Sales Management 101: What are Sales Pipelines?

Published on February 15, 2021
4 min read
Icon Saphyte Team
4 min read

Most modern sales teams perform sales management using sales pipelines. If you aren’t familiar with the term, a sales pipeline is a visual representation of where your prospects are in the sales process.

With it, you can monitor the number of deals you have, which deal is stuck in the pipeline, which ones are going smoothly, and you get to know what you need to do to keep these sales going and eventually close them.

But how you can grow your sales using this technique?

What you should know:

How to Build Your Own Sales Pipeline

Tips in Making a Sales Pipeline

Launching an Email Marketing Campaign Using Your Pipeline

So when learning about sales pipelines, first, you have to know how to build one.

Building a Sales Pipeline

To build a pipeline, you must first carefully plan how you want your pipeline to look like and what kind of data it should collect and present to you.

Identify the stages you want your sales pipeline to have and what they’re representing.

Identify what usually happens in each stage that encourages a prospect to move to the next stage.

Do the math: measure how close you are to arriving at your goals or sales targets with each prospect.

Perform lead generation techniques to continuously add leads to your pipeline.

Assess and evaluate the effectiveness of your sales activities at each stage of the pipeline.

Review and “clean” your pipeline.

1.  Identify the stages of the sales pipeline

The typical buyer’s journey consists of the following stages:

Awareness- the buyer has knowledge of your brand’s product or service through the following mediums: word of mouth, social media, TVs, print ads, etc.

Perception- the buyer gains a deeper knowledge about your brand compared to other brands

Decision- the buyer assess whether your brand can satisfy his/her needs and preferences and makes a purchase decision afterward

If you are more meticulous with this, you can craft a more detailed sales pipeline that would have the stages you think are necessary for a pipeline.

2.  Identify the sales opportunities at each stage

Knowing what prospects need and do at every stage allows you and your sales reps to identify key sales opportunities to nudge them to move forward in the sales pipeline and close a deal.

Estimating conversion rates or win rates also allow you to create sales forecasts for every sales period.

3.  Measure with metrics

Data related to your processes are needed at every stage to allow you to do the math and make data-driven decisions. Create estimates using metrics so you and your sales team can determine how much they’re gaining or losing with every deal.

4.  Lead generation techniques to keep your pipeline flowing

There are several techniques you can do to generate leads to add to your pipeline.

One is making your website or social media page work for you.

Make use of a landing page that allows your web visitors to fill out a form and sends the form to your database

Allow your existing customers to make referrals and get rewarded for it. Add their referrals to the sales pipeline.

Make use of email marketing techniques such as drip marketing to generate leads and eventually convert them. This starts with getting a website visitor drop his email address and other information so you can reach out to them anytime.

5.  Assess and evaluate your sales processes

Every plan needs an assessment and evaluation stage for you to perfect it. Here, you need to know what allowed sales prospects to move to each stage which indicates the success of your sales processes. If they failed to move forward to another stage, identify what went wrong and what you can do to correct them.

6.  Review and “clean” your pipeline

Some prospects get stuck forever at one stage. There’s a high chance that they have decided to ignore you forever. Tough luck, but sometimes you need to let them go so you can rechannel your focus on the newer leads and test your sales processes’ effectiveness again.

Eventually, these leads will convert or will become stuck in a stage again which requires you to review your pipeline every now and then.

Tips in Making a Sales Pipeline

Now that you know how to build a pipeline, check out these tips so you can make the most out of it.

Automate your sales pipeline

Automating your sales pipeline using a software eliminates or at least reduces the chances of human error messing up your estimates. It also frees up the workload of your sales team so that they won’t have to do the boring and repetitive manual tasks anymore.

With automation, the amount of time that is spent on manual processes will be reduced drastically, saving you cost, energy, and resources.

With Saphyte’s ecosystem, for example, you can perform sales techniques with each of your sales pipeline stages such as sending them emails to encourage a purchase behavior or even the simple task of thanking them for registering at the start of the pipeline. That certainly makes them feel welcomed by your company.

Here, you have to make sure that you can customize your pipeline or use a sales pipeline template depending on your preference.

Before giving up on a potential customer, send them a “last goodbye” email

In a bid and hopes of preventing them from leaving, a “last goodbye” email serves as a reminder to the customer of the chances that they will lose should they decide to “break up” with your brand.

This email can contain a list of your USPs, a list of benefits that your company can give them, promos and offers to stop them from leaving, and any content designed to increase the chances of customers retaining or returning.

Coordinate with your teams

Each team is crucial in crafting a successful pipeline and refining the techniques to get the potential customers moving from one stage to the next.

Sales and marketing teams, for example, can contribute inputs in designing the processes that would capture leads, close deals, encourage more purchases, and generate more leads in the process.

Make use of relationship marketing

Relationship marketing has been used traditionally as a way to build loyalty and retain customers. It starts with just knowing your customers’ names until it evolves into giving them promos that you don’t normally offer to people.

This helps build the relationship from being strangers to acquaintances to friends. Today, relationship marketing is widely used in digital platforms using CRM or customer relationship management software. Its ultimate goal is to build loyalty and engagement over time.

When you deepen your relationship with your customers, promoting new products or letting them try new services no longer becomes difficult. You will no longer have to actively reach out to your customers as they will willingly reach out to you. This is one of the benefits of a good relationship marketing strategy.

Be data-driven

Being data-driven means that you base your business decisions on data that you have gathered.

There are marketing tools (often integrated into CRM software) that are specially made to automate the gathering and interpretation of business data.

Some tools can help you track your marketing campaigns (blog posts, webinars, and social media) and monitor how much revenue you’re earning from them.

Crafting an email marketing campaign with your pipeline

Email marketing can help you nurture your leads and convert more sales.

Itis the art and science of sending curated content to target readers for the purpose of establishing profitable relationships with these readers over time. This content can be crafted for brand awareness, lead generation, or even sales generation.

To successfully launch your e-mail marketing campaign, you need to do the following:

Craft a subject line and preview text that your target readers won’t be able to resist

Know what to do with the right person

Use the right tools for your e-mail marketing campaign

Personalize your e-mail and make a segmented e-mail list

Include interactive content in your e-mail

Companies like Uber, BuzzFeed, Starbucks, Nike, The Verge, and Adobe have been doing these for years and they are successful at it. In fact, some of these companies have attributed their success in lead generation and sales conversion to doing e-mail marketing.

Get your own automated sales pipeline with the Saphyte Ecosystem now.

May 18, 2022