Manage Your Sales Pipeline Effectively with 5 Easy Steps
Every business needs to know how to build and manage a high performance consumer acquisition engine, and the proper organization of your sales pipeline is the right way to do it. So, the cycle is a process that consists of individual steps the account manager takes from initial contact with a prospect to the closing a deal.
Depending on your industry, it is very rare for a user to approach your business and purchase the product in one go, so the length of the sales cycle can vary. According to research by National Sales Executive Association, the process can take between 5 and 12 interactions with a consumer before the actual sale. However, let’s take a closer look at the most important sales stages that are necessary to walk the potential customer from lead to closing the deal.
How to Find the Prospects?
Finding your initial contacts is the first step in the sales cycle, but it doesn’t mean that you should take a phone book and start calling. First, in order to come up with a list of leads that are compatible with your service or product, you should identify the qualities your desirable customers share and think where you might look for such persons.
Later, you can gather the prospects’ information automatically when they are filling out the webforms, replying on your email campaigns or answering the called calls. Also, inbound and content marketing as well as social media actions help generate qualified leads, reduce time spent on the phone, and greatly shorten the sales pipeline.
What is a Qualified Lead?
Qualification is one of the most important stages of the sales funnel and can occur during the cold call or appointment. So, if the lead is open during the first interaction, try to ask at least a few qualifying questions, that will help you understand whether the person is a potential user or not. Accordingly, this critical info can be analyzed to gain insight into prospect behavior and buying patterns.
When is the Time for a Meeting?
If first two stages are done in the right way, you can be lucky enough to schedule an appointment or presentation. So, if you want to establish trust with your lead, explore the following tips:
- have a focused and relevant dialogue rather than a self-aggrandizing monologue. Ask as many questions as you can to your clients and listen to their demands.
- assess the needs of your clients and use them for better interaction with your audience. Note, that sales cycle is not about selling but educating, where you should exchange the thoughts and ideas. Create and provide the relevant content for your users such as white papers, tutorials, how to guides.
- remember that the aim of the presentation is not to show off your company's credentials and end up with a lot of technical information about your product, but perform in terms of how it benefits the customer
- rehearse everything you need to say and use visuals if necessary.
As you see, the more interactive the appointment is, the better interest you will generate, and move faster to the next level.
How to Handle the Objections?
Once you have made it through the previous stages successfully, you can definitely move forward and make a proposal. However, your potential buyers may raise some objections, so don’t consider it as a bad thing. If the prospects are completely uninterested in buying your product, they will not give you a chance to answer the questions and provide more information. Hence, explore the next instructions on how to resolve the concerns:
- don’t interrupt your customers and listen what is really bothering them. You can gather some valuable information from the way it is presented, and use those clues in further conversation
- before you start talking, repeat the objection back to the clients, so it shows that you were listening attentively and gives them a chance to clarify if something is not correct
- before you proceed with answering, ask fundamental questions to see a bigger picture and realize the true problem
- once you understand the issue completely, focus on relieving the fears of the consumers
- ask if you explained the objection fully
- bring the client back into the flow of your conversation
Consequently, check out if the prospect has any other questions and proceed to the final stage.
Are you Ready to Close a Deal?
The last step might be the easiest or the most difficult one in the sales cycle depending on how well you performed before that. If you have done everything effectively, the close follows naturally. However, if you haven’t convinced the user, then you might fail in converting your lead into the customer. At this point, you will have to utilize some closing techniques that require more setup time or willingness to push the lead a little harder.
Why to Implement the Right Tool?
In order to work faster and more efficient, you need to have all data, content, and measurements in one place. So, implementing the right CRM to your company might be a good idea. Furthermore, the sales engagement platform can not only organize your data, but also save you a lot of time and efforts, because of:
- CRM equips organizations with the tools important to generate more qualified leads
- the solution accelerates your ability to gain sales and marketing decisions based on robust client and lead analytics
- CRM lets you create, track and manage marketing campaigns efficiently
- the software allows to access the pipelines, contacts, calendars, and sales reports fast and easy that helps the sales reps to focus all their efforts on selling.
To sum up, in today’s fast-changing business world, it is critical to identify your prospect's needs and use them during the sales pipeline in order to become successful. Another important factor, however, is a deep understanding of the actual interaction process. So, if you learn how to complete all the stages in the proper way, it will help you to stay more focused and organized in your actions to nurturing leads and closing more sales.