Before we jump to what a clean sales pipeline is, let’s first recall the purpose of the sales pipeline itself.
A sales pipeline is a visual representation of sales prospects and where they are in the purchasing process.
Pipelines also provide an overview of a sales rep’s account forecast and how close he is to making quota. It also shows how close a sales team (as a whole) is to reaching quota.
That’s how important the sales pipeline is! And as with anything sales-y, it has got to be neat, clean and concise, not just as a mark of manners and respect towards clients, but to keep the business itself moving ahead across all stages of the sales process.
The Benefits of a Clean Sales Pipeline:
- Well designed from the get-go
- Delivers an uncluttered view of sales opportunities through all stages
- Shows which opportunities will deliver and which are going nowhere
- Identifies bottlenecks
- Manages all communications between clients and the sales team
- Offers insights into present and future predictions
Keeping the sales pipeline clean:
There are a good many free and excellent CRM tools that can help you achieve all of the following practices in keeping your sales pipeline clean and efficient.
- Limited stages
Ensure your CRM doesn’t use too many stages. Use a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 6 stages. This helps it stay simple, efficient, and readily easy to analyse.
A good CRM pipeline will have 3 to 6 stages.
Next make sure each stage is thoroughly considered and designed based on the goals of problem solving. Your pipeline should be able to show you:
– the optimal amount of time an opportunity remains at a certain stage
– insights into the communication history
– remaining actions to be taken
– answers to problems
A good CRM pipeline will allow you to easily and instantly change the status of deals, contact details and communications.
- Blockages removed
Stagnant or sluggish leads cause blockages. And because they aren’t going anywhere, they tend to waste your time and resources. If unchecked, they can cause problematic bottlenecks. Constantly inspect your sales management CRM, cutting out leads that remain dormant in one stage past the regular amount of time. These have no potential and aren’t worth the hassle.
A good CRM pipeline will alert you to deals that have sat idle in the pipeline for too long. They make it easy to analyse by offering information on the best time frame that a deal can remain in one stage, and whether it has been won or lost.
- Organised communications
The pipeline works based on the information fed into it. If the data is not updated or incorrect, it will produce the wrong report. It is vital that the sales team keeps the CRM software updated on all communication related data – e-mails, calls, shared files, meetings, notes etc. When the communication in all stages of the pipeline is managed carefully, you will be able to pull up any vital information at any time and be confident about its accuracy.
A good CRM pipeline will manage all sales opportunities as well as their information once captured, and neatly organise all communication history from individuals and companies.
You can create a clean design by creating a sales pipeline that caters to the specific needs and individual requirements of your company. You have to understand what outcomes you seek and what you want the pipeline to help you with in order to design the sales CRM. If you have faced certain problems in the past, for instance the loss of lead opportunities because of a communication problem, then take care to address that problem in all the stages you create, so it can offer you solutions from the outset.
A good CRM pipeline will offer analytical insight, so you can learn from each stage of the sales process and use that knowledge to gain an edge in the future.
When your sales pipeline is clear, you can use your CRM software to keep moving forward through all stages, whether it is sourcing leads, managing communications cleverly, positioning deals, or just using the intuitive and analytical abilities of the CRM.
And with all that, your sales team is stronger better equipped and empowered to go out there and convert the right leads!