Perhaps even more so than with B2C companies, a robust sales pipeline is essential for B2B businesses. It enables you to track your prospects as they move through the sales cycle towards (hopefully) a mutually beneficial outcome.
What is a Sales Pipeline?
The sales pipeline is your way of tracking where in the sales journey your prospects are. As certain actions are completed, such as arranging a one-on-one sales meeting, the prospect moves along the pipeline. Because every business is different, every sales pipeline should be unique and tailored to that business’ sales process.
The sales pipeline usually involves 5 stages:
Qualifying of leads
Building a relationship with your prospect
Making an offer and closing the sale
How to Build a Strong Pipeline
1. Start With Lead Generation and Prospecting
A good sales pipeline starts with the process of finding new leads (also known as prospecting). Some companies can get business leads through referrals but for most, networking and other forms of lead generation is vital to identify new prospects.
Looking out for opportunities through initiatives like networking and cold calling will help you organically introduce new prospects to your business.
2. Qualify Your Opportunities
Once you have identified potential clients for your business, you can direct your efforts towards those most likely to convert. This involves qualifying new leads and focusing the attention of your sales reps to take action in the most effective way.
3. Reach Out and Build a Relationship With Your Prospect
After you’ve qualified your leads, the next step is contacting them. Depending on your business, this can look like setting up a sales meeting or scheduling a demo to showcase your service.
During this stage, it’s important to treat the prospect with the future in mind. Establish a relationship by building rapport or organically engaging with their work. This can entail interacting with LinkedIn posts, listening to queries or concerns, or answering any questions. The more your prospective client feels like you genuinely have their best interests at heart, the more likely they are to stick around and sign a deal.
4. Make an Offer to Your Prospect
When you feel your prospect has enough information on your business, make your case for how your offering will be able to help them. Whether it’s an official partnership or just the beginning of a negotiation, initiate the conversation toward the sign-on process.
Top tip: When making your offer, try to draw attention to your unique selling proposition and features that sets your business apart from your competitors.
5. Nail the Closing
The final stage in the sales pipeline is the conversion. This is where prospects who know and understand your offering become your clients.
It is important to make sure your customer feels secure in their decision. Keep communication clear and active as you make the sale and maintain a dialogue afterwards. This starts the working relationship on the right foot and will help retain their business in the future.
Bonus: Keep Adding Leads to your Pipeline
Even if you’re on track to hit your sales quota, it’s important to continue prospecting. If you consistently have quality leads coming into your sales pipeline, you’re more likely to enjoy healthy sales throughout the year. Not only will this make sure you continue to hit your targets, but it will also help you scale up with more customers and opportunities introduced to your business.
The Right Software for your Sales Pipeline
The right software will make tracking your sales, and analysing your prospects and conversions a breeze. Clarity Software offers powerful tools with excellent estimating software so that you can quote for small business and large corporations with efficiency and accuracy. We offer two products: cloud-based (Clarity Go) and on-premises (Clarity Pro).
With CRM, sales tracking, price management, and seamless integration with other platforms, you can offer your prospects quick quotes and reports without worrying about over-quoting or undercharging. Find out more.