HOW TO BUILD A SALES PIPELINE
Let’s say if you start a business from scratch, you must have a model or strategy that can be scalable in the market. So that the extra hours of work can be escaped and you can save lots of time and money. One of the most effective ways of doing this is by creating a tool called sales pipeline.
SALES PIPELINE :
Sales pipeline is a visual representation of sales prospects i.e., progress from a new lead to a customer. Once each step is completed, the prospect is advanced to the next stage.This journey wouldn’t be random, as you will be directing each step. How?. Some pipelines are simple, but few are sophisticated and detailed, there are general rules which could be applied to particular business.
Unlike Sales pipeline, Sales funnel focuses on the set of actions taken, it represents the quantity and the conversion rates of prospects through your sales pipeline.
So it is Important thing is that you can influence the number of prospects that passes through each stage of sales pipelines and reach the bottom. In reality, we can see your sales funnel will look way narrower like a pipe. Still, sales won’t happen spontaneously. It is a structured way of turning the unaware group of people into our customers.
STAGES OF SALES PIPELINE :
● AWARENESS :
The First step is to let know the potential customers that you exist. Your primary concern is to put yourself in front of your audience rather than having sales as your motive. The classic examples are the advertisements - every attention seeking things that makes your offer visible to the audience. When we talk about B2B there are so many platforms for creating awareness like Linkedin Ads, Google ads, SEO, Social media platforms, Content Marketing and Email Marketing etc.
The result is people will know that you exist in the market and ideally they’ll know how are they benefited by your offer.
● INTEREST :
Now people know about your existence, but they must have reasons to come and buy your product. This process is called as Lead Generation. In simple words Lead Generation is the early stages of the sales, it involves collecting information about your potential customers - In B2B lead Generation includes names, email ids, company names and job titles etc.
Just reaching out them with emails and latest news updates wouldn’t help anymore.They must see the value and the benefit through your offer - grabbing their interest, creating needs, building trust and engaging with the audience will work according to the study - Neuromarketing Technique .
● DECISION/AGREEMENT :
Your Customer is on the same page now. But that doesn’t mean the deal is closed, unfortunately the sale is yet to be made.The objective here is to make them say Yes to your offer. So you need to create an offer that they will be unable to resist it.
Things like discounts or a favourable complimentary, Free trials and demos etc.
● ACTION :
At this step your customer must be ready to close the deal. You might think why this is all of a separate step? Because closing a deal might be a pain to the customers, you might also lose a customer at this final stage because of various reasons.
Your task is to keep each step simple and have a check-out system that would work without hindrance. The result of this step should be a win-win situation, a happy customer who will also spread the word.
Mentioning the sales pipeline instead of sales funnel is because to understand that you will initially lose potential clients in each level, your task is to lose fewer number in each stage as possible. You might also want to break the steps to have a smooth and effective sales process depending on the industry.
STRATEGIES FOR BUILDING SALES PIPELINE :
Your Strategies will slightly correspond to the above stages that I have described. The main goal here is not just to make a sale, but to create a happy customer experience and turn them into loyal ambassadors.
● RESEARCH :
Targeting a blind audience is ineffective, so you must become aware of your audience first. You might neglect this step but this is so important that it will reduce half of your work, even Google has its target audience.
When you know who is your target audience you must also know their needs, what do they expect, what are the platforms they prefer and after knowing this how to position yourself as a brand in a unique way. This must be accordingly done based on which industry it is.
● CREATING CUSTOMER FRIENDLY PRODUCT OR SERVICE :
Now all your target audience share many common traits, but still it is discrete in nature. You can't address each and every individual, but all you can do is try to be better than one-size-fits-all. And here comes the point of lead generation you have reached your audience using various other platforms as I have explained about Lead Generation above.
● ENGAGEMENT :
So, you have got the attention of your audience now. It is your time to entertain and engage - contents, reviews and guides, valuable blog posts, case studies and infographics. Trying anything that would keep your audience engaged.
Once you have done with your research you’ll have an idea what content will work best. As you’ll have direct feedbacks and responses you can tweak the strategies accordingly.
● CONVERSION :
At this point, your audience has developed sufficient interest in your product and you have to give that final push to close the deal.
Make your sales stage as simple, without any clutter that may distract your potential client. Create a small strategy with few features according to the industry so that you would have a structure.
So as your business grows, you will know more about your audience or you’ll change your product and services, you will need to bring changes in the strategies and it is absolutely okay. It is not a one shot process it, it’s a work in progress, yet once you have a working model, it gets much easier to improve as you go.
Business Development Executive @Jb Nithin
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