There are several processes that make (or break) a business. Perhaps the most important of these is the process that goes into your marketing and sales pipeline. This is where your leads turn into customers, where your mainly revenue comes from.
Your marketing and sales pipeline refers to the stages that your sales rep goes through to convert a lead into a customer. It is separate from the sales funnel such that the pipeline sums up all the customer sales funnels. It is a visualization of where things really are, in terms of sales, and what’s being done at each stage.
It is typically made up of the following stages:
- Lead generation
- Lead nurturing
- Lead qualification as marketing-qualified or sales-qualified
- Deal closing
In a way, your sales pipeline represents the health of your sales life cycles.
Are you dealing with a clogged system, wherein the average sales cycle takes too long?
Do you lose a lot of leads as they go through the pipeline?
At which stages of your pipeline do the process stall?
A thorough examination of your sales pipeline can reveal areas in your sales and marketing that need to improve. Thus, it is important to regularly draft pipeline reports that show deal quantity and value per stage. This is data that’s crucial if you want to better pipeline management.
Sales Pipeline VS. Sales Funnel
Your sales funnel captures your buyer’s journey. It represents the actions they take that move them from awareness to making a purchase.
The funnel has helped determine steps that you need to take to improve your content marketing, follow-ups and such, at its different stages. Knowing where your prospects are, you can provide them with the information and push they need to move them further down the funnel and eventually towards buying from you.
The sales pipeline, on the other hand, maps the actions taken by sales reps. It is the sales cycle from the rep’s point of view. To them, it is not about moving from awareness to conversion. To them, it is about getting the leads, qualifying them and eventually closing the deal.
The overlap lies in the leads. Are the actions at each stage of the pipeline effective enough to move majority of the leads down the sales funnel and through the pipeline?
Market research company Forrester found that 99% of leads never gets converted as customers. If you observe this in your sales pipeline, then it’s time to take a closer look and tweak where necessary.
Why Focus on Pipeline Marketing
Until recently, when the power of CRM and data put a lot of guesswork on the wayside, lead generation was the metric that determined your sales pipeline’s success. If you have a lot a leads, then you can potentially close a lot of deals.
We know that this is actually not true. There are several stages within your pipeline that need attention too as these might be the weak links that cause lead leakage. We should no longer focus on quantity – quality is more important.
Source:: Business 2 Community