The Sales Pipeline and How to Manage It
What’s a sales pipeline?
“Simply put, your sales pipeline is the amount of business you attempt to close in a given month, quarter, or year. [A sales quota, if you will.] It is usually presented as a spreadsheet that tracks all of the business your sales force has pursued in the form of requests for proposal.”
As the pipeline grows, you can begin to forecast sales with greater accuracy. Your sales teams (and by association, your management team) will get increased confidence and be able to plan accurately for future demand.
Managing a sales pipeline is a different story.
There are several steps to making your sales pipeline function. A few:
- Identify an account’s total budget: Plot it out thoroughly. Find “the likely length of the sales cycle, and the key decision-makers.” With this framework, you can then…
- Find the magic metric: Track your progress and the growth of the pipeline using metrics such as bi-weekly performance reviews of salespeople.
- Entice customers with “carrot” deals: Dangle cost-saving bonuses over potential customers to get them closer to sealing the deal.
There are many more steps. Read on!