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Sales Pipeline Management: Are You In Control?

sales pipeline managementAs a senior level sales executive, you know that sales pipeline management is critical to your success as an organization. With a healthy pipeline your sales reps have leads to call, deals to close, and you experience consistent sales and revenue growth. Would you like more conversations with qualified sales prospects that lead to better control of your sales forecasting, higher productivity, and more revenue?

Are you and your sales force truly in control of your sales pipeline? If you’re looking to accelerate leads into your sales pipeline management system and through the entire sales process, read on.

Are You Regularly Reviewing Sales Pipeline Management Data?

As a seasoned sales professional, you know that qualified sales opportunities require meeting or talking with a decision maker. But not just any decision maker will do. They need to have the right funding, a genuine need for your product or service, and they (ideally) need to be ready to make a move toward purchasing.

If you’re not pulling the correct data from your sales pipeline management system, your sales reps are likely wasting valuable sales time talking to the wrong people who have no authority, budget, need, or sense of urgency. You may be making decisions on incomplete data and expecting things to change when in actuality, you and your sales team are trapped in another one of those “keep doing the same old thing loops” that do not produce any positive change.

Review the success of all of your lead generation methods like phone, email, and advertising. Go beyond the numbers to understand why, where, and when each type of strategy works best.

As sales manager, it’s up to you to make changes based on the data available. Talk to your team, and see what they’re encountering that might not make it into the CRM.

Are You Tracking Sales Funnel Conversion Rates?

Take control of your sales pipeline by using that data you’ve gathered to track conversion rates. What titles have the highest conversion rates? What size company is more likely to close, and what problem are they generally looking to solve?

Develop comprehensive lead scoring based on important lead criteria.

For example, with lead scoring in place you can determine the likelihood that a certain lead will close. A lead who does not meet all, or meets very little, of your criteria will have a low possibility of converting.

Track how many of the sales opportunities in the sales funnel close based on the lead scoring you put in place. Track individual sales reps and teams as well to see how well their forecasting matches reality.

Do You Have a Limited Number of Opportunities?

If your number of opportunities is low, you need to take a good look at your sales funnel to determine why. In many cases, this analysis reveals that your lead generation strategy is generating poor quality leads. You might need a tool like ConnectLeader’s Data Genie to help you determine if your data is bad. Then, you should implement corrective action to keep your sales funnel full at all times.

Pay close attention to seasonal variations like end of month, year, and quarter across your target industries. Many of your prospective customers may be interested in collecting information now, but waiting to buy until their budget is available. Track these seasonal trends in your CRM system and schedule email and call sequences to begin when those industries have the budget available.

Do You Have Clear Disqualification Criteria for Sales Opportunities?

Without clear disqualification criteria, you’re likely to set bad meetings and miss good opportunities. It is just as important to eliminate bad opportunities as it is to identify the good ones. Too many sales reps waste time talking to non-decision makers. Use the criteria such as titles, software, company size, industry, infrastructure requirements, available funds, or other criteria relevant to your business to make your disqualification criteria as black and white as possible.

Are Opportunities Stuck in Certain Pipeline Stages?

Where are your leads getting stuck? Are you getting to the proposal stage and can’t close the deal? Are you not even setting meetings? Determine where the majority of your leads are landing. Track their stages over time to determine where the bottlenecks are in your pipeline.

If you find that you can’t close the deal, review the process to ensure you’re engaging with prospects in the way that suits them best. If you find that sales reps can’t set meetings, it might be a matter of not having the name of the decision maker. You might spend more time on the research stage here to ensure you’re getting the right person on the phone.

Whatever stage you’re stuck in, review your sales process and make the necessary changes. You might find it’s a matter of using outdated dialing techniques without a sequencing tool in place.

Now you have all the tools you need to have better sales pipeline management. Interested in more blogs that give you tips on managing your sales pipeline? Check out all of ConnectLeader’s posts on sales pipeline management.
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About the ConnectLeader B2B Sales Blog

The ConnectLeader B2B Sales blog is written to share productivity tips, tools, news, and other information relevant to managers and senior executives interested in B2B sales productivity, demand gen, inside sales, sales operations, and business development issues.

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