At any time in a business, you need to know how many deals are on the table, how many qualified leads you have, the average size of these deals, the number of proposals out there, the number of deals closed, and the time it takes to process sales leads. You can have excellent salespeople, a brilliant product range, and a great team of creative, marketing, distribution or other product delivery departments, but still find you lack a clear idea of how to manage your sales pipeline.
Having the metrics on hand is a critical to assessing whether your sales machine is functioning at full health – how many leads should you have? How big should they be? What percentage are being converted? How quickly are we qualifying leads? And how does all this affect our revenue?
Sales pipeline management is all about diagnostics – imagine you are not qualifying leads properly; that may lead either to a reduction in the value of the deal, which in turn could result in over-use of resources for little return, or it may lead to a drop in the number of deals closed. Or imagine instead that while you have excellent lead qualification, and high value deals, not enough of them are converting into sales – so your percentage of leads to conversion has dropped.
Being able to critically analyse and diagnose where in your sales pipeline there is an anomaly is a major factor in being able to make tweaks to your sales process. For example, you might identify that you have some inexperience in qualifying leads in your sales team – and diagnose some training. You might discover your salespeople are struggling to pull other departments in to critical meetings (ie technical managers, brand experts, a ‘gravitas’ presence) and this is affecting their ability to convert quality leads into signed contracts – so you undertake a drive to engage the whole company in your sales vision so non-salespeople are willing to play the role of on-hand expert in high-level meetings. You might see that the size of the deals is not high enough and schedule some stategies to re-think your target markets or target contacts.
We at Shoodan have vast experience in setting up and managing pipelines; they are the lifeblood of the sales machine and we know that if one of the stages of the sales process is in trouble, it will affect all the others. We can come in and help you set up a Sales Pipeline, give you a handle on the metrics of your sales pipeline, communicate it to your teams, and show you the signs to look out for to keep the machine working at full capacity.