Managing sales pipelines is about more than just tracking metrics — it’s also about building and improving a robust process. To do so, you need a comprehensive roadmap and an eye for the details.
It’s the same as taking apart a complex machine to inspect and tweak each individual component. Here’s how to get started.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
Equal parts process and technology, CRM is the strategy and tools that help you understand your customers better and boost sales. Generally speaking, CRM systems streamline and improve customer interactions, the sales process, and marketing campaigns by automating tasks and analyzing data.
Pipedrive offers a highly visual sales pipeline that displays opportunities at-a-glance and prioritizes mission-critical tasks. The platform is customizable to suit your workflow and includes time-saving automations, a powerful mobile app, and 24/7 customer support by email and phone.
The CRM platform gives your team a clear view of every customer and their purchasing history. This information can then be used for incentive compensation modeling, territory segmentation, campaign design, and more. CRM reports also help your teams identify trends and gain insight into their business. These insights can lead to a better understanding of your customers, which can ultimately help you close more deals. This is the primary goal of any good CRM system.
A well-managed sales pipeline enables your team to convert leads into customers. This means ensuring that the number of opportunities in your pipeline is just right, and optimizing each stage.
One way to do this is to create a consistent sales process that all your reps follow. This will clarify tasks, align salespeople on a common strategy and help your leads move through the pipeline more quickly. The goal is to keep the sales cycle as short as possible, since prospects are more likely to lose interest in a purchase if it takes too long.
Another way to improve your lead management is to ensure that your salespeople are following up with their prospects as they transition through different stages of the pipeline. This requires a robust CRM with built-in sales pipeline metrics that your team can monitor and review. Also, ensure that you are implementing effective marketing campaigns that attract and nurture qualified leads.
Identifying and tracking sales prospects is an essential component of sales pipeline management. When a prospect is deemed ready to convert to a sales opportunity, they are moved to a new pipeline stage such as “Needs Analysis” or “Identify Decision Makers.” This process helps businesses keep track of their progress and gain valuable insights into their prospects.
This data can help companies shape and refine their sales processes to improve their chances of closing deals. For example, if your team is losing more opportunities than they’re winning, you may want to alter your marketing efforts or training techniques.
Using an opportunity management software platform also streamlines the process of qualifying pipeline stages and forecasting, improving overall sales performance. Typically, opportunity management software integrates with lead scoring, configure-price-quote (CPQ), and proposal software to deliver a 365-degree view of customer relationships. This helps businesses manage their entire sales process from initial contact to post-sale support. This enables them to deliver exceptional experiences that build brand loyalty and generate repeat business.
Sales managers can help their teams succeed by regularly reviewing their pipelines. A well-planned review can help reps avoid stalling in later stages of the sales process, when it’s too late to make an impact. A review should be done at a cadence that fits the sales process. Depending on the size of the team, you can choose a monthly, weekly, or bimonthly cadence to keep your sales pipeline clean.
Pipeline forecasting is a detailed method of predicting future sales revenue that incorporates opportunity value and stage weightings to provide a highly accurate forecast. This type of sales forecast allows you to see where your company is losing opportunities, allowing you to implement changes to the sales process.
This type of data-driven sales analysis requires an agile, responsive CRM. Close offers a full suite of sales management functions that can be used for pipeline analysis and reporting. It also supports streamlined pipeline review meetings by providing agenda templates that can be used to automate your meeting workflows.