Establishing a robust sales pipeline is critical to ongoing sales success. Here’s part two of our guide on mapping out your sales pipeline.
5. How is your team performing?
Every sales rep has different capabilities, strengths and weaknesses, and it is important for sales managers to know exactly where their team is achieving well and areas they are struggling with. But how can you do this without a clearly defined sales pipeline?
If you can track each individual’s steps and milestones, you will soon be able to see where in the sales process things are stalling, and this is only possible by working with a clearly defined sales map. Having this kind of transparency is invaluable for both the sales manager and the sales rep.
6. Allow your team to make their own discoveries
Telling a sales rep (or your whole team) that they have to change their selling behaviour because it is no longer relevant, you may come up against a bit of resistance – after all, if it is the way they have always been doing it, and it’s worked out alright, why do something different?
Here’s the thing, a sales pipeline can actually be the tool for change. Because if each sales rep begins to track their progress, and are able to see where things aren’t working, they will be more responsive to adapting their actions.
7. Being a responsible and hardworking salesperson doesn’t necessarily lead to successful selling
More often than not sales teams are left to carry out their work autonomously. Individual reps will create a process to follow based on their established experience in sales, and occasionally, with a really good sales person, it will work out.
However for a majority of people it won’t work out quite so well – yes wins will happen, but there will certainly be lost opportunities and time wasted on the wrong leads. And all of this usually comes to a head in sales meetings where unachieved targets are glaringly obvious and there is no hard data for why.
So why would you not create a clearly defined pipeline that the whole team can follow to success, and when things don’t work out, you can see when the road block occurred and why.
8. How to build your map of milestones
This is something the whole team needs to be a part of – developing the framework for your pipeline. It is recommended you have no more than five phases/milestones to reach, but it is more important to make sure you have something that is relevant to the sales cycle of your organisation.
The most practical way of mapping the process is to grab some different coloured post-its, a blank wall (or a whiteboard) and record the actions, in consultation with your team and perhaps an impartial sales expert, that need to come under each milestone.
What you will find at the end of this exercise is a very clear path that takes you from lead sourcing/generation to what activities are required to close a sale. Turn these into stages in a formal pipeline document and the result is your sales process that all team members are to follow.
Don’t forget to revisit it on a regular basis, to ensure it stays updated and inline with best practice.