If you work in any profession that relies on sales efforts, then you need to understand the importance of maintaining a healthy and active pipeline. A Sales Pipeline is a useful concept used by businesses and sales people to quantify the demand for their products and services. Effectively managing your sales pipeline creates a more stable sales cycle with more reliable results.
A sales pipeline works by measuring the progress through the pipeline, from initial contact to satisfied repeat customer. Unfortunately the pipeline has a tendency to leak. Leads and prospects fall out of the pipeline along the way, failing to become the customers we know they should be. It is only through our own efforts that the list of prospects remains active and viable for business. As long as you are active, when the competition becomes lazy and fails to nurture communication with the prospects, that is your opportunity to win the business.
Pipeline management is by sales and marketing teams and departments, as well as individuals who require a quick and easy summary of their future sales at a point in time. For example, if you are a freelance writer, then you might need to keep track of all of the publications you sent a prospective article query to. You could keep track of this pipeline management with your sales and marketing software.
There are many things you can do with pipeline management programs. You can forecast for future growth, you can track upward and downward sales trends for each client, calculating the revenue for each project. When times are lean, you can bring it to the bank manager as evidence of future prospects.
Pipeline management is often a tool used in larger businesses, as the managers or MD’s have to constantly forecast, make plans and revise those plans once reality sets in. This does not mean it cannot benefit smaller companies however, as the pipeline can be used as a means of tracking the performance of individual employees and makes writing reports on how they are handling a project easier for the employee and the employer.
Another benefit of effective pipeline management is the elimination of unnecessary steps in the sales process. You can see what's causing delays and see where you can get things moving. This is because it's so much more difficult to give an accurate forecast when there are a lot of factors involved. If it's too hard to input into the pipeline management program, it's probably too hard to keep.