The Fastest Way to Build a Sales Pipeline for a New Sales Rep


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Thursday, April 21, 2022

Find out why a sales pipeline can be a useful tool and how you can construct one to better hit your sales targets.

Article 4 Minutes
The Fastest Way to Build a Sales Pipeline for a New Sales Rep

So, you've just got a great new job in sales and you're looking forward to showing your team what you can do to help them boost their bottom line.

One way to ensure you hit the ground running is to build a sales pipeline.

What is a sales pipeline?

Often likened to a funnel, a sales pipeline is a tool that helps you understand where exactly your clients and prospects are in the buying process. This organized, visual instrument illustrates the fact that opportunities go through a number of different stages before a deal is closed - and it could therefore make a real difference to profits.

There are several reasons why a sales pipeline is a useful tool:

1. Prospecting

This is where outbound messages are sent to leads with the aim of identifying new business. It might include trawling social media, Google searches and good old-fashioned cold calling to seek out opportunities that the company has not yet harvested.

It's worth remembering here that mutual connections are also important, so reach out to existing clients and ask if they know others who might be interested in your services. After all, Hubspot research found 92% of buyers trust referrals from people they know and 83% would be happy to provide a referral after a positive experience.

2. Qualifying

This is where an opportunity has been identified, but you still need to know if they have the need, budget and authority to buy from you. Are you talking to the right person and do they have a timeline in which to buy, for instance?

3. Meeting

At this stage, your solution is further discussed with your prospect and you explore together whether or not it would be a good fit for them.

The final two stages are:

  • Offer: Where a detailed proposal is sent to lay out your terms.
  • Closing: When the deal is finalized and contracts are signed following any last-minute negotiations.

The idea is that the sales pipeline is used to move opportunities logically through the stages until deals are either closed or the prospect drops out.

Why do you need a sales pipeline?

Sales can be a game of patience and it's important to remember that moving prospects through to agreement and action is often a slow process. The sales pipeline will act as a reminder that progress is being made, all stages are useful and that not everything is about closing.

It can also act as a tool to show which sales activities are working to bring in the most revenue and which might require further work to boost their efficacy. After all, the Pareto Principle states that around 20% of leads will bring in 80% of revenue, so ensuring they are high-quality is crucial.

Another advantage of a sales pipeline is that they add accountability and make goals easier to strive towards - companies that use them could enjoy 28% higher revenue growth than those that don't.

Finally, a sales pipeline may help you use your schedule more effectively, as they ensure sales people's time is dedicated to the correct audiences. Only around a third of representatives' hours are spent selling, so good management will reduce wasting this time.

How to build a sales pipeline

It might be daunting to considering building a new sales pipeline from scratch at a new company while you’re still familiarizing yourself with the products and services on offer, but the process can be broken down into three stages:

1. Gather a list of prospective buyers

Hopefully your company will have a good CRM database of leads, prospects and industry contacts, as this is the first step towards a comprehensive sales pipeline. Once they have been included, add every new contact as a potential new client relationship.

With every entry of a prospect, ask yourself what steps they would need to complete before closure, what pain points they face and how your solution could help. Buyer personas may be helpful at this stage to flesh out key details.

2. Work out revenue targets

Next, decide how many deals need to be added to the pipeline to ensure objectives are met. For example, if your goal is $1 million and each deal nets $2,500, you will need 400 orders. This could equate to 4,000 opportunities with a 10% conversion rate, which helps you determine how many leads to chase down and add in.

3. Think about the later stages

Remember that sales pipelines aren't just about spotting new business - you need to nurture those at each stage of your funnel to ensure deals are closed. For instance, a key part of your strategy during the qualification and meeting stages could be ensuring your company is a thought leader and a reliable source of knowledge.

In this case, having a raft of content available such as video tutorials, reviews and infographics available for would-be clients could be the difference between keen interest and business dropping out. If you compile content in advance when constructing your sales pipeline, you'll be ready to take advantage when the opportunity arises.

Final thoughts

As you can see, taking the time to build a great sales pipeline could pay dividends in the long run. With careful monitoring and updating, it should also continue to serve you in your sales career for years to come.

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