Sales are at the heart of every business. They are the lifeblood of every organization. You may have the most innovative product in the market, offer the best service in your industry- but if you don’t capitalize on your best assets, if you don’t increase sales, your organization won’t get every far. Because, as the saying goes, “nothing happens until someone sells something.”

Unlike most big firms who have huge budgets dedicated to the sales department, small and medium-sized companies have to come up with innovative solutions. After all, they don’t have the luxury of spending huge amounts of money on their sales efforts. Fortunately, the market is awash with simple-to-use, effective software solutions. A CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system can help organizations manage their customers and employees, boost sales and offer an amazing customer experience. Done the right way, a CRM can take your business to another whole new level.

Sales are of paramount importance to any business, that’s why having a deep understanding of all the sales processes can help your company in the long run. After all, staying in business for as long as possible is what companies aim for. In order to make the most of your CRM (if you already have one), it helps to get the fundamentals of a sales pipeline right. At its heart, a sales pipeline is a clear, visual representation of leads progressing through different stages of the buying cycle. It is perhaps the most helpful tool for sales reps and managers within an organization. Used the proper way, a sales pipeline can save you time, money and energy. Furthermore, it can help you make faster and better decisions.

You might be asking yourself, “What are the building blocks of a sales pipeline?” While there’s no silver bullet for success in maximizing sales efforts, you can always benefit from solid advice on the main building blocks of a sales pipeline. Below are some of the things you might want to take into consideration when building a sales pipeline:

Assess the situation and take action accordingly

Say you have hundreds and thousands of leads into your database. How do you qualify them? Do you have a clear sales strategy? Is your sales pipeline up to the challenge? Answering these questions is crucial. Clarity is power. A solid and effective sales pipeline helps you manage your customers in the best way possible. Asses your current situation carefully and take action. For example, you may have thousands of prospective customers but you struggle in figuring out a way to turn them into a contact or into an account. To solve this, you may want to nurture your leads with personalized content. A CRM does this automatically, without you having to struggle with sending emails or newsletters to your potential customers.

Figure out ways to engage with your leads

Establishing a solid relationship with someone you barely know is a hard task, but it’s the only way to get your message across, to tell your story. Likewise, reaching out to thousands of leads and turning them into loyal customers is difficult- but it’s possible. Depending on the level of engagement of your leads with your company, you may employ various strategies to further solidify your sales pipeline. For example, you may send personalized content that might be of interest to your leads based on prior interaction. If you have had some engagement in the past, you may want to check on them through email, phone, or social. It’s important for you to keep communication constant. Remember, leads (which may be individuals or companies) are human, too.

Build clear and effective sales stages

A solid sales pipeline goes a long way. To make the most of the CRM, you ought to have a customized sales pipeline. You may have thousands of prospective customers, but unless you build clear sales stages, you won’t capitalize on them. How can you accomplish that? For starters, you may build stages for your sales cycle.  A solid sale pipeline might goes like this: qualified to buy -> presentation scheduled –> appointment scheduled –> invoice sent -> called for confirmation –> won or lost. It’s very important to attach a percentage to each of the sales stages because you need a clear picture of the overall sales pipeline. What is more, by attaching percentages to each of the stages you can focus on the right leads.

Deal stages

Building stages for deals is of paramount importance for every organization because it not only allows them to manage their leads effectively, but it also helps them make sales predictions based on their interaction with prospective customers. For concrete examples and to know more about the importance of deal stages, please check our resource page.

Keep tinkering with different tactics and strategies, but make sure to build a customized sales pipeline. Sometimes you may have to change your approach, and that is totally OK. After all, embracing change is what success is all about. Once you have a solid sales pipeline, you free time for other activities and task such as improving customer experience, boosting sales and becoming a leader in your industry.

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