There is one universal, undeniable and crucial-to-know truth in sales…
Pipeline will always be KING/QUEEN
It’s the most important thing in sales, that’s what we’re trying to say here!
One of the main reasons sales reps miss target is because they haven’t built enough pipeline.
If you look back at when you’ve missed target, how many times would you have actually hit target if you had generated a few more opportunities?
Sales pipelines work like this…
Let’s say you have to make 5 sales to hit your sales target. You need to prospect and build a pipeline of opportunities that you work to close at least 5 to hit target.
The problem is it’s not that simple!
Here are some of the common mistakes that salespeople often make with their pipeline:
1) They don’t find ENOUGH opportunities to hit target
A lot of sales reps don’t generate enough opportunities each month to hit target…
Let’s say you need 5 sales to hit target as we mentioned above. Unfortunately, a common trap that salespeople fall into is only building a pipeline of 5 opportunities. The reality is if you build a pipeline of 5 opportunities, not all 5 opportunities will close. Which is why a lot of salespeople end up not hitting target.
The key is to understand your close ratio.
If you close 50% of your pipeline, you’ll need 50% more to hit target. So to hit 5 sales, you’ll need at least 10 opportunities in your pipeline to hit target. If you close 25% of your pipeline you’ll need at least 20 opportunities to be able to hit target.
2) They live in pipeline DENIAL
Far too many salespeople refuse to accept the reality about their pipeline…
They’ll always tell their sales managers that their sales pipeline is amazing, but in reality it’s not. Unfortunately whilst this attitude will keep their sales managers off their back, it rarely results in the salesperson hitting target and often results in the salesperson struggling in the long run.
Pipeline honesty is key to sales success.
If an opportunity has gone cold, if they’re not responding to you, if you haven’t fully qualified them, anything that makes the opportunity questionable, take it out of your pipeline. Leaving it there will only cause problems.
This is where a good CRM is crucial, one that is designed for sales pipeline management.
We would recommend you check out Pipedrive, it’s the CRM built BY salespeople FOR salespeople and has one of the best (if not THE best) pipeline management designs.
Pipedrive is a world leading CRM for user reviews, customer satisfaction and ease of use. You can check it out for yourself or for your sales team right here. (They have one of the best pipeline management setups out of all CRM’s making it so much easier to manage sales pipelines for salespeople and sales managers) If you follow any of the links in this newsletter you’ll get an extended 30-day free trial, and if you like it you’ll also get 20% discount on your first year.
3) The celebrate the OPPORTUNITY over the sale
Some salespeople make the mistake of celebrating the opportunity before it becomes a sale…
We’ve encountered many sales professionals who make SO MUCH noise when they generate a sales opportunity.
Now don’t get us wrong, we’re all for celebrating in sales, at every stage of the process. The problem is, to a lot of sales reps, that’s the peak. They celebrate the opportunity so much they no longer have the drive to do all the work required to close the sale, and what often happens is the opportunity goes cold.
Pipeline is king, but closed deals are life.
Build your pipeline up with more than enough opportunities, and then make sure you put in the hard work to close as many of them as you can. It’s ok to celebrate creating a new and exciting sales opportunity, but true success comes the moment the deal is signed (and when the customer is happy!).
4) They STOP prospecting when they’ve got “enough” opportunities
Some salespeople spend ages building their pipeline or they run out of leads, and then stop…
Now we know it’s hard work building pipeline, it’s exhausting!
All the efforts required to make loads of calls, send loads of emails, send loads of LinkedIn messages along with everything else, it is draining. So when you do finally have enough opportunities, it’s easy to want to just focus on converting those. The problem is, each time one closes, your pipeline shrinks.
Building pipeline is a 24/7/365 thing.
All-day, every day, every week, every month, every year, prospecting and building pipeline should never stop if you work in sales.
The best sales professionals out there are prospecting all the time and never stop, because they know they need to keep feeding the funnel. For each sale that you close you need to generate several more opportunities, to be able to continue closing sales.
This is why pipeline is KING!
No pipeline = no sales.
It’s not just “Always Be Closing” in sales, it’s also “Always Be Prospecting“. You need to keep that pipeline full and work on adding new opportunities all of the time. Here are our top tips:
- Qualify, qualify, QUALIFY – Put as much effort into qualifying your opportunities to make your pipeline as refined as possible. Understand their budget, their timeframe, their urgency, their needs etc. All this information will help your pipeline quality massively.
- Never stop FEEDING your pipeline – Prospect all the time, make it habit, make it a part of your daily routine. Remember for each sale you close, you’ll need at least 2-3 new opportunities to replace it (as some won’t convert).
- Be HONEST with your sales manager and yourself – Pretending that your pipeline is great and you’ll definitely hit target will only hold you back. Be honest, if you need help, ask for it. If you need more opportunities, focus on prospecting. If you need help closing, ask for it.
- Celebrate your opportunities AND your sales – Creating a new sales opportunity is an achievement, be proud of that! But also remember that’s only part of the process, you need to then work on closing the deal to really win.
What would tips would you give for salespeople when it comes to building and managing their pipeline? Add them in the comments, you might just help someone!
We hope you’ve enjoyed this newsletter!
This article is supported by Pipedrive, one of the world’s best CRM’s used by over 100,000+ companies in 179 countries. You can try it for free right here. The best sales managers choose Pipedrive because it is DESIGNED for sales teams and has been voted the easiest to use CRM.
They normally offer 14-day free trial but if you follow one of our links in this newsletter you’ll be able to get an extended 30-day free trial and as a bonus, if you choose to use Pipedrive after your trial, you’ll get 20% discount on your first year (that’s a pretty amazing offer if we’re honest!).
If you’re potentially interested in trying Pipedrive out, we have a few extra resources that might help: