Essential habits to fill your sales pipeline
Essential habits to fill your sales pipeline
The only trouble with a full sales pipeline is that it can empty pretty fast.
Take your eye off it chasing those deals and before you know it the next quarter is looking as promising as Old Mother Hubbard’s cupboard.
Slim pickings, indeed.
If you are looking at your sales pipeline and wondering if it’s half full or half empty, then it’s time to get it connected to a few drip feeds that will keep it topped up on a regular basis.
Filling a pipeline is all about good habits.
We thought we’d share a few of ours with you, so that you can add them to those you are already have.
(Don’t worry, we’ve checked in our bad habits at the door!)
When your pipeline gets full, do not drop anchor.
As the pipeline starts to fill up the natural tendency is to drop anchor – but the best thing to do is to stoke the prospecting furnace and carry on full steam ahead.
The truth is that no pipeline is ever as full as it looks.
- Dead cert deals suddenly become dead in the water
- Promising leads move roles and company
- An unexpected merger suddenly scuppers your next best hope
You may have eggs in the basket but it is a very brave – or incredibly foolish – farmer who counts them before they have hatched.
By pushing on and doubling your efforts you can buy yourself a cushion.
And that means that you can sit much more comfortably through the next quarter.
Stick to the plan, Stan…
There is a reason you have mapped out how many touchpoints it takes to engage a prospect and qualify them as a lead.
It’s the same reason that you have charted how many leads it takes to close a deal.
Quite simply, it tells you exactly what you need to do and when.
Pay close attention to this planning and make sure you are hitting the activity levels – and the best activities for each level – every time.
A quick observation here:
It is said that high-growth organisations are now averaging an average of 16 touch points per prospect in less than a month. We’d suggest, that if you are making such regular engagements, you will also need to be using an omnichannel approach.
Head over to here for more helpful hints on using a multichannel approach for your prospecting. <hyperlink to what exactly is multichannel prospecting blog>
… But don’t get stuck in the mud, Bud
Things change. And so should your prospecting.
Make sure you are reviewing your personas, your target industries, your sales decks, your pitch, your marketing collateral, your channels, your sales software, your approach and your sales emails.
And make sure you are doing this regularly.
The fastest way to clog up your pipeline is to get yourself stuck in the mud slap bang in the middle of it.
It used to be that the best salesperson delegated everything that wasn’t mission critical.
To be fair, it’s still not a bad tactic.
But now the smart money is also on automating – which is delegating to a machine rather than a human.
A pipeline that is optimised by AI and automation <link to post on automation> runs so much smoother.
As a simple example, automation can work wonders with ‘hospital’ work: it can help you bring back cold deals from the deep freeze of the mortuary chamber. Simply set automated emails to reach out to prospects after the deal went cold. Automate a voicemail message moments after these are sent and combine it with a personalised piece of DM.
Let’s see what lost deals find their way back into the pipeline.
Referrals are an absolute no-brainer.
We’ll let the stats speak for themselves.
- 84% of buyers now kick off their buying process through a referral
- Nine in 10 buying decisions are made thanks to peer recommendations
- 92% of buyers trust referrals from people they know
- After a positive experience, 83% of customers would be happy to provide a referral
- But as only 11% of salespeople ask for them, just 29% of customers end up making one
- About 47% of top performing salespeople ask for referrals consistently, versus only 26% of non-top performers
- You are 2 times more likely to get an appointment if you have a personal connection with a buyer
- Referral leads convert 30% better than leads that are generated from all other marketing channels
And the best way to grab a slice of this action?
It’s nothing more difficult than following up on asking for referrals just like you would a sale. Make it part of your routine: make it a habit.
Automate your CRM to remind you that X days after a deal is closed you should email and put in a call to talk referrals. And they will come regularly.
A pipeline filled with leads that will never become SQLs (sales qualified leads) may be full, but it is full off #@£*!
This is why it is so important that sales and marketing teams are aligned, which is to say they are singing off the same song sheet and in perfect harmony.
If you’d like to discover more about how best to align your sales and marketing teams we’ve, ahem, laid it all out on the line for you here.
Partners are great for business. They offer a cost-effective way to expand your presence and get in front of new potential customers.
Many companies have prospecting partners ready to roll thanks to an existing affiliate programme set up with resellers.
But your partners can simply be a network that you tap into to provide leads to your pipeline through activities such as co-marketing. These can be things that can be easily shared with each other’s audience, such as co-branded case studies, white papers, or webinars
If you bear in mind the following three rules you are sure to find it easy to create valuable prospecting relationships with others.
- Choose companies that don’t compete directly with your service – or, for the icing on the relationship cake, provide a complimentary service to yours.
- Your partners must have a great chance of doing just as well out of the relationship as you will – it takes two to tango, and all that.
- Have an appetite for working with you – a lack of enthusiasm just grinds things to a halt.
The knock-on effect of a full sales pipeline
A full sales pipeline is a wonderful thing.
When your pipeline is full of opportunities there’s no need to fall back on desperate bad sales tactics like pressuring prospects, offering discounts, or overselling. And there’s no reason to waste time on a contact who is far from being your ideal SQL.
What’s more, because a full sales pipeline helps you sell with more integrity, buyers respect you more and commit to more for longer.
And referrals from a happy customer is low-hanging, sustainable fruit.