even years into the future and adequately prepare for it.
Sales pipeline management begins with a sales strategy. This includes a high-level, company-wide goal and everything that needs to be done to achieve that goal. This means building customer profiles, setting quotas, preparing sales materials such as scripts and templates, and building a system for evaluating and improving performance.
Once a team has a sales strategy, they build a pipeline that breaks down the process between initial contact and close into stages. Teams typically employ various sales pipeline tools, such as CRMs and analytics tools, to efficiently move prospects through these stages.
The best way to manage a sales pipeline is to regularly re-visit the process. Reps should be vetting their pipelines on a daily basis, tweaking their qualifying process, and finding new ways to meet their quotas.
- Sales Agreement Templates
- Sales Pipeline Stages
- Sales Pipeline Tools
- Sales Dashboards and Reporting
- Sales Strategy
Perspectives on Sales Pipeline Management
Best Practices and Guides
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