Best Ways To Manage Your Sales Performance
How To Build Sales Pipeline
Before you start building your sales pipeline you need to have these things on hand :
- List of your prospects - A list containing each prospect’s names, contact info, their company, their position at work, and how they got in touch with you or how you know they’re likely to be interested.
- Well-defined sales process - The sales process tells your team exactly what activities they need to do in order to close a deal, it acts as a structured guide for your sales team, helping them win more deals.
- Revenue Targets - In order to build a successful pipeline, you need your revenue goals to see how your pipeline looks and it gives you the number of deals you need to be adding to the top of the pipeline to reach your goals.
When you build a simple sales pipeline, it helps you to understand your process clearly, and you can also customize it according to your need. Now it’s time to take all the information you’ve gathered so far, and start building your own sales pipeline with the following basic steps :
Map Your Ideal Pipeline Stages
To set up the stages in your pipeline, think about the activities your team does most and the ones you think have the most impact on your sales. The pipeline stages will of course be dependent on your own product, service or company so design something that works for you. You can use the list of stages below to guide you or work out the steps in your own sales process :
- Lead Qualification
- First Contact
- Prospect Need
- Offer Stage
- Win/Loss Stage
- Closing Stage
Decide The Numbers
In order to design a successful pipeline, you’ll need to decide your numbers. These numbers will eventually help you answer an important question: How many deals do you need to add to your pipeline to meet your target revenue? To decide these numbers look on your past success rate and predict how many deals you are likely to win and how many you are likely to lose and at which stage. Also, consider the value of each lead as this will be a factor in deciding how many leads you need in your pipeline. If you calculate your numbers, you’ll be able to see how your pipeline looks.
Fill the pipeline
Keep your pipeline stacked with leads by devoting a good amount of time to generating new front-end leads. To fill your pipeline with chunks of leads you might have to try out different ideas like building your lead list by asking satisfied clients for referrals, creating online content that’s valuable to target buyers, and sharing content through social media channels. Such activities that add new deals to your pipeline need to be part of your team’s routine. When your team has enough focus and habit for finding new targets then you don’t need to worry about filling your sales pipeline.
Keep Refining Your Pipeline Stages
You have already mapped your ideal pipeline in the first step but you need to keep refining these stages to find out which of them suits your business. Once you have leads going in your pipeline, you may see that some conversation types happen consistently. Now decide whether these regular occurrences lend themselves to being sales stages in your pipeline. You shouldn’t worry about getting it right the first time, as it may take numerous attempts to figure out what works best for your business. In this refining process you might find that some stages end up being unnecessary, and discover others that you actually need. Thus, be on the lookout for stages in which you can improve and always test new things and watch the effect on your pipeline.
Being Productive With Sales Pipeline
Research by Vantage Point states that 72% of sales managers hold sales pipeline review meetings with their sales reps several times per month, however, 63% of respondents say that their companies do a bad job of managing their sales pipelines. This shows that there is massive room for improvement and if you can identify improvements within your pipeline that will help you move more prospects from one stage to another, thereby making you more successful in your job. Here are some best practices to help you improve the entire pipeline management process to make your business more successful :
Life is all about follow-up, especially when it comes to sales.
Buyers today have more choices than before and they need more help to choose your product or service. It was found that it took just 3.68 sales calls to close a deal Ten years ago but today it takes more than 8. However, most sales professionals give up after 2 calls. Although following up isn’t easy, the best salespeople will make sure they keep following up with leads in order to land the sale. One way to follow up is to set a reminder and another is to automate this process completely, so that reminder notifies you each time you need to follow up with a prospect.
Deal With Different Types Of Leads
Make sure you concentrate your efforts on the most sales-ready, high-value leads, and avoid getting distracted by anything that won’t push the needle for your business. By viewing your sales activities for each lead, you can identify which leads are the most engaged and the best leads for your business, you should then focus on closing deals with the best leads.
As important it is to focus on high-value leads, it’s equally important to know when to let go of a lead that clearly states they’re not interested. Although letting go can be hard when you have spent months building and nurturing a relationship with them, you need to learn to identify these dead leads quickly. By dropping the dead leads from your sales pipeline, you can move on to the next sales opportunity to close a big deal without wasting any more time over the dead leads.
Update Your Pipeline Regularly
Your sales pipeline is constantly reviewed and updated, new leads are added, leads move from one stage to the next, and deals are closed. If you do not update your pipeline then the pipeline can start to get a little disorganized. To avoid inefficiency in your pipeline and loss in your sales you need to make sure that you’re keeping details up to date on every single lead by adding regular notes and information for each stage of the sales process.
Standardize Your Process
You might believe that each customer is different so it requires their own custom approach to closing a sale. Hence, you may notice that your sales reps are employing varying sales techniques. If you really think of it then you will find that your target customers have a lot of things in common. Considering this fact, you should use these similar customer attributes to your advantage to standardizing your sales pipeline. Remember that the best performing sales teams do follow a standardized sales process, which enables them to scale and consistently win new business.
Provide More Content
While most sales teams use emails and phone calls for communication with their prospects, the prospects often require in-depth information to help them understand if your product or service is suitable for their needs. This is when content helps reinforce your message to the prospects and moves them through the next stages of the pipeline. In fact, 47% of B2B buyers view three to five pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep.
Content plays an even more important role as you move leads further down the sales funnel. For example, leads will likely be looking for information on best practices to solve a pain, whereas MQLs & SQLs are likely looking for information about a company such as pricing, product specs or customer case studies. By knowing which stage your lead is in, you will be able to send them content that will resonate with where they are in the buyer’s journey.
Build Sales Pipeline That Closes Deals Consistently
The 3 Ps - Product, Person, Pitch
To build a strong foundation for your sales pipeline using the 3 Ps :
Only when you know your product intimately, will you be able to present it in a favorable light and answer questions with confidence. Remember, smart salespeople always know their products in and out.
The salespeople who know their prospects well are able to close more deals. The reason for these increased close rates is that they have adequate knowledge of their prospects, this helps them push the right emotional buttons when selling to them.
Once you have close knowledge of the product and prospect, you win half the battle. The next task is to craft a bid that the customers would find hard to resist. Remember, your pitch should address the customer issues and highlight how your company’s product or service would be an ideal match for the customer, and then you are good to go.
Segment Your Prospects
It’s crucial to segment your leads at the beginning of the pipeline in order to increase the chances of conversions. Here are four ways of segmentation that would make the customer journey smoother :
- Demographics segmentation - Group leads based on their demographics such as their age, gender, ethnicity, income size, and education.
- Behavioral segmentation - Group leads by their buying patterns like brand loyalty, purchase frequency, and the different ways they use to buy.
- Psychographic segmentation - Group leads by interests, attitudes, values, beliefs, lifestyle, and personality traits.
- Geographic segmentation - Group leads by the area where they live.
Observe Lead Behaviors
For each stage of the pipeline, you need to identify which behaviors move the lead to the next stage and eventually turn into a sale. Such specific behaviors that show the lead is serious about your offer could include things like:
- Downloading a report
- Watching a video, till the end
- Requesting a demo
- Completing a trial period
Now that you’ve identified these behaviors, link them to your revenue goals. Also, take specific actions to encourage this lead behavior like sending more follow-up emails, providing more phone support, or offering incentives for completed trials.
Refine Your Sales Process
Once you’ve identified trigger behaviors for your leads, it’s time to modify your sales process such that it brings in more sales to your business.
Use the following steps to refine your sales process:
- Evaluate your current process for useful insights such as the channel that produces the best leads, the average time taken to close a deal, the number of emails your team sends, and leakage spots in your pipeline, if any.
- Take a close look at the steps you took to close your most successful deals and hunt for the thread that ties them all.
- Inject fresh strategies into your pipeline using the data obtained in the earlier steps.
Generating referral sales from existing customers is easier than acquiring new customers yet not enough salespeople do it. This is because they’re afraid of asking customers, and possibly damaging those relationships. Salespeople should start devoting time to their customers' success, give them sincere advice and help to overcome the challenges they're facing, then they can ask customers for referrals to people in the same business. If they’ve done a good job, then customers would happily refer salespeople to other potential customers. Such referrals are the best way to ensure product success and generate higher revenue.
How To Automate Sales Pipeline
One study revealed that a sales rep’s day is packed with an average of 94.4 activities including sending emails, making and taking phone calls, leaving voicemails, and using social media. You could automate a lot of that workload for them. According to PwC’s Financial Services Technology 2020 report, more than half of the activities people are paid to perform can be automated. People think automation would take away these people’s jobs, but in reality, automation allows sales reps to spend more time selling and less time on admin.
Every company wants to sell more, and automating your sales pipeline will certainly help you do so. An automated pipeline helps reps keep track of leads throughout each stage of the sales process. Here are a few suggestions for automating your pipeline to maximize your savings and increase your sales.
Email automation is perhaps the most common form of sales pipeline automation. It makes sense to automate your sales emails, as successful email campaigns require good timing. To ensure your sales email is relevant to the prospect at the time he receives it, think about the prospect's past and future communications with your company. Before writing emails that will be sent automatically throughout the sales process answer these six questions:
- Which sales stage occurred to trigger this email?
- What will happen in the next sales stage?
- On which day and time is this email scheduled to be sent?
- Which previous communications would the prospect have received by the time he reads this communication?
- Of which facts am I 100 percent certain at this stage?
- What should I not discuss at this stage?
Every sales process has certain stages which provide the direction and the milestones provide the destination. These milestones usually require some outbound communication from the sales rep to the prospect. For example, after scheduling a demo, you might want your sales reps to send a follow-up email with some appointment details. 95 percent of these transactional-type communications are the same for everyone, the only thing that changes is the specific transaction details such as appointment time, prospect's name, etc. It’s very easy to create automated emails when you have very clearly defined milestones. These emails will be automatically sent to prospects as soon as your sales rep moves an opportunity to the appropriate stage in your CRM.
Cold Lead Notifications
Cold leads are a harsh reality of any email list, these could be people who haven’t received an email from you in a long time, or who just don’t engage with the emails that you have sent them. Once you have automated emails based on when a prospect moves into a sales milestone as well as when they move out of that sales stage, then you can set up a delayed notification email to the sales rep if someone sits in a sales stage for too long. For example, you want to have a cold lead email go out to the sales rep 30 days after they get moved to the contracting stage. The automated email can notify the sales rep saying, it’s time to move the lead into the next stage or mark them as lost.
Discover Upsell And Cross-sell Opportunities
Acquiring a new customer can cost up to 25 times more than retaining an existing one. This is because the existing customers are not only easier to sell to again, but they’re much more likely to buy add-ons or extra services. To increase your chances of successfully upselling a customer, you should gather as much client information as possible, then reach out to them at the right moment. But this information can be difficult for sales reps to find, this is when automation comes to help you. With automation, you can always see a bird’s eye view of all customer touchpoints, and identify opportunities for upsell or cross-sell. You can set up automatic notifications that can be triggered when a customer uses up a certain number of their support hours or the amount of their project budget. This way, you can reach out to your customers and make the most of every upsell opportunity.
- Best Ways To Manage Your Sales Performance
- How To Build Sales Pipeline
- Being Productive With Sales Pipeline
- Build Sales Pipeline That Closes Deals Consistently
- How To Automate Sales Pipeline