It’s likely that you know the definition of the sales pipeline (or funnel) – a universally-recognized approach to the complete end-to-end sales process. We now invite you to take a closer look at the steps and be pleasantly surprised by some of the unexpected advantages that a great sales software package can bring to your bottom line and sales team’s performance.
1. Opening Opportunities
There’s a good reason why another name for this first stage is ‘prospecting’ - a great lead is as desirable as a pan of pure gold. By using value-rich customer data and records to identify ‘golden’ prospects, you’ll be set up for success with a relevant database of potential customers. You can also access historical customer data so you can view past purchasing history and if a lead is ripe for a product purchase refresh.
2. The Age of Discovery
This is the sales pipeline stage where some of the most critical groundwork is laid out. As your sales team follows up leads, sets up meetings and gets to the heart of a customer’s needs, much of that nervous pen-twiddling can be eliminated by using sales software smartly. With a territory management program, you can make sure the right amount of people is focused on an area – never over- or under-resourced. When used in tandem with a quota management package, you can also be sure that your team are going into battle with a realistic, reasonable amount of leads.
3. Qualify – what’s the Deal?
In the merry game of sales, the qualifying and evaluation stage is where both customer and sales reps put their cards on the table and start to talk offers. Confidence can only take a salesperson so far, so they can harness the specific power of sales pipeline software to back up their pitch. By trusting current and past product sales figures and showing the client how and where a product is performing, they’re backing up claims and rhetoric with real data and easy-to-understand analytics. It also means your team are not just talking up a good talk – they are a professional outfit and have the figures to prove it.
4. A Decent Proposal
At the intention and proposition stage, both customer and sales team want to come out winning. If you’re a sales manager you’ll want to make sure that there’s little chance of derailment, your sales rep is still on track to close and not losing motivation. With tools that allow them to post queries from the field, they stay connected and aligned to the wider sales strategy and you can better manage their performance and level of commitment.
5. Deal or no Deal
After all the legwork, it should all come down to this – closing the deal. This is very much where you and your team can reap the benefits of a fair and robust compensation scheme software package. The satisfaction of getting a client to sign on the dotted line is that much sweeter when your successful sales exec can see there and then what that equates to in commission and bonuses. If,on the other hand, negotiations fall flat, you can use your sales performance management software to see whether there’s an ongoing performance issue with an individual, if it is linked to unfair quota expectations or possibly poor territory management.
6. After the Honeymoon
Once the euphoria of the sale is over, you still need to deliver on the product and maintain customer loyalty and ongoing business. The sales pipeline may appear complete, but funnel of opportunity then needs to flow freely back to the beginning in time for the next cycle. Regular reporting and an accurate customer database help to maintain a healthy client relationship, territory management means you’re not mistakenly trying to conquer the same place twice, while compensation plan software ensures your team remain remunerated and motivated.
Follow these steps as you and your team climb the sales pipeline mountain and it’s likely to just be the start of a beautiful and profitable sales relationship.