Modern businesses are always looking for strategies to improve their sales and revenue. Improving the sales pipeline strategy is one of the ways to increase sales. This article discusses pipeline generation, the difference between lead generation and pipeline generation, and various techniques to improve your pipeline generation strategy.
What is pipeline generation in marketing and sales?
Pipeline generation is the focus on creating a pipeline of opportunities. This is done by accurately tracking the potential buyers through the purchasing process and engaging the buyer group. Journey-stage appropriate marketing activities help convert visitors into leads and opportunities that sales can reach out to.
Difference between lead generation and pipeline generation
While pipeline generation focuses on building a steady stream of opportunities, lead generation, as the name suggests, is concerned with increasing the number of leads entering the funnel. Lead generation could be a step in the pipeline generation process but there is more to building a pipeline.
With more focus on the volume of leads, lead generation tactics tend to be around activities like form fill and gated content. Whereas pipeline generation focuses on more long-term activities that create awareness and bring quality leads. The reason being that the high propensity leads gained through the latter will meet the pipeline goals. Marketers adopting pipeline generation tend to be more inclined towards demand generation as a pipeline process.
Other potential differences between pipeline generation and lead generation are given in the table below:
|Focuses on collecting leads at the top of the funnel by bringing visitors and getting form fills.
|Focuses on generating awareness and interest to attract leads with the readiness to buy.
|Results in slower sales due to a large volume of qualified and unqualified contacts.
|Results in faster sales as it includes only qualified potential leads ready to close deals.
|Helps create connections with leads generated through campaigns.
|Makes quality contacts resulting in customers.
|Ignores nurturing collected leads as the qualification process comes under the sales team’s responsibility.
|Includes nurturing potential and unqualified leads through email marketing, blog content, remarketing ads, and providing offers to increase the engagement.
|Lead generation metrics don’t usually prove the value of the marketing spend.
|Pipeline marketing metrics help marketers with future marketing strategies and reduce costs.
Why is pipeline generation important?
Building a sales pipeline increases the number of qualified leads. This means focusing on pipeline generation increases the likelihood of meeting revenue goals. So, sales and marketing teams should collectively focus on growing quality pipeline in a predictable manner. Pipeline generation is important as it helps to
- Improve sales forecasting
- Gauge sales and marketing performance levels
- Improve the demand generation strategy and achieve the target revenue
How to improve your sales pipeline generation?
To improve your sales pipeline generation, sales and marketing teams should work together throughout the revenue process. As B2B buying journey is non-linear and buyers loop across the funnel, marketing and sales should share equal responsibilities of the entire funnel. Some sales pipeline generation strategies include:
- Begin with the revenue goal: A clear revenue goal and growth target help sales and marketing teams plan the pipeline. Also, it’s easier to decide the marketing investment required to build the pipeline.
- Analyze close ratio: Tracking the close ratios assist in understanding the number of opportunities required to hit the revenue growth goals.
- Understand the lead source: You can grow your sales pipeline by understanding where leads come from. The historical data of accounts helps identify the sources of accounts fitting your ICP and can be included in the pipeline.
Qualified lead generation: Each business model needs unique and customized marketing strategies to generate leads. Understanding and determining a go-to-market strategy that translates into potential and qualified leads is a crucial sales pipeline generation strategy.
Improve revenue process with pipeline generation
Sales pipeline generation is essential for increasing the number of qualified leads that translate into active opportunities. A well-designed, implemented, managed, and updated pipeline generation strategy helps the sales and marketing team create more sales opportunities. Focusing on pipeline generation as a revenue strategy helps track the metrics, activities and deals to measure marketing efforts and remove blocks from the revenue process.