How to Build a Strong Pipeline

Do you want to finish 2018 strong and make 2019 your best year so far? Do you already know your number for 2019? For many sales managers, the new targets for next year are often larger than the year before.

No matter the size or the industry of your organization, the need to have a solid pipeline is something that all salespersons have in common. Unfortunately, most potential customers are not ready to close down deals immediately. That means that building and maintaining a pipeline is vital.

Nothing is worse than closing a series of deals … only to realize that you have neglected the top of the funnel and there is nothing left in the pipeline.

Now, the questions you must ask are whether your team is equipped to achieve next year’s goal. What is the status of your pipeline as you prepare to start the new year?

To assess your pipeline where it stands, you need to know the following:

  • How many deals are there and how much are they worth?
  • Have they qualified well and is your team proactively monitoring them?
  • How many new deals are entering the pipeline each month and how long does it take a percentage of them to move from an initial conversation to the next stage of conversion?

At the end of this article, you should have a much clearer idea about how healthy – or not – your 2019 pipeline is.

Consider the following 6 strategies to build a strong pipeline for 2019.

Keep the Control

Sales is a continuous process and the terms are such that you need to prospect and close clients repeatedly. The sales process is endless. So, how to keep the process under your control?

The more managerial control and visibility you’ve got on your sales pipeline, the more revenue you’ll bring in. Keep adding opportunities in your pipeline, the more likely you are to reach or exceed your revenue goals.

Cultivating a healthy pipeline is possible through careful evaluation and management.

Build a strong database

If you want a solid sales pipeline, a solid database is a must. And a solid database comes from a mix of customers. In an ideal database, of every 10 clients, 1-2 clients will be large key accounts, 3-4 clients will be mediocre, while 3-4 clients will be the usual ones and the repeat ones. The reason for such division is that large key accounts take a long time to close.

Good customers equal Healthy prospects. And thus, better rate of conversion in your pipeline.

Work backward from your target

Firstly, look again at your 2019 target. Break that number down into quarters.

When you think about this number, use the CRM data to calculate your usual conversion rate over a 12-month period, and the time it usually takes to convert a new customer. Now you should be able to estimate approximately how many conversations your team should have in January to reach the goal at the beginning of the year.
Revisit old customers

Another idea to keep the sales pipeline solid is to revisit old customers. Assuming you have products that have a limited shelf life, then revisiting old customers will always keep your conversion updated. This is because the old customers will need the product again after a certain time and they will also close the deals quicker because they have already used your products.

Ask for referrals

Generating additional revenue from an existing client is often about to be easier than winning a new customer.

When it comes to finding new businesses, it is first worth checking this network. New customers are more likely to trust you when your company has been recommended by those in your network. Is your team actively soliciting references from each client? If not, now is the time to start.

Don’t waste a new opportunity

When you need to generate new sales, speed and time is everything. Although you cannot control how quickly a prospect responds, you can control how quickly proposals are sent and when meetings are organized. Be proactive.

Another way to accelerate the sales cycle is to jump into a live demo call when a prospect indicates interest. As long as you have the time, what better way to demonstrate how your solution can solve the challenges you are dealing with than through an instant exploratory consultation call?

In this way, you can qualify the prospect more quickly, they can ask the questions they need and should reduce the time it takes to make a decision.

In conclusion, for any business, getting enough prospects in the pipeline for the upcoming year is a challenge.

The last thing you want is to drift through 2019 with an empty sales pipeline. Following the above strategies should give help you master your pipeline and give you a new influx of prospects.

How do you build your sales pipeline & tackle your targets? Share your comments below.

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