A successful sales strategy is only as good as its planning. Good sales pipeline management should provide valuable insights and awareness into sales goals by encouraging deep analysis of deals, sales, and timeframe comparisons.
Empowering your sales team with accurate, clear data can help them understand the complexities of the sales pipeline. According to The Harvard Business Review, standardized sales pipeline management processes generate up to 18% more revenue than those without a standard process in place.
As a sales executive, that’s not something you can afford to overlook.
When you put together this year’s sales pipeline plan, make sure to avoid the following 4 common pitfalls:
Undefined and overly complex sales pipeline stages
The most common mistake sales executives make when it comes to their strategy is not aligning the sales pipeline stages with the buyer journeys and sales cycles.
Sales pipelines are made up of demographic, market, country, etc. It is important to remember that sales teams can have multiple different sales pipeline stages that best suit their sales cycles. When the stages of your sales pipeline are aligned with your buyer journey, it ensures competent, targeted, and measurable content sharing practices.
When defining the crucial steps of your sales pipeline, it’s important for the whole team to grasp:
- Definable, measurable, and unique pipeline stages
- The average time a buyer expends on each stage
- What your prospects and expected leads are at each stage
Having an undeveloped, disorganized sales pipeline management process
When the sales pipeline management process is mismanaged, rushed, or underdeveloped, it costs organizations valuable time, effort, and money. Businesses risk disorganized and disjointed selling tools, incompatible standards for lead generation, and a disorderly process for prospective follow-ups can lead to:
- CRM data entry mistakes and errors
- Unwanted spam messages sent to buyers
- False and misleading information being sent to buyers
- Poor customer experience
- Lack of operational sales uniformity
It shouldn’t come as a surprise to find out that top-performing sales teams follow standardized processes. Standardized processes allow functional sales teams to scale operations and win over new business consistently. This means that it is crucial to devise rules and standardized processes for how sales enablement tools should be used, the specific standards for lead generation, and follow-ups.
Failing to use the appropriate tools to optimize sales pipeline management
Sales processes cannot be effectively maintained without powerful selling tools. The digital revolution takes advantage of autonomous tools that optimize sales pipeline management processes in a revolutionary way. Not taking advantage of these new opportunities can result in poor sales, stagnation, and eventual market share decline.
Having access to the right sales enablement technology helps to ensure efficient sales pipeline management, which fosters:
- Successful CRM integration
- Effective lead scores
- Automation of repetitive tasks
An efficient and autonomous sales pipeline management process negates the need for repetitive administrative tasks and promotes higher quality sales with more volume. Sales pipeline management can be further harmonized with the use of sales enablement technology, which helps marketing and sales teams to manage content, analyze data trends, increase scalability, and effectively oversee and scrutinize the entire sales pipeline and the buyers within.
Misalignment between marketing and sales
Marketing and sales teams need to be working together in order for effective sales pipeline management to take place. Aligned teams need to collaborate cross-departmentally to fully take advantage of potential leads and create effective, measurable sales content. Sales and marketing alignment is a shared communication system that evaluates the goals and strategies that enable sales and marketing to operate multilaterally.
When sales and marketing teams share information and work together, they can deliver high-quality marketing activities, increased sales cogency which leads to higher revenue and increased profit margins.
These are the best tools for sales and marketing alignment:
- A bespoke communication tool: Communication is critical when it comes to successful customer relationship management. Bespoke marketing and sales tools ensure effective communication on campaigns, events, customer-focused messaging, and content.
- Effective and efficient CRM operation: CRM software acts as an effective data management system that’s able to autonomously log phone calls, emails, and meeting data. This helps marketing teams to define how much effort has been given to a respective lead.
- Marketing automation: A marketing automation strategy uses software applications to automate monotonous, repetitive tasks associated with marketing. Social media posting, email marketing, and ad campaigns can all be self-regulated with marketing automation, which is not only more efficient but provides a more tailored, personalized customer experience.
Effective sales pipeline management gives businesses valuable insights into customer stages of the overall sales process. Businesses use this information to plan, design, and prepare for prospective sales deals. Sales pipelines keep sales teams and operations leaders on track by measuring performance against lead conversion rates. Pipeline management software is a core component of the sales process and is a visual representation that needs to be monitored, analyzed, and tweaked to ensure comprehensive sales health.
Establishing a healthy sales pipeline is only possible through careful assessment, evaluation, and introspective pipeline management. The sales pipeline isn’t just a tool for the sales ops team, but an instrument that helps align goals around revenue and profit margins across the entire sales organization.
The benefits of successful sales pipeline management are vast and provide businesses with invaluable opportunities for growth and development. These are the advantages of a distinguished sales pipeline management process:
- Streamlined sales processes
- Improved sales forecasting accuracy
- Better analysis and management of sales strategy
- More effective ability to review performance