The strength of your sales pipeline influences how much revenue you generate this week, month, or quarter.
You need to know how to manage it and ensure it never runs dry of leads. But effective sales pipeline management goes well beyond filling your pipeline with new leads.
If you’re spending your time and your marketing dollars talking to people who don’t need or can’t afford what you’re selling, then you’re simply flushing your money down the toilet.
This is why you must qualify your leads before engaging them in what you have to offer.
What is a Qualified Lead?
Simply put, a qualified lead is a person who has shown clear indication that they are interested in your business and have converted. What counts as a qualified lead will vary from business to business.
There are two key elements you can use to qualify a lead. They are:
1. Fit: This is the part of the lead qualification process that is based on specific buyer personas or information like job title, industry, company revenue, geography, and so on.
Marketing and sales can agree on who a qualified buyer is based on these criteria.
Also, the degree to which a lead matches your ideal customer profile determines whether or not a lead is qualified.
2. Engagement: This is the process of determining a marketing lead’s level of purchasing interest. The activity of a lead can reveal how close they are to making a purchasing decision.
For example, if a lead has only visited your website once or has only recently started following you on Twitter, they may be aware of your company but not particularly engaged.
A lead who requests a demo or views pricing information is much more interested. Engagement considers all aspects of their online behavior, including email responses, web page visits, eBook downloads, and social media participation.
Now you know what a qualified lead is, let’s discuss proven strategies to fill your sales pipeline.
7 Proven Strategies to Fill Your Pipeline
1. Set a Sales Goal
Without meaningful, measurable sales goals, your sales team is like a rudderless ship approaching a storm.
At the first sign of turbulence, you may veer off course, take on water (missing life-saving growth opportunities), or lose motivation entirely.
A healthy sales pipeline centers on having enough good leads in the pipeline to meet or exceed your sales targets. Begin by establishing realistic revenue targets and sales goals.
2. Monitor Your Close Ratio
The closing ratio, also known as the close rate, is a metric that indicates how effectively your sales professional or a sales team performs.
It keeps track of how many sales have been closed in comparison to the number of proposals received.
In other words, it keeps track of how many leads made a purchase out of all prospects.
If you monitor your closing ratio on a regular basis, you will gain a more detailed understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of your sales team.
3. Qualify Leads
Having a pipeline full of names may appear impressive, but it isn’t always valuable.
Lead quantity is only beneficial if the prospects in question are also of high quality, indicating that they require your services and have the potential to convert.
Pre-qualifying prospects is a practical way to ensure you have quality leads.
4. Categorize Qualified Leads
Once your prospects have been qualified, fill them into one of these 3 categories.
Prospects in category one are ready to buy right now.
Prospects in category two want promotional items at some point in the future but aren’t ready to commit right now.
The third category includes prospective buyers who are generally open to investing in promotional products but do not have any specific marketing initiatives planned.
The final two categories are for disqualified leads and people who are unresponsive. Obviously, unqualified leads should not be added to the pipeline.
5. Define and Organize Your Sales Process
Establish a sales process with clearly defined stages to maximize close rates. This will assist you in smoothly guiding prospects to transactions.
Have a pipeline management system in place that indicates which category buyers are in, where they are in the sales process, when to follow up, what the prospects’ interests may be, and so on.
Consider purchasing sales tracking software to assist you. Being systematic and organized will help ensure that no opportunities are missed.
6. Work The Pipeline
Yes, it is critical to prioritize prospects who are ready to buy right now. However, it is also critical to devote time to nurturing the other leads in your pipeline.
Make sure that your sales process involves lead nurturing and follow-up.
When you do that, you get to a point where sales are converting on a consistent basis.
7. Get Prospecting
The better you can find and attract the right prospects, the easier it will be to close deals at the bottom of your sales pipeline.
Strategic lead generation and sales pipeline management are critical for filling every stage with hot qualified leads. Sales managers and frontline salespeople who are proactive can generate consistent streams of new prospects and avoid the all-too-familiar feast and famine nature of selling.
Maintaining a healthy end-to-end pipeline is difficult to work. The best salespeople can monitor their entire pipeline and keep each section healthy and strong.
This entire process begins with lead generation, and it is critical to keep lead generation in mind at all times.
If you need help building and growing your sales pipeline, look no further!
MarketJoy is a trustworthy sales development company that provides lead generation, market research, list building, and demand generation services to B2B businesses searching for sales help.
We can 10x your pipeline.
According to John W. Halsey, Vice President, Business Development, Turn-Key Health:
“The only negative thing I experienced when working with MarketJoy is that I did not hire them sooner. I thought I could do it better in-house, but MarketJoy helped show me the value of leveraging an outsourced partner. I wish I had hired them sooner!”
Get in touch today, we’re ready to lead you into the future of marketing and help grow your business.