Sales’ plays a pivotal role in running a successful business. They are imperative for businesses of all sizes to make profitable revenue. Can you imagine the existence of any business without having a single sale? No? You cannot because sales have become the lifeline of every business.
Previously, there was no tough competition among businesses. Customers used to approach businesses to buy a company product and/or service. For example: If a person is planning to buy a car, he or she will go and meet the car dealer or a car salesman to gain valuable information on what car to buy in addition to what car will better suits their needs. At first, the car dealer will typically ask a few simple and personal questions to the buyer such as their average income, profession, age, size of the family, typical daily routine, etc., in order to draw a rough estimation of the reasons he or she is buying a car, and how they would like to use the car. Later, the car dealer uses this information to customize his sales pitch as well as to offer information on various cars that can meet the buyer’s standards, guiding them in making the right decision on which car to buy. Here, in this situation, the customer is directly approaching companies to buy a product and/or service.
However, in this technology-driven day and age, the buying patterns have completely changed. Businesses have become increasingly competitive. In the market, you will find thousands of companies competing to sell a similar product. Take cosmetic products for example; in the market, you can find different companies offering the same cosmetic products with various brand names. On an everyday basis, one new company is rolling out in the market with innovative products and solutions.
Moreover, to attract the attention of a wide range of audience groups, businesses are coming out with compelling offers and discounts. Therefore, it has become much easier for customers’ to choose a business product. However, companies need to act intelligently to stay on top of the game. They need to manage their sales wisely and must track and nurture them properly.
Today, every business is acquiring new leads. However, managing and nurturing the lead and finally converting the lead into a successful sale are not an easy job; it has become a cumbersome task and it will ultimately stay in the hands of sales and marketing team. Businesses should take the advantage of innovative technological solutions where they can manage, nurture, and keep a track of sales progress effectively.
Sales pipeline management is an ideal solution for businesses of various sizes to track the sales progress at every stage, visualize the sales cycle, streamline the sales process, as well as optimize the open sales opportunities. However, to effectively manage the sales pipeline, business should take the best advantage from CRM software.
What is the Sales Pipeline?
The sales pipeline is a step-by-step visual representation of your companies’ complete sales process. It comprises of various steps that your sales representatives take in order to close a deal successfully as well as to acquire a new customer. This includes initial customer contact, qualifying a new lead into an opportunity, arranging a product demo, creating a quote/proposal, negotiating the price, as well as closing the sale.
How Can CRM Help You in Managing the Sales Pipeline?
The sales pipeline is the most incredible feature available in CRM system. Make the best use of CRM software to move your sales quickly at a faster pace as well as to maximize your sales potential. However, the number of the sales cycles or sales stages may vary from company to a company. But generally, a sales process consists of the five main sales stages:
1st Stage: Initial Contact- In this stage, a new lead enters into your company’s sales pipeline. Your marketing or sales team will first contact your new lead through cold calling or cold emailing process. This initial sales contact is imperative for every business to understand – how much your prospect is showing an interest in learning more about your business and what it will offer.
2nd Stage: Lead Qualification- Here, the qualified lead can be further divided into the two different stages: marketing qualified and sales qualified. A marketing qualified lead shows an interest in having further discussion with your company’s sales representatives whereas, the sales qualified lead moves further down into the buying cycle and might be ready to take an initial demo.
Based on the lead scoring system, lead’s interest as well as the consideration of the lead’s budget, authority to make a buying decision, and the timeline to purchase a product; a company can convert a sales qualified lead into an opportunity
3rd Stage: Schedule a Demo- Once a lead is successfully qualified for a sales opportunity, it will further move down the sales pipeline. And one of your sales representatives needs to contact the lead in order to schedule a demo. This can be an initial demo or a demo of the key decision makers. However, this is the perfect chance for a company to sell the business product. A wise preparation and research are a few imperative components to impress your prospects and to move further down the funnel line.
4th Stage: Proposal Submission- Once your prospect is satisfied with your company’s product demo, and then he/she will express an interest in buying your business products and/or services as well as becoming your customer. Now, it’s time for your business to prepare a quote and send your proposal price. If your prospect is happy with your proposed price, then he/ she will immediately buy your company’s product and/or services. However, if the prospect is not happy with your proposed price, then further discussions must take place back and forth. In this stage, you could add an additional step in the sales pipeline process known as price negotiation.
5th Stage: Close a Deal- A business deal will be signed successfully once your prospect is extremely happy with your proposed price. After a successful deal closure, a new customer-business relationship begins. And now, it’s time for your business to work on transforming the customer relationship into a strong bonding through nurturing the customers’ as well as making them happy and satisfied. This will ultimately extend the lifetime value of your customers’.
The sales pipeline management is an effective solution for businesses to manage sales successfully, increase customer satisfaction, streamline business processes, maximize sales results, develop effective sales strategies, and keep your sales personnel on track.