All businesses want to be in a position where they can quickly identify and convert potential leads into closed deals. Leads are the buyers who are readily interested in buying your product or service, or at least in the near future. The longer the list of potential leads in hand, the greater is the chance of building a predictable revenue process. This list of deals can be created through pipeline generation activities. Businesses need to actively grab the attention of prospects to convert them into confirmed deals, or run the risk of losing them.
Sales pipeline generation approaches
There are two approaches for sales pipeline generation.
- Outbound Marketing
Businesses initiate contact with accounts in their ICP to generate interest in their products or services. It could be done via cold calling and direct emails to strategically move the prospects through the funnel.
- Inbound Marketing
Businesses focus on creating content that is relevant to potential leads and aligns with their needs and interests. This helps attract the target audience and guides them through a smooth buying process.
Sales pipeline generation best practices
For a business to run successfully, it needs a list of qualified accounts also called as sales opportunities. B2B companies need to follow certain pipeline generation best practices to ensure that a healthy sales pipeline is in place. These best practices will ensure regular inflow of leads into the funnel culminating into regular sales. Businesses should build their sales lead or pipeline generation strategy on these best practices.
- Identify prospective buyers
You need to consolidate all your prospects into your sales pipeline. It will help in healthy sales pipeline generation. Each prospect is placed in the sales pipeline depending on which stage their deal is with your business.
The stages in the pipeline are ‘initiate contact,’ ‘schedule demo,’ ‘deal closure.’ Identify your buyers and put them in a distinct stage.
- Assign sales activities in each stage
Sales activities are meant to create a fast-moving pipeline. Assigning the sales activities at the start helps salespeople to focus on them in a better way. Sending emails, tracking email metrics, and connecting over phone are some sales activities.
- Define sales cycle length
The effort you put in for sales pipeline generation depends heavily on your sales cycle and how quickly your sales person is able to close deals. The sales cycle duration depends on the following factors:
Complexity of your product: The more complex your product is, the longer its sales cycle. Many people are involved in helping future prospects understand the product complexities, and creating a situation that convinces them to make the purchase.
Customization required: If your prospect is interested in your product only if it is customized, then the deal takes a longer time to go through. This is because customizations as per customer requirements take time.
Source of leads: Outbound sales activities like email marketing, and cold calling imply that time taken by your sales cycle is more than that taken to convert inbound leads into customers.
- Decide the ideal size of sales pipeline
Your pipeline generation activities depend on your pipeline goals. The greater the goal, the more deals your salespersons should be pursuing.
Decide beforehand on how many deals your business needs to close to reach its sales target. Blindly going after target prospects is a bad idea, as many deals may not materialize over time.
Try to pursue more deals than the target because not all of them will materialize. You can determine your preferred monthly or quarterly sales targets by dividing your quarterly revenue by your average deal size.
- Remove stagnant deals from the sales pipeline
Lingering sales deals diminish returns. Keep track of the time spent on each deal. If the time spent on any deal exceeds your sales cycle, it’s better to call it off.
A CRM can help your sales team by intimating them on stagnating deals and prompting them to perform any sales activity they can to close that deal. It will result in a healthy and fast-moving sales pipeline.
- Define sales pipeline metrics
A sales pipeline is a system to monitor sales KPIs. A constantly changing sales pipeline, courtesy of sales activities, gives your sales manager enough indicators to gauge its health.
Defining your sales targets on a regular basis helps you track the sales pipeline. It also helps you to identify how many deals your sales team needs to close.
Boost revenue with pipeline generation activities
Businesses need to focus on pipeline generation as their leading contributor to revenue growth. They must strategize for relevant pipeline generation activities. Pipeline generation is not an end goal, but a continuous process to engage with customers and potential prospects to improve sales figures. You need to define the metrics, remove stagnant deals, and define deal sizes and sales cycle.