Efficient sales processes are key to effective sales, but sales pipelines can get pretty clogged up if unmaintained for a long time.
Periodic pipeline maintenance is necessary to enable growth and minimize resource waste in an organization. Besides, it’s easier to work with an agile sales process.
From remapping sales processes to adopting new sales technology, this article aims to examine quick ways to streamline any pipeline today.
Examine your current process
It doesn’t matter if you use a whiteboard or an online process flow diagram; what’s important is that the whole team gets in and examines what the current processes look like today.
At first glance, a marketer can probably identify bottlenecks or other issues with the current pipeline. It could be that the pipeline that was once lean and mean has significantly bogged down after some time.
Keep an eye out for common pain points in the pipeline, and places where there isn’t a clear flow. Common questions should take the form of:
- How can we improve the flow?
- Can the sales cycle be reduced?
- Are there redundant steps in the sales pipeline?
- Are there several processes that overlap and cause confusion?
- What metrics are being used to monitor performance?
This is also a good time to invite the entire sales and marketing teams to find out about what they do in the current process.
By looking at an overview of the sales process, a marketer can identify significant flow points in the pipeline and get a grasp of how efficient the current processes are.
Anything that can be automated should be automated
The next step is to look for processes that are both menial and heavily reliant on repetitive manual labor, and automate the process.
This could be anything from sending follow-up emails after a given time, appointment scheduling and rescheduling, etc.
Automating this sort of work frees up valuable time for marketers to focus on higher-level tasks such as planning, monitoring, and nurturing customers.
Contrary to popular belief, don’t aim to automate all parts of your lead nurturing campaigns, sometimes adding an intentional relational touch is enough to score a conversion. People like to feel that they are important and are getting personalized treatment.
Start implementing Account-Based Marketing (ABM)
One way to simplify any pipeline is to start moving towards the account-based marketing approach. The method relies on heavy research and thorough segmentation, but all the hard work pays off in the end.
ABM results in better lead conversion rates and more meaningful relationships with potential customers.
A lot of time is wasted on leads that might not even convert in the company’s lifetime, and a lot of effort is sometimes spent in vain. By being able to be efficient at the beginning of lead generation through account-based marketing, a company can poise itself for efficiency.
Also, don’t forget to move colder leads into different pipelines, you don’t want to skew your statistics, nor do you want to remove potential customers from the equation altogether.
Big data technologies exist. Use them.
The term big data might sound like a buzzword, but it’s nothing new. Big data technologies mean the ability to analyze and crunch data related to your industry. In this case, you can use applications that allow you to analyze the behavior of your customers and leverage this information in your acquisition of more prospects.
You can use big data applications in determining who to target next, this allows a more focused approach, especially if you’re going to be combining this with account-based management.
Monitor and tweak
Once you’re done with a majority of these steps, it’s time to monitor and track your progress at regular intervals. This allows you to check in on steps in the sales pipeline that work or things that should be removed.
Also, don’t feel daunted by A/B testing tactics within your strategy. It could be the CTAs or even subject lines in your lead nurturing emails. Anything that is deployed should be monitored for efficiency – and to prevent having to re-“streamline” your sales pipelines.
Once marketers feel that a process could use some refining or an A/B test has proven something else to be effective, be prepared to be agile enough to adapt to the improvement.
By doing so, you become even more efficient with your sales pipelines, and it allows you to be flexible no matter what the market environment is like.
A company’s sales pipeline is one of the biggest contributors to growth. However, it has to be cared for constantly to prevent it from being overly clunky and inefficient. Another alternative would be to team up with experts in pipeline management to help with the process.
This is helpful for smaller teams who want to focus on developing their products and can leverage professionals in the field.