Best practices to manage your sales pipeline
When you want to generate more sales in your online business, you typically have two choices. Either find ways to drive more traffic to your website, or find ways to turn more of your existing traffic into customers. Sadly, a common problem in business is letting leads go cold. Managing your sales pipeline is an essential part of running a business. But it doesn’t happen by accident. If you want to keep the leads flowing, you need to have proper processes in place that will help you manage leads at every stage through the process.
In this article, we’ll look at how to manage leads generated through marketing activities. To find out more about sales-driven leads, you need to see this Abacus Marketing post on Creating a successful sales pipeline strategy.
Use a CRM
CRM stands for customer relationship manager. This is a kind of database that allows you to keep track of leads and make sure nothing falls between the cracks. If you have a sales team with multiple sales executives, a CRM is essential to ensure that everyone is on the same page. A good CRM will not only manage your prospects, but it will also provide valuable metrics on the health of your sales pipeline. Your sales pipeline will always be moving and evolving, so being able to keep an eye on the main metrics is incredibly valuable for upper management.
Remember to follow up
You don’t have to feel like you are hounding people for sending a follow up email. Following up with your prospects is essential to keeping the sales pipeline moving. People are busy and might not respond immediately to your email. If you send a timely follow up a few days later, you might catch them at a more convenient time. One thing to avoid is always sending your emails at the same time. It might make sense in the context of your working week, but this simply means that you will always catch the person at the same time. Vary your initial contact and follow up for greater success.
There are so many steps to the process which can be automated. Automated email journeys are a great way to give the prospect everything they need to know to make an informed decision. Remember principles of Miller’s Law when planning your emails. On average, people only retain around 7 pieces of information, so don’t overload your emails. Keep each email simple and to-the-point, building on the information they have already received.
Clean up regularly
Practice good hygiene by regularly cleaning your lists. There’s no sense in having huge sales lists if you’ve been chasing the same prospects for months and getting nowhere. Decide on a timeframe to end contact and then focus on finding fresh leads. You can always add those people to a long-term follow up list and email them again in a year to find out if they are still interested. If they don’t opt back in, then you can simply delete them for good.
Review your processes
Reviewing your processes achieves two things. It identifies and eradicates bad habits. And it also helps to put an end to processes that aren’t working for your team. A sales tactic that worked last year might not be as effective today, so there is little point in pushing on just for the sake of it. Seek regular feedback from your sales team to make sure the processes are still effective. Your sales team will often be the best source of new lead avenues.
Develop your content
High-quality content is a hugely valuable sales asset. Once it is created, you will derive value from it for months and maybe even years. Adding content to your sales pipeline is a great way to keep the conversation going and provide even more pre-sales value to your prospects. If you aren’t sure what type of content you should be creating, ask your prospects. If you hear the same questions all the time, you know it’s time to create a valuable resource that you can add into the pipeline.
Remember, your sales processes will always be evolving. You need to take a flexible approach to managing your sales pipeline in order to ensure success.
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Charles has been working as a webmaster since 1998. Since then, he has had his hands in thousands of websites and has helped millions get online through a company he partially owns called Web Host Pro.