Pipelines are an essential piece of the marketing and sales process and play a significant role in the success of any organization that sells products or services. Setting up and managing a sales pipeline can be difficult, especially if you're making mistakes that can alter the results. In this blog post, we'll outline the top five mistakes made when setting up your pipeline and provide tips on how to avoid them. By avoiding these mistakes, you'll be on your way to having a well-run pipeline that leads to more sales and more success.
What is a Sales Pipeline?
A sales pipeline is a method used by businesses to track prospective sales opportunities. Typically, a company will create a process that tracks specific, relevant information about potential customers as they move through the various stages of the purchasing cycle, often referred to as the customer journey.
At each stage in the process, different types of information are collected and analyzed in order to determine what action should be taken next. This can include things like fielding customer inquiries, establishing contact with potential buyers, assessing their buying needs, and negotiating terms of sale.
By maintaining an accurate and up-to-date sales pipeline, a business is able to more effectively prioritize its sales activities and increase its chances of winning new clients and increasing revenue.
Top 5 Mistakes Made During Pipeline Set-up
Lack of a Defined Sales Process
One of the most common mistakes sales teams make is failing to define the sales process. It is difficult to close deals and achieve consistent results if there is no clear understanding of how to set up a pipeline and move prospects through it. Without a defined sales process, sales teams often end up relying on individual sellers to figure out how to best approach each opportunity, which can lead to inconsistencies in how deals are approached and ultimately lead to higher churn rates and lower close rates.
By taking the time to define the steps involved in the sales process, teams can ensure that everyone is following the same process and working towards the same goal. Ultimately, this will result in more deals being closed and a higher level of success for the team as a whole.
Not Tracking Opportunities
When it comes to building a sales pipeline and tracking opportunities, it is essential to stay on top of all the potential leads that come your way. This involves having a system in place for identifying and tracking prospects, setting realistic expectations for each opportunity, and regularly reviewing progress so that you are always aware of where you currently stand.
Without a strong process for managing opportunities, you run the risk of losing out on valuable sales and letting key opportunities fall through the cracks. Thus, by taking a proactive approach to building and maintaining your sales pipeline, you can ensure that your business stays ahead of the competition and maximizes its revenue potential.
Not Qualifying Opportunities
When it comes to sales opportunities, it is essential to qualify each opportunity carefully in order to ensure that you are maximizing your sales potential. Failure to do so can lead to wasted time and the loss of leads or reduced sales overall, as you might wind up pursuing opportunities that are not a good fit for your products or services.
To avoid missing out on good opportunities, it is critical to have a clear sales pipeline process in place. This involves gathering and organizing sales intelligence at every stage of the sales process, from initial discovery through evaluation and negotiation.
Whether you utilize a dedicated sales software tool or an old-fashioned spreadsheet, your sales pipeline should always contain up-to-date information about each opportunity. By doing so, you can be sure that you are pursuing only those opportunities that are worth your time and effort.
Not Prioritizing Opportunities
When it comes to sales, one of the biggest mistakes that many businesses make is not prioritizing opportunities in the sales process. This can lead to missed leads and lost potential customers, which can have severe negative impacts on growth and revenue. To avoid this problem, it is important to understand how to prioritize opportunities throughout the sales funnel.
One key factor in effective prioritization is looking at each opportunity through both a quantitative and qualitative lens.
On the quantitative side, it is important to evaluate things like value and likelihood of closing, as well as key metrics such as conversion rates and overall revenue trends.
On the qualitative side, you need to consider things like customer intent and preference for a certain product or service. Once you have considered both of these factors, you can develop a clear set of criteria that allows you to accurately rank all opportunities relative to one another.
Not Updating the Pipeline
Updating the pipeline in the sales process is critical for ensuring that sales efforts remain relevant and effective. The pipeline represents the stages that a potential sale moves through, from initial contact to closing. Staying current with the status of this process allows you to assess where your efforts are best directed, whether at higher-level contacts or new leads that need to be prioritized. Failing to update the pipeline frequently can also create negative ripple effects that can damage relationships with customers and prospects.
For example, selling a product or service that has been phased out can put companies at risk of not delivering on their promises, and disappointing customers by delaying delivery or providing fewer features than expected can destroy trust and potentially lead to cancellation of future projects or business altogether. To avoid these negative outcomes, companies must make it a priority to keep their sales pipelines up-to-date and relevant through consistent maintenance and best practices for pursuing leads.
Setting up and maintaining a sales pipeline can be difficult, but it is essential to ensure your business is making the most of its opportunities. By avoiding these top five mistakes, you can rest assured that your pipeline is functioning as efficiently as possible. If you would like help setting up or optimizing your sales pipeline, contact us for a free 30 minute strategy call. We would be happy to assist you in achieving your sales goals.