How to Build a Bigger Sales Pipeline with Greater Efficiency
The job of a salesperson may look easy to outsiders because they only see the closing of the sale. They don’t see everything that went into it, including making that customer a part of their pipeline. The time from initial contact to final sale can take weeks or months, requiring a great deal of hard work and patience.
Some sales industry experts argue that understanding how to build pipeline is the most important aspect of the job. This is easy to understand when considering that it would be impossible to close a deal if the customer had not been a part of the salesperson’s pipeline first. That means all salespeople can benefit from tips on how to build a stronger pipeline.
Understand the Value of Each Stage in the Sales Pipeline
Most sales pipelines follow these five stages:
- Prospecting for new clients
- Qualifying a client to determine if he or she is a good fit for the organization
- Creating a custom proposal
- Making the sale
- Repeat sales from the same customer
Evaluating efficiency at each stage in the pipeline is essential to its long-term success. For example, taking too long to qualify leads stalls the rest of the process and costs the company revenue. The sales representative needs to take a strategic approach to planning each stage. A good example of this is determining whether a prospect is prepared to make a purchase or requires more nurturing before reaching that point.
Never Underestimate the Power of LinkedIn
LinkedIn isn’t just for people looking for new jobs. It’s also an excellent resource for sales professionals searching for future prospects to add to their pipeline. Spending time on the site each week identifying prospects by company, industry, or location is an excellent way for salespeople to uncover those who may be interested in the products or services their company has to sell. LinkedIn recently released a statement that salespeople searching for new business exceed their quota by more than 50 percent each month when they use the platform to find prospects.
Develop as a Thought Leader
People are more willing to buy from names they already know and trust. That means the salesperson needs to get his or her name out there as a thought leader by writing blog posts, participating in discussion groups, and having an active social media presence. The goal should be for others to look at the sales representative as a trustworthy source of knowledge and not someone pushing them to buy.
Create a Strong Sense of Sales Conviction
In simplest terms, conviction in sales means that the prospect senses enthusiasm and genuine trust in the sales representative. He or she comes across as confident enough to make specific recommendations by evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of the customer’s current business model. This allows the high-performing sales representative to present a vision of a better future for the company that involves using the products or services he or she has to sell.
Conviction is not pushiness as the latter comes from a place of insecurity rather than the confidence of knowing this solution is right for everyone involved. Although it takes time to develop conviction, it will eventually become a vital part of the sales representative’s pipeline.