How yo Optimise your Sales Pipeline
Is your sales pipeline half empty – or half full?

“While it may sound odd, the name ‘sales pipeline’ is fitting for what the mechanism is and how your company can use it,” says Andrew Maren, founder and CEO of ProfitShare Partners, the disruptive fintech firm making an impact on SMEs with innovative funding – and valuable advice as a value add.

According to the highly successful customer relationship management (CRM) company SuperOffice, the way to get to where your sales pipeline is constantly filing up – if not full – is to take advantage of technology.

For example, SuperOffice’s CRM combines all customer-facing processes such as sales, marketing and customer service into a single technology “stack”. With several levels of functionality, SuperOffice CRM not only increases productivity, assists in creating positive customer experiences and long-term, win-win relationships.

How a pipeline works

As Maren often shares with clients, “Simply put, a sales pipeline outlines and documents every step of your sales process from a potential customer’s first interaction with your company to the final closing of the deal.

“As potential clients take actions that move them forward in the sales process, these are recorded in the sales pipeline.”

Where you have a CRM, a process that was once determined by meetings and paper trails has become automated to provide all the data your business will need to drive sales and generate more.

A quick drive around Google will locate lists of CRM software vendors, and it may be prudent to look specifically for a South African-created product such as BluWave Software to ensure it covers local legal and compliance issues.

“You can take a test-drive online and see if the offering suits your specific needs,” Maren suggests, “by improving your sales process, forecasting future business results and managing the allocation of your resources in order to deal with upcoming sales efficiently.”

Top 3 ways to manage your sales pipeline
Follow up, follow up, follow up…

There is so much competition out there in almost every business sector and way more than one small business looking to be a provider to a large or successful firm. Therefore, it’s vital that you show your potential client how valuable he or she is to you by following up and keeping the lines of communication open at all times.

Eyes on the prize

Pay attention to your best, most sales-ready, high value leads so that you avoid getting distracted by anything that won’t rev your sale. You don’t need to hard-sell a client – in fact, that is often not a valuable tactic. Check your CRM for movement towards the closing of a sale. Equally importantly, walk away from “dead” leads that cost you time and money and aren’t offering any ROI.

Monitor metrics, aim for the gold standard

Because your sales pipeline is dynamic and should be changing all the time, you need to monitor the information it provides, which will include:

  • The number of deals in your pipeline
  • The average size of the deals
  • The average percentage of deals that you win
  • The average lifetime of a deal before it’s closed

Maren urges all SMEs to familiarise themselves with any software and business automation tools that save time and produce valuable results.

“By landing out a small amount of cash now, a CRM system that puts sales through your pipeline can pay dividends in no time.”