Sales pipeline management is a process that all salespeople should have in place. This will help them to stay on track and remember who they are meeting with and what they need. This blog post explains how to build and evaluate your sales pipeline: tips from a 40-year veteran, Gary Kurtis!
Why is a sales pipeline important?
A sales pipeline is a way to manage the sales process. Think of it as your inventory of potential prospects that eventually can become your customers. The pipeline represents all of your sales cycles or deals in progress and is identified by their status so you know if you are on a productive track.
How do sales pipelines work?
Once an opportunity is created it becomes part of your sales pipeline so it can be managed and tracked. The pipeline is also a direct reflection of the input from your CRM as it creates categories of prospects based on the likelihood of closure. Most sales forecasts then become dependent on close percentages based on this input. Therefore, it becomes imperative to develop a large enough pipeline to meet your sales goals based on historical close rates. For example, if you typically close one out of every four prospects, you always need a 4X pipeline to reflect the size of the pipeline needed to succeed.
How do you develop a sales pipeline?
The first step in developing a sales pipeline is identifying your differentiators (what makes you different or unique in your industry). Then identify your target markets and the types of customers that you want to focus on. Next, create customer profiles with company size, industry, location, specified needs, and more. Once you have completed the profiles, you can build the sales pipeline.
It is also prudent to stay connected with your customers. Identifying important details such as how they found you and the benefits your services provide can help to identify future prospects.
How do you evaluate your pipeline?
The biggest challenge in evaluating your pipeline is to separate good prospects from “suspects”. A long-proven formula to qualify a “prospect” and also create a probability of closing percentages is by following the MANT principle:
- Money (Do they have the financial resources and ROI?)
- Authority (Are we working with the people with decision-making authority, and do we clearly understand the approval process?)
- Need (Has your prospect clearly articulated the needs and expressed a strong desire for the solution? Have we validated that the proposed solution is the right fit?)
- Timing (Is there a compelling reason to address this now?)
About Gary Kurtis
Gary Kurtis is a sales expert and the founder of salestips101.com, where he provides sales advice and training for small businesses. When Gary’s not helping business owners increase their sales revenue, you can find him spending time with his wife and two young grandchildren or promoting his favorite charity, the ALS Hope Foundation.
If you want to reach out to Gary Kurtis (Field 1 Post Trusted Sales Partner), please contact him by clicking here.
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