We know how boring it can be to organize your sales team, when you really want to be out there selling and closing more deals. However, the best way to close more deals is by having a perfect sales pipeline.
What is a sales pipeline?
A sales pipeline is your sales process, organized. A sales pipeline will include every single step you will need to take in order to close a sale, throughout the entire process and throughout the entire team.
It’s often difficult to properly manage a sales pipeline, as there are many different steps and often many different team members involved. There is also no one perfect sales pipeline to copy, depending on your business, your time, and the team size, your sales pipeline will be organized one way or another.
Why should you care about maintaining a sales pipeline? Basically, it forces you to be organized and to see a wider view of the business. Depending on how your team is organized, each team member will have their own individual pipeline, or there will be a company wide pipeline for a greater vision.
What should you include in a sales pipeline?
- Leads – You can either include this in your sales pipeline or in a separate database. These are all of your potential users, people that fit into the categories of someone who might buy your product or service.
- First Contact – Your initial contact with a leads, whether that is a phone call, email, or business card swapped in an event.
- In progress – After your first contact, you can move leads into this category when you are communicating with them and trying to close a meeting.
- Meeting – Depending on how you manage your sales process, that could be an online demo, a sales meeting, or whatever you classify as the last step before sending a contract or closing a deal.
- Proposal – After you’ve had a meeting, the last step before closing a sale is sending out your proposal or sales contract.
- Closed sale – The last step is the best step! Deal accepted and payment processed. Don’t forget to dance a little dance here!
Think of it as a health monitor for your company — it’s the best way to quickly see at a glance how healthy your company is. Is it empty, heavy on one end, lacking sales leads? A good sales pipeline will have activity in all columns, to ensure a healthy flow throughout all the different phases.
Remember a true pipeline will have a funnel shape – so you will always need many more leads and opportunities than the sales that you need.
Tools for Pipelines
Now that you know what a pipeline is, how can you easily manage and organize your own? There are a wide range of tools out there, from all different price ranges. The cheapest one is an analog one – put up a large board in your office and move all the different leads one by one.
Of course, we are in the digital era and the easiest way is definitely an online tool. Some inexpensive tools that can be used to manage your pipeline include Boomerang (for your email) and Streak (also to organize your email inbox).
Of course the most important tool is FindThatLead – our plugin allows you to find almost anyones email address in seconds. Getting your leads´ emails is the very first step to begin selling!