Think of your new sales pipeline as a map, complete with well-considered stages, and you won’t go wrong.
Mapping the route
A sales pipeline can be imagined as being a road journey from one fixed point to another. On the road you must pass through a certain number of towns in order to reach your destination. There are many routes you can take, and many towns through which you can pass – it’s up to you to decide which route is best for you.
Creating your sales pipeline – or sales funnel – is akin to plotting that route. There are many factors you must take into account.
Firstly, planning too many stages to your pipeline (more than 6 is not advisable) is like having to navigate too many towns, with too much traffic; it makes your sales team’s life more arduous and with slower results – if indeed they don’t get lost along the way that is. Too few stages or towns (let’s say two or less) doesn’t allow you to fully analyse the journey for the next time you have to make it – or appreciate the view along the way.
Don’t plan too many stops on the way
The expert route-planners tend to agree that two stages are too few and more than six are too many.
This is where the real value of planning your sales pipeline management, using a CRM like Teamgate, really leads the race for results. The route becomes clear, the goals you set yourself and your team are easily read and understood, your communications become easy to manage and the results of each of your sales pipeline stages are there to be analysed in simple, understandable maps.
But, before you set off on your journey you must understand the problems you face and intuitively design and map the correct pipeline stages which you hope will resolve these problems.
These problems could entail:
- Who are your potential customers and how do you contact them?
- Arranging meetings and communicating with leads in the process of converting the lead to a deal.
- Doing the sales work with the deal.
- Closing the deal – win or lose.
- Making payment.
The more you know the easier the route
It’s helpful to be aware of your customer’s buying habits in order to avoid too many, or too few, stages to your pipeline. Their decision-making process, their requirements regarding pricing, proposals, favoured communication methods, and more. All this information will allow you to map, more accurately, the route to the sale. The more information you possess (hence it’s not advisable to have less than three stages) the easier it is to analyse your results and to use these results wisely in accordance with predicting your targets and goals.
Setting goals while moving your deals through the stages is vitally important. These goals will help you further understand the strengths and pain-points of your sales funnel stages and keep the deal moving.
A clear visual map of your sales pipeline stages – created in your CRM, and organised according to the needs of your sales team – will help you reach your destination quicker, more easily, and with less chance of getting lost along the way.
If you want to reach your destination, make sure to plan well in advance.