Today’s business-to-business (B2B) sales and marketing environment is difficult, and a steady flow of sales is essential for success. For this to happen, the sales pipeline needs to be strong, measurable, and clear. Here’s what you need to do to get it.
When sales pipelines are managed well and information is shared between the sales and marketing teams, they can give a lot of useful information. It can help you with things like:
- Which marketing and sales activities are making the most difference?
- How many leads can sales reps close in a certain amount of time?
- How close are they to meeting their goals?
All of these questions can be answered with the help of a collaborative approach to pipeline management, but 56% of managers say they aren’t good at managing pipelines or aren’t sure.
Here are some actionable tips for pipeline management that will help B2B sales and marketing teams improve the lead generation, qualification, and nurturing processes, which will increase sales success in the long run.
First, there must be good leads.
It is important for pipeline management to be based on data. Using the right metrics to intelligently score and qualify leads will help businesses put prospects in the right order. To make sure that engagement with prospects is timely and useful, the sales and marketing teams need to agree on these metrics. Creating an ICP can then be used to rate leads, while demographic and behavioural information should be used to help teams prioritise prospects who are most likely to convert and deliver the most value.
To make the sales pipeline even more efficient, the marketing and sales teams need to agree on what a dead lead is and when it should be dropped or given back to marketing. With sales data and metrics, it’s easy to find leads that don’t respond and take them out of the pipeline. So, the marketing team can take care of leads that need more work, and sales reps have more time to focus on prospects who are ready to talk.
Review and change processes
It’s important for sales and marketing leaders to look over processes together on a regular basis so that the sales pipeline can be changed to meet the needs of leads as they change during the cycle.
Using marketing automation and web analytics, sales teams can mark the important stages of the buyer’s journey. When teams look closely at sales and customer data, they will be able to find inefficiencies that could lead to missed opportunities. By taking a closer look at the places where communication and engagement happen, both marketing and sales can learn important things.
Persistence is still a key part of closing deals, and the best way to follow up on high-quality leads is through multiple channels. Lastly, a win-loss analysis will teach you useful things that you can use to improve the way you do business in the future.
As many businesses have learned the hard way, some sales can take months to close because of long sales cycles. But longer sales cycles also make it more likely that a prospect will be contacted by a competitor or decide not to go through with the deal.
This can be shortened by reviewing the core activities at each step: How well does each activity work? Can steps that aren’t needed be taken away?
In this way, it is important for sales and marketing to work closely together to get the most out of each team. By sharing ideas, agreeing on strategies, and working together to measure performance, the sales cycle can be sped up.
CRM helps you see things better.
Pipeline management tools are very important for keeping track of leads and deciding which ones to follow up on first. CRM systems let you see where each lead or opportunity is in the sales pipeline and how it got there.
With a 360-degree view of each prospect from the first time they interact with the business all the way through the customer life cycle, a CRM system gives B2B businesses a lot of information about how leads move from the beginning to the end of the sales process. The sales and marketing process can always be made better by figuring out which activities work best.