BOO! What to Do When Your Sales Pipeline Looks Scary

You crushed your revenue goal last quarter, but your celebration was overshadowed by the fear of impending doom. You have a monstrous quota looming and your pipeline looks positively skeletal. What a nightmare!

Fear not – we have a few devilish tricks up our sleeve that are sure to breathe life into even the most grisly of sales pipelines. Ready to dig in?

Increase Productivity

At first glance, this probably seems like a painfully obvious suggestion: if you’re not doing enough, you must do more. But it’s not so much about identifying the need to increase productivity (obvious) as it is how to go about doing it (not so obvious).

One of the best ways to do this is to minimize the amount of time your reps spend on activities other than selling. Research shows that reps spend just ⅓ of their time actually selling, while the other ⅔ is spent on tasks like data-entry and reporting. What a waste – think about how much more business you could generate if each of your reps could spend 60%+ more time selling.

One way to make this happen is to minimize the amount of data your reps must manually enter into your CRM by choosing a solution that automatically records calls, emails, appointments and more. Another way is to forego your multiple sales point solutions – power dialer, contact manager, reporting center, etc. – in favor of an all-in-one sales platform that eliminates the need for reps to constantly navigate between UIs.

Realign with Marketing

Studies show that the failure of marketing and sales teams to stay in sync costs B2B companies 10% or more of annual revenue. On the flip side, companies where sales and marketing work in harmony are 67% better at closing deals. Taking the pulse of sales and marketing alignment in your company can reveal key areas for lead generation optimization that can significantly impact pipeline health.

Sales reps field leads from a variety of marketing sources, like advertising, email, content and more. More often than not, they focus on those which they know are easiest to close, ignoring an average of 50% of marketing leads and likely leaving gobs of money on the table. Knowing which lead sources drive the most wins and revenue for your business will show reps which leads to focus on, as well as help marketers prioritize these particular channels.

To do this, you need to know the lead yield of each marketing source. Lead yield is a simple way to compare the value one lead produces versus another on an equal playing field. The formula is as follows: Sales Revenue / # of Leads Generated = Lead Yield. For instance, if you want to know how much value you get in return for a lead from one source (A) versus another source (B), you can compare their respective lead yields as shown below:

Lead Yield

In this particular case, not only are leads from Source B more likely to close, but they also close at a higher dollar value than Source A. Focusing on generating more leads from Source B (marketing) and converting these leads (sales) will beef up the pipeline in no time. For more tips on how to improve your sales and marketing alignment, check out this blog post.

Examine Your Sales Process

A sales pipeline is merely a representation of a much more complex and underpinning sales process that outlines the exact steps reps must take to move a deal from one stage of the pipeline to the next. To understand which parts are working and which should be adjusted, you must map your process to your sales formula. While your business may adapt the sales formula to suit its own unique pipeline and process, the baseline formula, definitions for its variables and sample process mapping are as follows:

base_sales-formula_sales-process

As you capture the information necessary to complete each step of your sales process and develop a consistent data set, measuring these key data points or factors across the sales formula will uncover actionable insights to improve your pipeline. For example, there is probably a step in your sales process to give a demo. As your reps follow this process and enter information around which demos they are providing prospects, you will soon find out whether demo A has a higher conversion than demo B, and can adjust your sales process accordingly.

Want to learn more about how this strategy works and what your business can do to build a more scientific and measurable sales pipeline? Download our free eBook, 3 Keys to Unlocking a Scientific Sales Pipeline.

It’s Alive!

The next time your sales pipeline starts looking grim, laugh in the face of danger. Remember, you’re a sales beast, and with these three tips you have the perfect potion to fill your pipeline with only the most thrilling opportunities. For more sales tricks and treats like these, subscribe to the Base Blog.

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