How to effectively manage your sales pipeline

Regardless of industry or size, almost every company in the world should be maintaining a sales pipeline. A solid pipeline will provide a clear overview of your entire sales process, from steps made by staff during the process, to customer contacts, quotas to meet from sales reps, sale stages and the value of growth coming from new deals.

Author: Euan Aitken | Published: 05/07/2022

Latest News

How to effectively manage your sales pipeline

What is scheduling software?

5 top tips on how to effectively manage your CRM

What is business process management

The benefits of e-forms

Book your demo

Why not book a live demo?

Find out how Zigaflow can automate your business processes

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Stay up to date with the latest updates and news from Zigaflow

How to effectively manage your sales pipeline

Regardless of industry or size, almost every company in the world should be maintaining a sales pipeline. A solid pipeline will provide a clear overview of your entire sales process, from steps made by staff during the process, to customer contacts, quotas to meet from sales reps, sale stages and the value of growth coming from new deals. This, in turn, provides your sales staff with you resources they need to forecast potential sales through a visual representation of the entire process. This may sound great, but you might be asking yourself how can you build and implement this?

Identify and define the stages of your sales cycle

It's important to analyse your sales processes and identify distinguishable stages required to close a deal. Typically, your cycle would begin with your target customers, then any leads you may have been in contact with, leads with any action to take, proposals for potential prospects and finishing with deals closed by sales representatives. However, this may vary drastically between industries, so it's recommended to first research conventional sales processes for your particular field of business. Once you have your stages mapped out, you can begin to create your sales pipeline around these steps. If you invest your time into your pipeline management, it is very likely you will see a growth in revenue. Research conducted by Forbes concluded that 'companies that spend at least four hours per month managing each rep's sales pipeline realised 14 percent greater revenue growth than those that spent less than one hour.'

Here are our tips on ways to create an effective sales pipeline:

Step into your customers' shoes - Effective sales processes should be adaptive to suit the selling situations and designing the process with the customer in mind, should ensure you are asking the right questions.

Identify the causes of failed leads/sales - You should take an analytical approach to identify the causes of failed opportunities, in order to take preventative measures against the same process in the future.

Track the most qualified leads - One of the biggest problems your sales team must overcome is filtering out low potential leads whilst identifying the prospects who are most likely to purchase. If you are in the B2B field, it's worth noting that many sales cycles take months to close, which is why it is important to filter them as early as possible.

Concentrate on forecasting and increase revenue - Since typical sales processes are a set of repeatable stages, it gives a clear and consistent process for sales staff to follow leading to more accurate forecasting.

Research your prospects - The more you learn about each prospect or company you are in business with, the more qualified you become at empathising with their needs, and ultimately closer to closing the deal.

Once you have your sales pipeline flowing it's important to review and measure the success of the current processes. This will inform your current state of success and future business decisions regarding your sales process. One way to measure this is to use the 'three levels of sales process success' to determine which success level you are in. The three levels of this are defined as follows:

Level 1: Humming - Your sales processes would be classed as humming when a minimum of 80% of your sales representatives are hitting their monthly quotas, as well as new employees being quick to reach target performances. If you are at this level, your team isn't providing any negative feedback about the sales process in place.

Level 2: Experimenting - You are at this level if you're close, but not quite in the humming stage, so your team experiments by testing different methods to determine effectiveness. An example of this is A/B email testing to see which template prospects respond to the most.

Level 3: Thrashing - This is the level you will be in when your efforts are proving ineffective. Your team is likely moving quickly from one solution to the next attempting to find some success. It's advised to get away from this stage as quick as possible.

Benefits of an effective sales pipeline

Monitors the team's progress

When you have a clear stage-driven process, the use of a sales pipeline will help team managers while analysing progress at each of these stages.

Helps create accurate forecasts

It's easier to estimate how far a deal is from closing when they have to follow that step-by-step process. Due to this, it becomes easier to judge whether target quotas are going to be met.

Quicker and better results drive revenue

With a well-defined sales pipeline, companies can expect to see growth rates continue to rise. Following a clear process, makes it routine meaning staff should be able to close deals faster.

Encourages correct resource allocation

Optimising each sales stage allows the relevant staff to determine the correct resources required to finish the deal. Likewise, managers can use this to align efforts between two different teams.

Nurture Leads

A good sales pipeline will let the data flow, making it easier to nurture prospective clients through the stages of your sales. Furthermore, this data provides meaningful insights into the customer allowing for more personalised experiences with your business.

How Zigaflow's CRM suits sales pipeline management

Our cloud-based CRM might just be the right solution for implementing the concept of pipeline management into your business. Zigaflow gives you all the tools you need to effectively manage your opportunities, correspondence and so much more. Take advantage of our advanced reporting capabilities to gain insightful data on existing customers. Let our CRM manage your sales pipeline so you can focus on your business, book a demo with us today to find out more.

Euan Aitken

Euan Aitken

Sales & Marketing Director

Having started his journey with Zigaflow as a customer who took a keen interest in what the software could become, Euan joined us to lead our Sales & Marketing. Euan loves all things Business, Sales & Tech.

More Posts | View LinkedIn profile

Read more reviews