Knowledge Exchange is a weekly series of educational articles that we encourage you to share and discuss with your colleagues and network. This month, we’re offering advice for successfully selling your services.
Being great at sales requires a unique set of gifts. But if you’ve been focusing on improving your sales skills, you may be neglecting the origin of each sale: your pipeline.
Here, we’ll discuss the biggest mistake SMBs make in managing their sales pipelines and how to bulk yours up so it can be a steady source of new business.
A leaky or insufficient pipeline is often caused by a lack of awareness around how large it needs to be. Many business owners and sales leaders underestimate the number of opportunities they have to have to meet their revenue goals.
The rule of 3
To avoid pipeline underestimation, you need to maintain a pipeline that’s 3X the number of sales you aim to achieve. This accounts for the natural mid-sale attrition rate, which can be over 80% depending on your industry.
TIP: Look at the current size of your pipeline. Compare it to your quarterly revenue goal and determine whether the rule of three checks out. If not, it’s time to ramp up your prospecting efforts and generate more qualified leads.
To maintain a healthy pipeline, you need to first examine how you sell. Each stage of the sales process should act as a milestone in the buyer’s journey, propelling the deal from initial contact to close. By identifying and analyzing your stages, you may discover that they need to be fleshed out or better defined.
Close rates are a key indicator of how well your sales flow from one stage to another — and where they might be dropping off. Knowing where you stand helps you assess the effectiveness of incremental change and forecast future revenue more accurately. Plus, understanding which stages have higher or lower close rates makes it easier to wisely allocate resources and pinpoint bottlenecks.
TIP: Take the time to analyze your sales data and calculate conversion rates at each stage. Use these to create benchmarks, set realistic goals and develop strategies to improve. One effective strategy is to apply the power of trigger automations in Accelo.
A well-defined sales process highlights the steps you need to take to move a prospect through the pipeline. It’s a roadmap to consistently won deals.
To define your process, follow these four steps:
TIP: Find a tried-and-true sales methodology that aligns with your business values and goals. Even if you don’t have a dedicated sales team, it’s important to create systems around this vital stage of your prospect relationships.
Knowing you’re going after your true ICP, understanding your sales process, accurately assessing the size of your pipeline and setting clear goals will keep your pipeline full and fresh. Develop a data-driven approach using the actionable tips above, and you’ll contribute to a steady stream of revenue growth.
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