How To Establish A Sales Pipeline
By Zen Newman, Marketing Analyst at PipelineDeals
We’ve all heard that sales is a numbers game. A rep must engage in a certain number of cold calls each day and appointments each week to be successful. The trouble, of course, is that there are only so many hours in any give day. Why then do certain reps consistently outstrip their peers while seemingly working the same number of hours per week? This “secret sauce” is the source of speculation around the water cooler and in the blogosphere.
In reality, consistent sales success is an intersection of discipline and serendipity. Those at the top to their sales game seem always to be able to make the time to chase new business, making cold calls, pounding the pavement and shaking hands. The result of all this activity is a greater number of opportunities. Coming across opportunities, however, isn’t enough. Today, 80% of sales require 5 or more interactions. As the sales process becomes longer and more competitive, staying organized and consistent in following up across the lifespan of a lead becomes ever more critical.
The increasing length of the buying process makes a customer relationship management (CRM) platform essential. Prospecting for new leads takes time and resources. Being able to keep track of accounts, opportunities and decision makers once they’re in the sales pipeline allow sales teams to spend less time maintaining records and more time delivering the fruits of their hard labor.
Customer Relationship Management software comes in many varieties with any number of features. Some are minimalist; some are bloated with all manner of tools. What you choose depends largely on the nuances of your sales process, and the amount of support that your company will require and the level of access that different groups within your company will need. Despite the diverse ecosystem of CRM offerings, there are a few key features that will be used by every rep, every day. These include contact management, creating accounts, tracking leads and opportunities, and forecasting sales. These tools form the mainstay of a sustainable sales pipeline. Making sure that these central features are easy to access and simple to use will determine the success and adoption of a CRM by a sales team.
While great sales professionals make concerted efforts to tune their pitch and sales process, they understand that the potential gain in this area of improvement are limited. By stepping back and taking a broader look at their sales pipeline as a whole and what tools they have to manage it, they’re able to create efficiencies that push them far beyond the average. By taking ownership of their sales pipeline, sales reps can better manage their incomes, serve their clients and drive revenue for their companies.