Most sales pipelines are really sales drains wasting effort and money with inconsistent and poor activity!
With a background in sales my approach to business has always been to focus on the sales process first.
If necessary, sell it first and then figure out how to deliver it!
Too many companies focus on process and not sales and so make several fundamental mistakes that can truly hurt the growth and even survival of the business.
A sales pipeline is simply a process of looking at how business comes through the door. In most businesses this is the process:
1) Create awareness
2) Connect with prospects
3) Create a need
4) Close the sale
5) Deliver the product or service
6) Put the money in the bank
The absolute essential element to a robust sales pipeline and, by extension, strong sales growth is the quality of the activity that generates the prospects. The more awareness created, the more leads. The higher the quality of the awareness the higher quality the leads generated.
In most businesses the buying cycle takes up to about three months to filter through the sales pipeline. If you do nothing this week you will feel the pain in about three months. The problem with this is that businesses that don’t activity keep the pipeline full end up using short-term solutions to full the gaps in the pipeline. Too many businesses will pump up spending on Google Ad Words or cut prices to make the phone ring when efforts on marketing and outbound selling have not been strong enough to generate the results needed.
This erodes margins and brand value over time.
This is a major problem with small businesses where the owner is doing the work of the business and the lead generation – a consultant or a designer is a prime example. When the business is busy nobody is selling and then when the projects are complete there are no new clients. The rollercoaster boom and bust cycle becomes a way of life and is deadly to a business.
Never stop selling!
Be consistent on your social media, networking, marketing, paid ads, blogs and direct sales! Spend the same amount of time on these activities no matter how busy you are even if this means using a subcontractor for your work. This is essential to building your business and getting out of the roller coaster cycle.
There are skills, tools and tricks to developing a vibrant and robust sales pipeline – take the time to learn the sales process and commit to making it happen for your business!
1) Social media if done correctly will draw hundreds of visitors a day to your web site. Know how to do more than just tweet!
2) Learn how what networking events suit your goals and how to prepare to get the best results.
3) Learn how very inexpensive SEO tools can keep you on the top of the page! Don’t waste your money on things you don’t understand.
4) Learn how to get thousands of followers and connection and leverage them for referrals and increased business.
5) Learn how to conduct an outbound selling program that fits your business and personal style to connect with target businesses!
Keep your pipeline full and you will never be concerned about the growth of your business. A full pipeline will deliver a predictable revenue stream and the ability to adjust your marketing mix ahead of the curve to adjust for market changes.