July 16, 2014

Creating Your Sales Pipeline

Pipeline management has become a major focus to organizations and salespeople throughout the years. This renewed focus has quickly highlighted problems that might have been hidden during ‘boom’ markets a few years ago, such as accuracy and a streamlined system. Cydcor is committed to examining these problems and finding solutions.

When polled, 44% of senior sales professionals found that a major cause of frustration at their workplace stemmed from stalled opportunities. So what part or parts of a sales pipeline can create a problem for you when trying to close a sale?

Some think of a pipeline as a bunch of steps put together in order to create a progress toward the end goal of achieving a sale. In fact, a truly efficient ‘pipeline’ should be more of a series of strategies that are redefined, modified and tailored to each individual client.

There are three critical factors when establishing your pipeline: Identifying an account’s budget, the length of the sales cycle, and who the key-decision makers are. If you or your team does not manage to establish these three pieces of information, you might find yourself writing proposals for leads that aren’t qualified, or being overtly optimistic about a closing date or budget available.

Coach yourself and your team on the language you use when speaking to clients. Collecting the information is key, however how you ask for it can sound professional or pushy, depending on your language.

Asking someone “Are you a decision maker?” can lead to an alienated customer. Instead, try a softer approach, such as “We understand that a purchase such as this can go through an executive team for a decision. The process will go smoother for everyone if we can gather some information.”

Additionally, prospective clients can often be reluctant on giving a firm number when asked for their budget. Offer a range of prices, such as, “Typically an account often falls between $X and $X amount. Where are you most comfortable?”

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A sales number metric that often gets over looked, is how often it takes you or your team to respond to a customer. Data indicates that leads receiving a call-back within two minutes or less were four times as likely to convert. Start measuring response times for your new leads, as sales representatives often prioritize follow-ups over any new leads.

If you can begin to combine all these factors then not only will have you have shown yourself or your team members the problems, you will be able to come up with solutions and give yourself the competitive advantage.