My pipeline is overflowing with leads. How do I approach sales pipeline management to make the most of my pipeline?
If your marketing team excels at lead generation, you are in luck. But more than good fortune will be needed for sales pipeline management that leads to maximizing closings. And even the best marketing team will generate some leads that may not close. That leads us to…
Step One: Pare Down
Size does matter when it comes to judging pipelines—but not the way many people think it does. According to Sales Management Matters, “salespeople with smaller sales pipelines are actually more productive than their peers with larger pipelines of deals.”
It seems illogical, but it turns out that the best sales pipeline management was seen in the sales teams with smaller pipelines because they had eliminated the flotsam and kept the golden leads: “[T]he smaller pipeline of active opportunities enabled them to make 20% more prospecting calls, conduct 25% more meetings with prospects, and close 50% more deals than their peers (by dollar amount).”
Good things do come in smaller packages when it comes to sales pipeline management.
Savvy sales managers and sales reps know that paring down—sifting through leads to determine which leads are most likely to close—has to be step one. Eliminate leads unlikely to close. Prepare to spend your time and focus on leads that are more likely to close.
Here is another benefit to paring down as step one in sales pipeline management.
Sales goals should be aligned with company goals. Assuming they are, the need for the sales pipeline management is critical to helping the company perform accurate forecasting. (Note that a pipeline and forecasting are different. To learn more, click here.)
Focusing on the leads most likely to get to yes is key for forecasting. Here’s how.
Step Two: Prioritize
Entrepreneur has an elegant approach to prioritizing for sales pipeline management. The article suggests dividing your “total sales cycle time” into these three subsets to maximize your sales:
- Revenue-generating activity: In this subset are those prospects with whom you have the most time and focus invested and would reap the greatest rewards by turning them into satisfied customers. This is the “all-but-the-signed-contract” subset.
- Qualifying activity: Into this subset go those prospects who, according to your initial contact, are in need of your product or service, and are capable of purchasing it.
- Conversion activity: Here you choose customers in your Qualifying group, above, and spend the time, energy, and focus moving them into the Revenue-generating subset. This is the place for in-depth product demos leading to talks about the numbers.
These three subsets represent the flow of your sales activities. Casting them into a framework in this order simply makes it easier to make the best decisions about the most efficient use of your limited time and energy.
Getting to yes should become easier the more familiar you become with sales pipeline management that moves along these lines.
Access to the right tool
Consider turning to Fileboard, an online presentation management system that accelerates sales pipeline management, saving time and enhancing the experience for both the customer and the company’s teams. To learn how to accelerate your pipeline management, please contact us.