Some businesses get leads spontaneously as a result of referrals and various marketing campaigns. While some SMEs have to put more effort into acquiring leads. But analyzing the sales pipeline is paramount for both. Not analyzing the sales pipeline and running a business on a haphazard sales process can hinder in meeting sales targets. With no sales target, you get no growth, and who on this planet earth doesn’t want to grow?
Be it an SME or MNC; every company must develop and keenly analyze every stage of the sales pipeline. Keeping an eye on every stage of the sales pipeline helps you collect crucial insights about your sales process and pain points. Finding out weaknesses and working on them can strategically enrich your sales process & accelerate overall sales. With the more organized and structured is your sales pipeline, you develop a more profitable sales approach and determine higher goals.
If you are in sales, then you must have heard a lot about the sales pipeline. You must be familiar with the phrases, such as packing pipeline with hot leads, accelerating sales pipeline, filling prospects into the sales pipeline, etc. But for our other audience, before going through the stages of the sales pipeline, let us first understand what the sales pipeline is.
A sales pipeline is the visualization of the purchasing process of prospects. The entire journey of a buyer from a lead to a customer is captured into the sales pipeline. As a customer is moving forward to become a customer, he crosses every stage of the sales pipeline. The sales pipeline delivers an overview of the overall sales opportunities and bottlenecks to project the number of deals and revenue over a certain period.
The structure of a sales pipeline varies from business to business, but all the businesses have some common stages. We have listed a few common sales pipeline stages to make the concept clearer to you.
1. Sales Prospecting
Prospecting is the first stage in any sales pipeline. In this stage, you identify your potential customers through various approaches, such as public relations, ads, social media marketing, and various other promotional activities. This is the stage where people recognize your business. You establish communication with prospects and pursue methodical approaches to convert them into customers.
2. Lead Qualification
After lead prospecting, the lead advances to the next stage, lead qualification. Here, you try to figure out if the lead is interested in learning more about your business and becoming a buyer now or in the future. You can use lead magnets, such as webinars, white papers, e-book, or other resources to make them learn more. In this sales pipeline stage, you determine if the prospect requires your product/service, his/her authority to buy, and the budget.
In this stage, you schedule a meeting to present your offerings and solutions to the prospect. You both figure out the best solution to quench the needs of the prospect.
In this sales pipeline stage, you summarize needful solutions for the buyer and prepare a quote based on that. You need to figure out if the proposal is delivering more value than engagement cost so that you can get a profit out of this deal.
5. Objection Handling
Here, the prospect presents concern about the product/service, price, and competitor’s offering, etc. After managing buyer expectations, you both come to a mutual agreement for a beneficial partnership. You need to respond in such that you can get this deal while making some profit.
Finally, negotiations are made, contracts are signed, and the deal is closed in this sales pipeline stage. This is the stage where prospects officially become your customers.
7. Post-Sales Follow-Up
The sales pipeline doesn’t end at the closure, the journey of your customers has just started, and you need to assist them in onboarding and answer all their queries to retain them for long. Good service can bring you a time when you can cross-sell your new services/products to the existing customer. You can also ask them to upgrade their subscriptions, remind them about contract renewal, and ask them for referrals.
Some sales leaders fix some other approaches in between the stages for better customer engagement. It’s all about your choice that you want to make your prospect travel from the first stage to the last stage. Just make sure that your sales pipeline is not so long because a shorter sales pipeline ensures more conversions.
Most companies following a systematic and formal sales process are ruling at the top in their respective markets. If you want someone to analyze all these stages for you, then opt for FinCRM. This is feature-filled and versatile CRM software, which can eventually turn out to be your best investment. From capturing leads to analyzing your entire sales pipeline and presenting progress in a visualized way, this CRM software can efficiently handle the sales process. Organizations armed with the right CRM software performs exceptionally and generate more profits. You are just a click away from the free trial of the industry-best and budget-friendly CRM software.
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