3 Ways to Streamline Sales Pipeline Development
December 30, 2015
Every healthy B2B company has a strong sales pipeline. Developing that robust pipeline can be tough. It requires you to contact lots of people who might have an interest in your offering and to follow up consistently so you are present at the correct point in the buying cycle.
If you’re currently rethinking sales pipeline development for your organization, pay close attention to the following proven strategies:
1. Be visible
Any time a prospective customer starts looking for solutions to a critical business issue that you can address, they had better be able to find you.
For many B2B brands, trade shows are great places to gain visibility. Setting up a booth at an industry trade show not only puts your business in front of contacts you may otherwise not have engaged – it also gives you an opportunity to talk to people in your target audience, find out what their critical business issues are and discover whether you can help them.
You’ll also collect lots of contact information. This is important because the follow-up is where you’ll qualify these leads and begin the sales process. Here are some ways to connect with more leads at trade shows:
- Phone reminders: Why cross your fingers that a potential customer will stumble upon your booth? Placing calls to attendees and providing a compelling reason to visit your booth ensures that people will stop by.
- Handouts: A meaningful handout can help people distinguish your company from others at the trade show.
- Panels: While you’re at the trade show, join a panel discussion or even (gasp!) consider delivering a presentation at the event. You’ll establish immediate credibility with everyone in attendance and distinguish yourself within your niche.
2. Use the most effective tools – and commit to them
Let’s say you’ve gathered a lot of contact information from potential prospects. Maybe it’s a list you’ve built over several months using various tactics. Maybe it’s a bowl full of business cards from trade shows. In any case, it’s time to add contact details to your CRM application.
But what happens after you add contact info to your database? Is your team using that contact information to follow up with targets, or is your lead generation process a hodgepodge of emails, spreadsheets, and calendar notifications? If your team isn’t committed to using a common tool and following a common process for managing contact information, valuable leads are bound to slip through the cracks.
In the end, a CRM application is only as valuable as you make it. Be sure every team member receives training on how to use your tool of choice and understands the consequences of circumventing your established processes.
3. Choose tactics wisely
Tactics matter. If you’re not communicating with targets in a way that draws a straight line between their critical business issues and your solutions, you’re likely not going to be considered a viable provider. And while there are lots of ways to communicate value to your audience, there’s one tactic that often trumps all others.
Phone calls. Dialing a number and having a conversation. Simple as that.
Picking up the phone works because it gives you an unparalleled opportunity to:
- Confirm the prospect’s critical business issues and their readiness to address them
- Identify the decision-maker or makers at the organization
- Determine whether there is a budget in place
- Establish a timeline for their decision-making process
In other words, placing calls is the best way to qualify leads, establish rapport and determine the most appropriate next steps. It also streamlines the sales cycle and helps you determine who is a potential buyer and who is not.