Ensure a Productive and Profitable Sales Pipeline

Ensure a Productive and Profitable Sales Pipeline

Sales People typically do not enjoy and often avoid administrative tasks and hence implementing, updating and monitoring a ‘Sales Pipeline’ record is often approached as an afterthought; However an accurate ‘Sales Pipeline’ will prove to be a formidable tool in keeping you focused and on track in closing the most valuable deals, in the shortest space of time.  A well compiled Sales Pipeline Template should reflect as a snapshot as to what stages of the sales process you are in with each individual prospect and which prospects you should give the most attention to.  For a Pipeline Record to work, you must keep it up-to-date and review it regularly otherwise it will prove worthless.

Some key aspects to consider in creating a meaningful Pipeline Record are as follows:

  1. With your sales target in mind, do you have sufficient quality prospects in your Pipeline?
    The top of your sales funnel needs to be continually topped up in order for momentum to be maintained in your pipeline. Prospecting for quality new business opportunities must be tackled regularly – Not as an afterthought but as an essential part of your business week.
  2. Track, Measure and Assess your Pipeline progress / results
    Your Pipeline Logging Process should allow for tracking and measuring all your listed prospects through each stage of the sales cycle. Your intention should be to track where you are in the process of achieving your ideal outcomes and measuring your sales conversion rate accordingly.
  3. Your pipeline record should include all the stages of the sales cycle such as:
    – Who the prospect is
    – Appointment Secured
    – Exploratory Meeting
    – Proposal presented
    – Negotiation
    – Staying in touch
    – Successful Close
    – Value of Deal
    – Duration of Cycle
  4. Analyze your Results
    Measure your stage-to-stage conversion – If for example you are achieving a 50% average conversion between each stage of the sales cycle, ask yourself if this is a sufficient conversion-rate to achieve your desired monthly sales target? If not, what can you do to change your approach in order to ensure sales success? By tracking the key data and actions for each potential sale, you have a snapshot of your sales success formula. This snapshot should also highlight actions that were not successful so that you can avoid those approaches in the future. Always look for ways to make improvements to your strategies, and put those techniques into action.
  5. Ensure that your sales pipeline is healthy!
    Having quality prospects at each stage of the sales cycle indicates a strong pipeline. As Sales People, our tendency is often to focus all our efforts on closing deals (which is the later stage of the pipeline), however without continual topping up of the pipeline, we will be in ‘no-man’s-land’ with an empty book ahead! A healthy pipeline needs to have momentum! If a deal remains stuck in one stage of the cycle ask yourself if you truly believe it is going to progress or close. Consider re-qualifying this prospect and possibly separate it onto a ‘back-end’ logging stream.
  6. Categorise your Pipeline Prospects as Hot, Warm and Luke Warm Take note of deals that stay in ‘one stage’ of the sales cycle longer than you have planned for. Consider re-allocating deals that you feel are in the ‘lukewarm’ stage to another back-up pipeline list. Don’t waste your time on deals that look like they’ve stalled. Put your energies where the pay-off will be. You will always get a % drop off in your pipeline so keep qualifying the prospects worthiness at each stage of the cycle. Keep your ‘house in order by sifting-out less-worthy or ‘unworthy’ prospects and topping up the list with better quality potential. Keep your focus on strong candidates and keep them moving along the pipeline.

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Mosupye Kubuzie, Engineer, Improchem

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