Building a Sales Pipeline
Good sales offers a solution to someone’s problem. The sales pipeline is the activity log of your sales efforts, as you guide your leads through the decision-making process.
Good sales starts with believing in your product: trusting that it is a solution to someone’s problem, an improvement on someone’s life. From this point, your responsibility as a salesperson is to guide these people (your leads) through the complexities of decision-making. The systematic approach you use to sell your product is called a sales pipeline. It assists you in trailing your sales efforts as you transform leads into customers.
The task of finding leads and keeping track of all your interactions through the customer life cycle can be daunting. So, take advantage of a customer management system (CRM) to guide you through the sales process and to keep your sales information organized.
The sales pipeline: managing your leads
Visualize the stages of your sales process as a sales pipeline. Your leads enter it via the lead finding process, and you can follow them throughout the stages of nurturing, closing deals, retaining, and upselling. In order to keep your information organized and your processes more efficient while tracking multiple leads, use a scalable CRM.
Rizer’s lead management system, for example, manages both inbound (user initiated) and outbound (contacted by you) lead flows, leveraging the best parts of both worlds. By providing the right communication tools, it gives the sales team access to the leads with the most probability of closing, regardless of the source.
Inbound lead generation / marketing
The traditional inbound lead generation methods include such techniques as:
- Organic search strategy
- Educational materials such as blogs, eBooks, whitepapers and webinars
- Pay-per-click (PPC) programs
- Keywords that lead to specific landing pages, and
- Web-lead forms on your site and landing pages.
Rizer CRM contains built-in lead capture forms that are easy to set up and simple to use. You define what data you want to capture about your leads and, depending on the form, where in the sales pipeline should the deal go.
Lead capture forms save you time by removing the need for tedious copy/pasting. Also, they help you avoid unnecessary integrations with other 3rd party solutions.
Creating a lead database
Whether you started tracking your leads in a spreadsheet or already use a CRM system, you can fill in your lead database with all relevant information:
- Decision maker
- Expected deal value
- Sales stage
- Contacted person, etc.
The Rizer CRM stores both company data and contact people for each lead. Besides such details as email addresses, phone numbers, and mailing addresses, it also stores the value of key business variables and social info. By having all necessary information organized at your fingertips, you can focus on closing deals and thereby converting leads into customers.
Activating your leads inside the sales pipeline
In traditional systems, the names / email addresses captured through your marketing efforts enter the sales funnel or sales pipeline. A series of activities follows, including a qualifying process and various sales stages, including:
- Reaching out to prospects
- Starting a conversation to schedule a meeting
- Meeting in person
- Sending a proposal
- Closing the deal, and
- Checking back later.
In the Rizer sales process, the data captured by the CRM’s lead capture forms are fine-tuned and enhanced by lead finding reps. They complete the collected name / email information with such details as company name and size, office address, number of employees, revenue, etc. This action frees your cold calling or sales reps from pre-call research, and thus they will have more time to focus on making calls.
While leads are inactive during the lead enrichment phase, they become active when pushed down the pipeline to a dedicated cold call rep or sales rep.
Whether you are using Rizer CRM or some other customer resource management system, your sales pipeline is the activity log that connects the stages of your sales process and keeps track of all relevant communication. Having your leads and all pertinent information organized in one place allows for more efficient processes and a happier sales team.