“Keep Your Sales Pipeline Always Full by Prospecting Continuously. Always Have More People to See Than You Have Time to See Them.”
– Brian Tracy
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) has become an essential part of almost every business type in today’s world. By 2025, the CRM market will reach more than $80 billion in revenue. Building a strong sales pipeline is one of the primary functions of a CRM tool. As a business owner, it is essential to have a complete idea about building and managing a strong pipeline of prospects. So, in this article, we’ll talk about what is a sales pipeline and how to build a sales pipeline with Zoho CRM.
While Sales Pipeline can be a nice buzzword, it is not just a vanity metric. When managed meticulously, the sales pipeline is one of the most potent tools for the salesperson.
To put it simply, the sales pipeline lets you see all your leads in different stages of sales.
For a B2B company a typical sales pipeline would look like this:
For a B2C company, the sales pipeline is typically relatively shorter. Depending on the products or services, the pipeline looks somewhat like this:
So, the sales pipeline is nothing but a tool to visualize and organize your leads or sales opportunities through different stages; from the time you get in touch with them, till the time you either close (preferably) the deal or lose it. It not only lets you identify bottlenecks in the sales process but also helps you in revenue prediction.
Thus it is no wonder, any salesperson worth his salt must understand what a sales pipeline is and learn to build a strong one.
This depends a lot on the industry the business is working in, the kind of products/services they are offering, and their inner business process as well. However, if you are starting out and looking at chalking up a standard sales pipeline for your business, here’s an overall idea.
The six stages of a Sales Pipeline can be:
Leads Generating: Customers find your business from various sources such as email campaigns, client referrals, social media ads, and many other promotional activities. In this stage, you can offer e-books, white papers, webinars, or any other lead magnet to determine whether the lead is interested in your product or service.
Qualifying Leads: Once you’ve captured the lead, you need to qualify the same depending on a few criteria. Here the following questions would help you in qualifying the leads and focus your efforts. Does the opportunity match my offering? Does the expected timeline match my schedule? Is the contact person a decision-maker? Does the lead have the budget for my product/services? If you can find answers to these questions and they are positive, then you have a qualified lead at your hand! All that is left is to go for it!
Requirement Gathering: Once you have qualified your leads, you can schedule a meeting with them to better understand their requirements and see which of your offerings fit the bill. Requirement gathering sessions are critical to understanding the pinpoints, aspirations, etc of your prospect. These sessions also allow you to understand and estimate the deal value, which can further help you prioritize your efforts!
Proposal: In this stage, show your ability to meet the requirements of a potential customer and how your service or product will be a value for money. Make sure to cover all details, not just the financials here. Keep in mind, a stunning-looking proposal can make all the difference when it comes to impressing your prospect.
Negotiation: Well, not something to look forward to! But, sometimes (unfortunately) the prospect might end up negotiating. It is super critical to keep track of all communication at this stage.
Closed Won: Finally, you close the deal and move towards offering a great experience to your customers.
While these are typical sale pipeline stages, your Sales executives can further tailor the stages based on how they engage customers. The key here is to understand how to build a strong sales pipeline. Only 13% of leads qualify for prospects and a mere 6% of those prospects become closed deals. Thus, making it important to know how to manage your sales pipeline. Keep a track of all the sales activities in each stage to get better conversion.
Well, a strong sales pipeline makes all the difference between a lousy salesperson and a pro one! Yes, it’s critical to build, nurture and manage your sales pipeline daily.
So, here’s how to build a sales pipeline for your business:
The more lead you put in the pipeline the stronger it is. Keeping this in mind, you should not only focus on using multiple channels for capturing leads, but also focus on centralizing them in your CRM tool automatically. This way, you can track the lead sources, their conversion rate, and deal values easily. As mentioned above, creating interesting (and truly useful) lead magnets like e-books, whitepapers, webinar sign-ups can do wonders here.
This is super critical for your success. While we’ve laid out a generic plan above, you’ll have to do soul-searching and identify stages in your sales cycle. Here try to be as granular as possible. The better you define the pipeline, the better intelligence you gather.
Let’s face this! We all have limited time in our day. So, if you try chasing every lead, you don’t go after any one of them really. Be as brutal as you can be in the qualifying process. You might leave out a chunk of leads in each stage, but your pipeline would be solid and your efforts will be focused.
Visualizing the data properly helps you win half the battle. So, make sure to create proper reports and dashboards in place, so that you can visualize the overall health of your sales pipeline as well as see the nitty-gritty details of each and every stage.
Update, update and update your pipeline after every conversation. This is especially true if you have a longer sales cycle. Understand, your pipeline is as true as the data you feed into it. So, being consistent in terms of updating your sales pipeline is crucial.
Now that you know what is a sales pipeline and how to build a strong sales pipeline, the question is, do you have the proper tool for managing this? Can you perform all the aforementioned functions with your current sales tool? If not, then you need a robust CRM that helps you manage this effortlessly.
Here’s you would of course need a tool that is tailored for your business! Let’s see how Zoho CRM can help you here!
With Zoho CRM, you will be able to define your pipeline and track your sales cycle effectively.
Zoho CRM lets you capture leads from multiple sources like website, social media, email campaign, pop-up forms, etc in one place. The leads get into the system automatically and you get notified. Capturing leads was never this easy!
Want to assign leads to your team members based on products/services the prospect is interested in? Or maybe you want different salespeople to handle leads from different geo locations? This is super easy to do with the lead-assignment rules of Zoho CRM.
Depending on the stage the Lead is in, you can now send automated emails to them. Not only that, with the cool blue-print feature, you can guide your sales reps step by step through the sales process. This way nothing falls through the crack…no follow-up is missed!
Data readability is supercritical for any sales process. With the robust reporting functionalities of Zoho CRM, you can generate critical reports in a jiffy. Be it the health of your sales pipeline or revenue prediction, you can generate beautiful reports and access them right on your Home Page.
Here’s how you manage your sales pipeline with Zoho CRM:
Now, you know the importance of a sales pipeline and how to manage your sales pipeline using Zoho CRM. However, implementing CRM is not enough to bring all the changes.
Every business has its own sales process and a CRM should be customized according to the business requirements. Otherwise, you won’t be able to create an appropriate sales pipeline for your business.
Hence, if you are planning to use a customized CRM for your business then you need a consultant who will understand the sales cycle of your business and implement the Zoho CRM for you.
Book an appointment with us today to get expert consultation for the growth of your business using Zoho CRM.