How to Keep Your Sales Pipeline Packed with Hot Leads


Insights for ProfessionalsThe latest thought leadership for Management pros

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Sales success depends on having a healthy pipeline of high-quality leads to convert into customers. Here are some tactics you can use to achieve that goal.

Article 4 Minutes
How to Keep Your Sales Pipeline Packed with Hot Leads

If bringing in more revenue to enable sustainable growth and profitability is one of the most important goals for your business right now, you need a healthy, functioning sales pipeline.

With this essential component of your sales operation in place, you can expect to see higher conversion rates and better results for your team, thanks to the better collection and management of leads.

So what can you do to optimize your pipeline and maintain a steady flow of high-quality leads?

Know what your ideal pipeline looks like

The first step to achieving a productive, profit-boosting sales pipeline is to have a clear idea of what you want this part of your sales process to look like.

If you're clear about this, you'll know when certain parts of your pipeline aren't functioning as well as they should be and when you need to take action to get better results.

Visualizing how you want your pipeline to look should go hand in hand with understanding how it stands right now, which involves using metrics like:

  • The number of leads in your pipeline
  • The average size of prospective deals
  • The total value of all opportunities in your pipeline
  • The average lifetime of a deal before conversion

Armed with this data, you can then plan the most effective changes to freshen up your pipeline and target areas where you need to improve.

Disqualify stale leads

If you're using the right metrics, you'll have a stronger understanding of your pipeline and, crucially, where there are opportunities to optimize it.

For many businesses, one of the most common problems is stale leads clogging up the pipeline. By regularly monitoring the deals you're currently working on and disqualifying those that are considered low-quality, you can free up time and resources to dedicate to more promising opportunities.

One way to identify candidates for removal is by looking for those that have been around for a long time without much progress. If you find a number of prospects have been in your pipeline for longer than your average sales cycle, it's worth asking if your time would be better spent focusing on new, higher-quality leads.

Step up your prospecting

The onus is generally on the marketing department to generate leads, but there are also times when the sales team will take on responsibility for supplying the pipeline with fresh opportunities.

There are many ways to approach sales prospecting. One of the first steps is to ensure you're making the most of the sources of potential business already available to you, such as social media.

Dedicate some time to ensuring all of your social profiles are up-to-date and kept fresh with new, engaging content. If you're a B2B company, it's particularly important to optimize your LinkedIn profile, since this platform is one of the most valuable sources for sales prospecting.

You can also use social media to generate fresh leads for your pipeline by showcasing recommendations and testimonials from existing customers. This will help you garner interest from new prospects and make the process of selling your product or service much easier.

Prospecting doesn't only happen online, of course. Getting on the phone and talking to customer contacts in person can be just as effective for building relationships and keeping your pipeline moving.

Use a CRM

Like many areas of business, your sales operation is likely to be most effective and productive when it's highly organized. Where pipeline management is concerned, maintaining a high level of visibility to ensure the quality of your various prospects and opportunities is much easier with the help of customer relationship management (CRM) software.

A CRM can support your efforts to:

  • Manage a busy pipeline of leads at different stages of the buying process
  • Update contact information so you're always in touch with the right person
  • Integrate all correspondence in one place
  • Keep track of sales data in real time
  • Automate routine tasks for maximum efficiency

Benefits like these can prove crucial when you're working hard to get your sales pipeline in the best possible shape for the long-term benefit of the business.

The more control you have over your pipeline and the leads within it, the better-positioned you'll be to achieve conversions and generate revenue.

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