3 years ago
January 6, 2015

3 Keys for Building a Sales Pipeline

Building sales pipeline success depends on the sales pipeline’s effectiveness, strength, and results.

Rhys Metler

You know what a sales pipeline is and you know that you have one, but how do you build and manage that pipeline to take your sales to the next level? Building sales pipeline success depends on the sales pipeline’s effectiveness, strength, and results, the three keys to building sales pipeline value. Take the first step towards building sales pipeline success for yourself by focusing on and managing these three keys to the sales pipeline.

Building Sales Pipeline Effectiveness: Maximize Your CRM System

The customer relationship management system you are using is only as useful as the information you put in. In other words, if you are putting in outdated, incomplete, or otherwise unhelpful data, the CRM will not be able to help you succeed. Yet consistently and properly updated CRM systems are one of the keys to building sales pipeline effectiveness. Make sure that you are using CRM to maximize results by:

  • Habitually and thoroughly updating the system with new leads, status on existing leads, and other information as it is acquired.
  • Avoiding removal of leads unless those leads are out of business or have requested no further contact. Leads that are unqualified and may be qualified later, or have said no but may be more open in the future, should be flagged with the appropriate time horizon for follow up.
  • Checking your CRM daily to guide your activities for prospecting, follow up, and scheduling, and updating your activities as you work.

Building Sales Pipeline Strength: Quality In, Quality Out

A large part of building sales pipeline strength – that is, ensuring that there are healthy numbers of leads, prospects, and closes in the pipeline at all times – rests on getting quality leads into your sales pipeline. Getting as many leads as possible may seem like the right idea, but you will probably find more success in maintaining and building sales pipeline strength if you focus on quality, rather than quantity, of leads. To do this, you can:

  • Start qualifying leads before you even make first contact, so that the contact you make can build on information you already have rather than starting at the beginning when you reach a live prospect.
  • Be realistic about prospects’ qualifications and readiness to buy. Over optimistic projections can harm your productivity and sales pipeline results.
  • Create standard processes for how and when you qualify and prospect for a system that can deliver you reliable results, every time.

Building Sales Pipeline Results: Know What You Need to Do to Reach Your Targets

If you want to reach your sales targets for the month, the quarter, and the year, you need a roadmap to get there. It is not enough to rely on your ability to sell and a constant stream of incoming leads; you need to know how many of each type of lead, prospect, and customer you need to have in your pipeline to reach your sales goals. This is easy to accomplish if you have been tracking your sales and activities over past periods.

  • Look at your quarterly performances and analyze how many leads you followed up on, how many of these were viable prospects, how many of these were presented, and how many of these closed.
  • Calculate averages for how long converted leads took you to close from the day the lead was initially entered to the day the contract was signed, categorizing these in ranges according to the contribution each made to your targets.
  • Use these numbers to determine how many new leads, calls, presentations, and closes you need to have in your pipeline every quarter to meet or beat your targets.

Building sales pipeline effectiveness, strength, and results depends on your ability and commitment to update and maintain your pipeline through various tracking activities. However, the time that you spend on these activities will pay you back with interest as your more targeted approach to selling using the sales pipeline yields results.

Rhys Metler

Rhys is a tenacious, top performing Senior Sales Recruiter with 11+ years of focused experience in the Digital Media, Mobile, Software, Technology and B2B verticals. He has a successful track record of headhunting top performing sales candidates for some of the most exciting brands in North America. He is a Certified Recruitment Specialist (CRS) and has expert experience in prospecting new business, client retention/renewals and managing top performing sales and recruitment teams. Rhys enjoys spending quality time with his wife, son, and two daughters, BBQing on a hot summer day, tropical vacations and cottaging.