What Makes a Healthy Sales Pipeline?
Having a sales pipeline with insights into where leads are in your sales cycle is great, but it doesn’t necessarily mean your pipeline is healthy. Once you have a robust pipeline, are you still focused on filling it, nurturing it, and moving leads ahead? Once a pipeline is full, many sales reps will focus only on working active deals. This mistake creates a gap in productivity, where there needs to be consistent, ongoing prospecting, whether that’s from an inside team or outsourced help. A healthy pipeline has a mix of new leads and those in active opportunities so reps must continually focus on infusing new qualified sales leads or the it will eventually dry up.
Never Stop Prospecting
As a sales rep, you must avoid getting so focused on one area that you neglect other vital parts of the funnel. Otherwise, sales prospecting can become the most significant issue in your pipeline. If prospecting stops, then the size of your customer base will suffer, and thus, you’ll have nowhere to turn during slower times.
Instead, you should systematically focus on generating leads through a combination of channels, including phone, email, or social media. We certainly aren’t suggesting you neglect your active opportunities! Rather, it’s about focusing on the ENTIRE pipeline to ensure it remains robust.
How to Create a Prospecting Plan
The goal behind thorough, ongoing sales prospecting is to have a balanced pipeline filled with a variety of opportunity levels. Sales reps are typically skilled at closing but hesitant to prospect because, let’s face it, prospecting is tedious. It’s hard work and dedicate blocks of time each day to creating new leads or converting existing leads in first conversations. Here are some tips for creating an effective prospecting plan:
- Think about specific audiences: When developing your messaging, do so based on specific audiences.
- Revisit past prospects: Reconnect with old opportunities that may not have had the budget at the time but maybe in a better position now. Go back to first conversations that had potential, but perhaps the lead went dark. Or the company really needed your solution but wasn’t able to pull the trigger. People move jobs all the time and your prospect could have gone somewhere else–and their replacement might be more open to continuing that conversation.
- Locate prospects who have moved jobs: If your prospect understood your value but couldn’t get the decision-makers on board, they are likely open to discussing your solution for their new company. This happens ALL the time at FRONTLINE Selling.
- Set daily achievable goals: Set a goal for how many prospects you’ll reach out to each day, then dedicate time in your calendar and stick to it. It may not be the most fun part of your agenda but creating a structure for yourself will make a significant impact over time.
- Follow up more times than you normally would: You’ve heard stats about how most reps fail to follow up more than 1-2 times. This is a recipe for an anemic pipeline! If you’ve done a good job of choosing your target accounts, there’s an excellent chance the prospects are experiencing challenges you can solve. Believe that your follow up is crucial to their success! They need you, but don’t wake up in the morning thinking they need to buy from you. So help them out.
- Utilize social media: Beef up your social media efforts. Consistently connecting and engaging with prospects on social media is a prospecting must these days. Follow individuals and companies and engage with their posts by leaving insightful comments. This action creates valuable awareness of you and your company. Dedicate between 15 and 30 minutes each day, every day. Why? Consistency is the key.
Ultimately, when prospecting becomes a habit, your business will reap the benefits. So, jump back into prospecting by evaluating your already robust pipeline, setting goals for yourself, and making a prospecting plan that will keep your efforts consistent and effective.
It also goes without saying that the quality of the leads in your pipeline is every bit as important as the quantity. To help businesses eliminate ineffective prospecting and generate more opportunities, FRONTLINE Selling has created a roadmap to success, helping B2B organizations with their sales efforts.
We don’t promise that your lead generation efforts will improve. We prove it.