In a fast-growing B2B organisation, the sales process never stops. Even when you’re making a profit, you are always looking forward. You can’t afford to rest on your laurels. Your sales pipeline is the key to a successful sales operation. You need fresh leads coming in at the start, then moving efficiently through to become loyal customers. Each stage of your pipeline needs to work optimally to perform its function. Here are 5 tips to make sure your pipeline stays full.
1 – Know how big your pipeline needs to be
Until you know the size your B2B pipeline needs to be, you can’t know whether it’s full. Work out how many prospects you need at every stage of your pipeline to make your quota. To do this, you need to know how long your sales cycle is, your churn rate at each stage of the pipeline, then your average deal size. Through these metrics, you can calculate what ‘full’ means.
An important thing to remember is that a full pipeline isn’t necessarily an effective pipeline. Your pipeline could be full of prospects, but they may not be moving. There may be a bottleneck, a blockage in your pipeline. To avoid this, clean your pipeline regularly. Flush out prospects who are not going to buy by enforcing strict criteria before they can move to the next stage. If a prospect has lingered in your pipeline for longer than the average sales cycle lasts, remove them altogether.
2 – Know who your best prospects are
Not all prospects are created equal. Some are more likely to buy than others. For this reason, they need extra attention to move them through your B2B pipeline. Don’t spend time trying to win round a prospect who, in all honesty, is never going to buy. Be efficient with your time and spend it with your most attractive prospects.
How do you know who those prospects are? There are clues. Organisations are likely to make purchases following particular events. These could be:
- Receiving a new round of funding
- Appointing a new CEO, CIO or other executives
- Moving to a new global headquarters
If you can know when organisations are experiencing these events, you can reach them at an optimum time and bring them into your pipeline. The key to this is B2B data. Make sure the data you use for your lead gen tells you when these ‘trigger events’ take place.
3 – Know who your best customers are
Like prospects, some customers are bigger than others. Bigger customers bring more value to your organisation. They spend more money. They are easier to sell to. You need to spend your time making sure they are happy. However, from a pipeline point of view, you need to be selling them more products. Remember, it costs a lot less to sell to a current customer than attracting a new one.
Use your organisation’s data to pinpoint which customers spend the most. Try to upsell them. Ask for referrals. Who do they know who you can help as much as you’ve helped them?
Look for commonalities between your best customers to build an ideal buyer persona. This will help you with your lead gen, keeping the start of your pipeline full. Use high-quality B2B data to help segment your entire marketplace, building a list of super-targeted leads.
4 – Always be prospecting
You can’t sell only to your current customer base. To keep your pipeline full, the most effort always has to be made at the start of your pipeline. This means you never take your foot off the prospecting pedal. Whatever methods of prospecting you use, whether it’s outbound (cold calling, automated email lead sequences) or inbound (content marketing), always look for new ways to attract customers to your organisation.
Make sure everything you do at the prospecting stage is well-targeted.
5 – Track everything
You should never stop looking for ways to improve your B2B pipeline. You can only improve what you measure, so make sure you measure everything.
In your pipeline, maintain strict criteria to move prospects on to the next stage. Use lead scoring techniques, measuring every interaction a prospect has with your organisation and assigning it a score, to know where a prospect is on your pipeline. Use automated software to quantify this for you.
Track everything you can regarding how smoothly your pipeline flows. Metrics such as sales cycle length and conversion rates will change as you follow the other tips. Keep an eye on them and how they affect the rest of your pipeline. From a practical point of view, look at how you can improve your email content with experiment with A/B testing. Record your calls with prospects and listen back to them to work out how you can do better.
Use specialist pipeline management software to help with this measurement.
Follow our tips and watch your pipeline become a fast-flowing source of revenue.
If you want your data to tell you when a client is ready to buy, or when a prospect is ready to move to the next stage of your pipeline, it’s time to talk to Cognism. Click here or call us on +44 203 858 0822.