Most salespeople spend too much time managing their sales pipeline. If you spend several hours a week on pipeline administration and reporting, where do you find the time to move your sales forward? According to a study conducted by Pace Productivity Inc., an average outside sales rep only spends 22% of their time actually selling. Here’s the really shocking part: they spend 23% of their time on administrative tasks. So, what’s the answer? How do you spend less time on necessary administrative tasks and more time selling? We believe the answer is managing your pipeline more efficiently, and here are five ways to do that.
Move deals along the pipeline faster
You may have some good prospects in your pipeline, but many are stuck at a certain point. To move them forward, you need to constantly follow up with your prospects or customers. One helpful suggestion is to never leave a sales meeting without scheduling the next one. This strategy alone will help you close deals faster.
Prioritize your opportunities
You might have a pipeline full of opportunities, but they won’t do you any good if you don’t prioritize them. Review your pipeline and focus first on the prospects who are “ready to buy.” These are the ones who have agreed to the sale’s terms and conditions and have funds budgeted to make the purchase. Next, focus on your prospects who are almost ready to buy and leads that have contacted you online within the last 24 hours. Follow up and see what you can do to move those prospects along your pipeline.
Don’t treat every customer the same
Not all customers are the same. So, don’t treat all customers the same. Some make small purchases. Some make big purchases. Some make a lot of small purchases. You need to identify your customers’ purchasing patterns so you can determine which are most valuable to your business. Once you know which are the most valuable, target them first to get them through your pipeline.
Know what works and what doesn’t
Do you know why you win some sales, but lose others? The essence of a successful sales process is identifying what works and what doesn’t. If you don’t know and you’re simply going by your gut feeling, then you’re not in control of your sales process and pipeline. You might also be taking incorrect actions and pursuing the wrong strategies. Take the time to track your process so you know how to successfully move prospects through your pipeline.
Identify the decision makers
Buying teams tend to grow along with the expense of the product or service you are selling. That’s why you need to find out who the decision makers are. There’s no sense in wasting your time doing a sales presentation when no one in the room can make a decision. Take the time to figure out who’s in charge so you can move the sale forward.
Following the tips above won’t make every prospect in your pipeline convert. However, they will put you in control of your pipeline through sales-focused activities rather than administrative ones, and therefore allowing you to make more sales.
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Founder of RedRock Leadership