Developing your Sales Pipeline
Accuracy breeds confidence, and confidence leads to increased sales Applied knowledge is power. The more data and feedback you receive from your prospects and clients, the more effective your sales management efforts will be. To build a target-rich sales pipeline that is filled with accurate opportunity forecasts a plan is required.
Companies that experience success in today’s sales 2.0 world take great care in structuring their sales plan to achieve optimal results. They constantly work on evaluating their results and improving to keep up with the ever-demanding market conditions. Here are some key steps to building a target-rich sales pipeline in your company:
Build a database of clients and leads
First of all, create a quality database of leads, as well as past and present clients. Use a rating system to score your leads. Make sure you are focusing your efforts on the best leads and not wasting your time on irrelevant ones. Identify which types of leads produce the best results, and under what conditions. Document these findings to develop your structure for scoring leads, and use it to strengthen your sales pipeline.
Conduct prospect research
Before contacting your prospect, research a bit about them. In the Web 2.0 world, almost every company is online and using social media. This can be a great way to find out about company history, culture, and key players. Use tools like Rapportive to automatically search the internet for your target’s social media profiles, titles, and recent content posts.
Develop a Teleprospecting/Email Strategy
After identifying your ideal target client, develop a proactive email and teleprospecting plan, tailored specifically to them. Pre-qualify your prospects before offering your product or service to them. Once you have qualified your prospect, explain to them how you have helped others in their field. Show them how you can solve their problems – like saving them time, or increasing their sales. If you are unable to reach your prospect by email or phone, or can’t get an answer from them right away, don’t give up. Schedule regular follow-ups, be persistent. Statistics show that the chances of reaching a prospect and closing a deal increase with each follow-up. Most sales people give up after one or two attempts, so having your sales team be persistent gives you an advantage.
In today’s age, few people want to be sold to directly. Take an interest in each prospect and figure out what their needs, wants, hopes, and pain points are. Provide value through your interaction, and use your product to solve a problem the prospect has. Use language that will engage them and interest them. Focus on having meaningful interactions with your prospects. Instead of using marketing speak, give them a good reason to communicate with you. These people receive many emails and phone calls every week. If you are not able to speak in a peer-like way, they will simply ignore you.
Document results to evolve your sales pipeline
Make sure to evaluate your database regularly. Check whether each prospect is a perfect fit for your product. Document each successfully closed deal and note what factors and conditions may have contributed to it. These could be factors like size or type of prospect’s company, whether email or teleprospecting was used, how much time was spent in communicating with the prospect, how many followups the deal required, etc. When acquiring and nurturing leads, take these factors into account. They will allow you to refine your sales pipeline and have more successful outbound sales campaigns in the future.