How To Nail Sales Pipeline Management Like A Pro

Sales Pipeline Masterclass: Part Six

landscape photograph of brown hill under blue sky seen through the opening of a metaphorical sales pipeline
Photographer: Drew Sal | Source: Unsplash

You’re generating more B2B leads, actively qualifying them and booking sales meetings with prospects. But how do you ensure you’re not losing any important data during the sales process and are keeping track of progress made with every prospect? This is where sales pipeline management comes in.

This post is Part Six in a new Masterclass series on how to build your sales pipeline. Building a strong sales pipeline is the #1 key to sales success. That’s why we created this indispensable step-by-step guide, to teach you how to build your pipeline the right way.

– Jeroen Corthout, Co-Founder Salesflare, an easy-to-use sales CRM for small B2B companies

In this sixth part of the series, we’ll be walking you through how to effectively manage your pipeline without drowning in a sea of sales leads.

 

Five steps to better sales pipeline management

1. Visualize your opportunities pipeline

It’s important to get an overview of your sales pipeline if you want to be able to optimize your resources. A clear visualization will get you in control of your opportunities, enabling you to work in a focused way, stage per stage.

It also helps in quickly identifying high quality opportunities, indicating where you should be putting more effort to close a deal.

Salesflare's automated visualized sales pipeline management tool
Salesflare’s visual sales pipeline management screen

Start by organizing your sales pipeline as per the following stages in the sales process:

  • Leads (the first time someone appears on your radar)
  • Contacted (the first time you reach out and make an actual contact)
  • Qualification (this is where you determine whether the lead is a good fit for your business or not)
  • Proposal made (those you’ve made a formal offer to)
  • Win/Lose (deals you won and the deals you lost)

To make it even better, you can add custom stages to classify prospects that don’t belong in the active pipeline.

For instance, if a prospect mentions needing your solution in six months, categorize them under ‘fridge’. Similarly, if you notice a prospect has gone over your average sales cycle, classify them under ‘blocked’.

 

2. Focus on the next step and keep track of tasks

Once you have identified your low-, medium- and high-quality opportunities, you need to focus on lining up the next steps for each of them. Be it following up with them via email or simply reaching out to them on call to book a sales meeting, you need to keep the prospect in mind and line up whatever is required to move them along the pipeline.

Now as your pipeline grows, this can become difficult. Many sales teams end up losing opportunities simply because they missed a follow-up or it wasn’t timely.

Employ an easy-to-use CRM for better sales pipeline management. Create tasks that need to be focused on next for every prospect based on previous interactions. The CRM will also help you get easy access to data that you will need once it’s time to take these actions.

A screenshot of Salesflare's task overview screen to help with sales pipeline management
Salesflare’s task overview screen

 

3. Automate your CRM treasure trove of information

Get a CRM that automatically pulls in all the necessary data from different digital platforms like email, social media, website, your calendar and your phone. This way you won’t have to spend endless hours inputting everything into your CRM to keep your pipeline up-to-date and can focus on spending time with your prospects.

An automated CRM like Salesflare can import email signatures to gather contact information, social profiles and related data, showing you all the interactions you have had so far with a prospect.

A screenshot of Salesflare's automated data input
Salesflare’s automated data input

Easy access to all the data also helps you track how interested a prospect is, the contacts your team have established at a company and much more.

With all the data automated and in place, you can also automate some of your routine emails to prospects once they reach a certain stage in the pipeline.

Automation on top of automation will have you winning more deals in no time!

 

4. Do some number crunching

Once you have your sales process tracked in a CRM, it is time for some number crunching. This includes looking at your lead list to identify how many leads are hot, warm and cold, the average sales cycle your pipeline is experiencing, how it is impacting your business goals and the actual number of deals you’re closing.

A screenshot of Salesflare's Insights panel
Salesflare’s Insights panel

But in addition to the above, also look into how your outreach and follow-ups are performing. Track emails, link clicks and how prospects are interacting with your website. It will help you customize and optimize their journey to conversion.

 

5. Regularly do a pipeline sweep

It’s hard to let go of the ‘more is better’ philosophy and that’s why most sales team let all their leads remain in the pipeline for a very long time. These include the leads that have proven to be not worth pursuing and those that have gone way over the average sales cycle.

Take a look at your CRM data to identify which prospects haven’t responded to any of your communication. Identify the sluggish leads that only eat into your time and resources and remove them from your sales pipeline.

As a rule of thumb, touch base with them one last time. Send them a quick email to let them know you’re moving them out of your pipeline and if they’re interested, they should reach out to you.

 

Conclusion: you need sales pipeline management

Even though the benefits of sales pipeline management are many, 44% of executives think their business is ineffective at it. They admit to having lost great opportunities due to their inability to effectively put data to use.

Simply put, sales pipeline management is like keeping a clean work space. It keeps you productive and focused on what matters most.

So no matter what stage your business is at, make managing your sales pipeline an active process. After all, it’s data that makes or breaks the growth of your business.

Ready to improve your sales pipeline management? Well, don’t forget to tune in next week for Part Seven in our Sales Pipeline Masterclass: How To Ace Your Sales Negotiations Using Proven Closing Techniques. Need a refresher? Go back and read Part Five: Lead Qualification: How To Qualify Your B2B Leads And Improve Your Sales Process.

Simply can’t wait to start selling? Give Salesflare a try. We’re an easy-to-use sales CRM for small B2B companies that’s chock-full of automation and always up to date!

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Vanhishikha Bhargava

Freelance Writer at Salesflare
I’m a freelance writer at Salesflare, a simple powerful CRM for small businesses. My love for startups and digital has me digging out strategies and exploring tools that can be used for smarter growth. You can connect with me, here.