A sales team is only as good as their pipeline. How your company obtains new business leads and grows existing clients is based on the opportunities, database and relationships your sales team has with qualified prospects. The biggest misconception is that a full pipeline is a healthy pipeline. That is not always the case. Lead generation companies know best that pipelines are often filled with clutter—it’s the nature of the sale cycle. But if you have the right parameters in place, you can lose all the dead ends and focus on reaching your targets.
These three steps can keep your sales pipeline in great condition:
Define what your pipeline should look like
Does your business have a sales game plan? Is your sales team working towards company set goals? Can a lead generation company help answer these questions? About 67% of sales professionals don’t reach their individual quotas, while 23% of companies don’t know if their sales force reached their targets. Each company is different and should have a sales approach that reflects their unique objectives. There should be accountability for targets, and whether or not they are reached. Define what success is and set mandatory, quantifiable metrics such as a fixed amount of new leads or sales pitches per month.
Clean your existing pipeline
Quantity does not always mean quality, whether those sales leads are coming from a lead generation company or from in house. Only 46% of sales reps feel their pipeline is accurate, which means half of your sales reps’ time is wasted on unproductive prospecting. This could be for a few reasons. The initial stages of the cycle might have been valuable, so the rep doesn’t want to let go. Or they don’t want to believe a sales lead is dead, thinking it just needs more attention. Perhaps the customer isn’t a good fit at the moment but might be in the future, making it hard to sever ties. All of these reasons point to the same thing, a cluttered pipeline and wasted time.
Manage your pipeline effectively
Once your pipeline is in good shape, you need to manage it closely. On average, sales reps spend 2.5 hours a week on sales forecasting, something that should only take about 3 hours a month. Proper management is an integral part of the process to reach your company’s goals and achieve growth. Over 40% of executives think their organization is ineffective at managing the sales pipeline. This is alarming, as businesses with effective pipeline management grow 18% faster than those without, regardless of their collaboration with a lead generation company. Take the time once a month to analyze and build a game plan to maximize productivity. Always make sure you have updated contact information, communication notes and potential opportunities, with no wires crossed or duplicated efforts. A more efficient pipeline makes for more effective sales.
Learn more about how we can fill your pipeline with qualified sales leads by contacting us.