The steps in the pipeline, when managed correctly, take the customer from the beginning to the end of their journey the way it should be: getting the sale. For this, however, it is necessary to adopt some strategies and good practices to have a greater conversion in all stages.
A CRM offers companies full conditions to monitor all sales from beginning to end.
Often, however, it is not uncommon not to use the full potential that the software offers or, otherwise, not to have an adequate process adapted to the technology.
If you have recently undergone digital transformation in your business or simply switched from CRM, it is essential to keep one thing in mind:
It is through technology – and only through it – that you can strategically generate value in all stages of the pipeline to achieve a sale.
For this, it is necessary to follow some strategies, good practices in managing the relationship with the customer during:
In addition, of course, the intermediate stages – the ones that really make the difference between the customer’s “yes” and “no”.
Today’s text brings you good practices in managing the stages of the sales pipeline.
Let’s check it out?
Implement CRM correctly to manage pipeline steps
Before effectively applying the strategies to better manage sales and pipeline steps, it is necessary to understand whether the CRM implementation went smoothly.
This means: is your sales team really using the system to the full?
Are you extracting everything you can from it and, in fact, filling in all the necessary information?
Yes and no, it’s better to make sure, right?
Make a quick checklist to see if CRM is actually being used in the best way in the company’s sales routine.
Is your team motivated and trust CRM?
It may seem like an obvious question – after all, if you hired it is because the team uses it.
But the reality is not always that, and if you don’t do sales management closely, you may be surprised by the practice.
It is critical that your team understands the importance of CRM and sees you as an ally – not just one more thing to fill.
Let her understand that technology helps to sell more and better; eliminates bureaucratic and robotic work and gives more time and willingness to be consultative and deliver value to customers.
So if an extra dose of motivation is needed, create some incentive campaign.
Increase the sales commission of that salesman a little bit, who, if he has hit his goals and objectives, really managed the negotiations through CRM and recorded all his actions.
Are the processes really automated?
One factor that can contribute to the demotivation of salespeople – and consequently the misuse of CRM – is the fact that there is, in fact, no automation of sales processes.
Many tasks such as entering leads, sending emails and creating activities can be automated in your CRM.
For example, let’s say you always take a customer’s registration on the website and fill in an opportunity in your pipeline by hand.
In a CRM with automatic actions and integrations, as soon as a lead requests a quote, for example, you already have the opportunity filled, ready to be worked on.
Is there an established activity routine?
The sales process is a living organism: it needs to be constantly changing to meet the needs of your potential customer.
But despite this, you need to have a routine of activities established for your team.
What activities should be done daily. That is to say, assuming you have a full funnel:
- how many prospecting emails need to be sent?
- how many qualifying calls should be made?
- how many sales demos should take place in a day?
- how many emails or follow-up calls should be made?
Finally, define how your salespeople’s routine should predictably be.
That is: define the minimum that needs to occur every day for you to be efficient daily.
Strategies for managing pipeline steps and converting more sales
Now that you already have CRM as a true ally of your team, it’s time to further improve your delivery.
That is, put in place some strategies to increase the conversion rate at all stages of the pipeline.
To help you, by topics – those we mentioned earlier, remember? Prospecting, qualification, negotiation and closing.
These strategies can also be seen as good practices in order, in the end, to achieve what really matters: selling more, better and having customers increasingly satisfied with your brand.
Good prospecting practices
The lead generation process may seem confusing, but it does not compare to managing all the contacts generated without the use of technology.
I mean, you can even have your spreadsheets well organized, without duplicate contacts or wrong emails.
But having the tools and resources to be able to impact them while they are still hot is quite a task.
Therefore, for a correct management of the stages of the pipeline, especially in the conversion part, it is necessary to:
Integration with marketing
In order to manage the result of your marketing actions, it is essential to have a CRM integrated with your marketing automation platform.
In addition, with automatic actions, any lead generated in any of your acquisition channels will enter the stage of the funnel you define.
This is especially important when you put in place some cold mail strategies.
It is essential to take the opportunity to approach the lead while it is still warm, willing to listen to what you have to say.
Tag customers in CRM
Are your prospects organized to facilitate localization and review?
For those who use a CRM, managing the customer portfolio is not a chore.
When do you tag to know the source of these leads: marketing (which channel)? Partners? Cold list?
Depending on the source, the SDR will already know the necessary approach for each of them – which gives greater persuasiveness from the start.
Monitor conversations with customers
Cold calling, email marketing, chats … all of these are effective ways of attracting customers and should continue to be done.
However, another equally important – and little used – strategy for generating leads is through the tickets that the support area receives.
The customer service team is attentive to their questions and concerns.
Support can use CRM to simply notify the sales team about conversations that can lead to up selling and cross selling opportunities.
Good qualification practices
Within an ideal scenario, your prospecting efforts are attracting the right customers, within the persona and criteria that you define as the ideal customer profile (ICP).
But, to ensure that the right leads are always sought, there are some good practices for you to use in the pipeline steps when it comes to qualifying contacts.
Within CRM, it is possible to create a lead qualification form – which must be completed by the pre-sales professional.
The ideal is also to have an exclusive funnel for this stage of the process.
Within this questionnaire, ask the essential questions so that you know if the prospect has or does not fit with the business.
Also leave a field free of comments and fill in any relevant information that will help the seller to close this sale.
More than that: use tags to define the type of customer you are dealing with.
Again: it is important for the salesperson to know, immediately, who he will deal with, adapting the sales pitch for each one of them.
Use the reasons for loss in your CRM
Some of your leads will not be qualified. They will not go ahead to speak to the seller.
The job is to find out, then, why they don’t have the profile to buy.
It is a task for pre-sales, yes, but listing the reasons for loss is something to be done at basically any stage of the sales process.
Whoever is responsible for listing, you must always check something.
And don’t forget to create some recurring reason tags to make it easier to check the report.
Monitor potential customer interactions
- How many times have your leads interacted with the company?
- During “cold calls”: what are they asking?
- What is their main concern in answered emails?
Based on these conversations, find answers to some questions, such as:
- What value does our product or service add to that potential customer?
- What specific need is met? And in what way?
- Does this prospect have a budget to hire our solution?
- Who is responsible internally for making the purchase decision?
Then, see the importance of your question form within the CRM. It is important to give the right direction.
A non-fit lead negotiating with the customer has a huge chance of not closing. And then, well, you’re wasting a lot of money …
Good practices in negotiation
During the negotiation, you discuss prices and conditions with the prospect.
It is essential that salespeople provide a great experience all the time, which generates value for each contact, leaving the “yes” closer.
To be even more assertive in these stages of the pipeline, some strategies are important
Know your prospect well
Your CRM offers the opportunity to learn about all your customers and create a great relationship.
As you move an opportunity through the pipeline steps, constantly analyze the data that your customers provide little by little.
- Emails you opened (what content was in it)?
- WhatsApp responses to the pre-seller or seller;
- Pains or doubts exposed in the calls, etc.
Take advantage of the CRM is integrated with webphone and listen to these calls from within the opportunity – and write down everything that is relevant.
Conversations via WhatsApp are also recorded and you can read them calmly to find good information that will help you persuade the customer.
All of this is important for you to better understand the client’s pain, personalize the speech and show didactically how your solution works for him.
Assign activities to yourself at all stages of the pipeline
This strategy is basically valid for any funnel at any time within the process.
But as the sale gets closer to completion, it becomes even more important.
Assigning activities to yourself is fundamental and will make sure you don’t miss any opportunity due to lack of action.
And it can even be done with automatic actions.
We think of the following example within the sales funnel.
The seller called the customer who is negotiating, following up to get a response to the commercial proposal sent.
The customer responded by saying they are still evaluating the offer and asked you to call within a few days.
What does the seller do? Two options:
- Both keep the opportunity at the same stage of the funnel and manually schedule an activity to call;
- Drag the opportunity to a new stage (say “follow up 2”) and trigger the automatic action to create a task to warn that you need to call that lead in the next few days.
Also, don’t forget to set up stagnation alerts to reinforce the reminder of what you need to do.
Track the opportunities you are involved with
If you are a sales manager, it is important to know if your team is actually sending the proposals, doing the follow up, calling and generally speaking with the customer.
The report can deliver all of that, yes. But it is important to be able to follow in real time.
One of the ways to do this is, at all times (if the manager so wishes), to put himself as involved.
Thus, you will be alerted and will be aware of any and all actions that occur at each opportunity.
And stay tuned to review important activities, such as:
- connections made;
- Sent emails;
- completed tasks;
- change of steps in the pipeline;
- notes taken;
- visits made, etc.
Good closing practices
A company only increases its revenue and grows when more sales are made.
It is crucial, therefore, to know how to use CRM to your advantage and optimize the stage of closing sales.
For that, some good practices are necessary, such as:
At each stage of the pipeline, based on your history within the CRM, you have the forecast of closing.
That is to say: if all goes well, if your conversion rates remain at least equal, you will have the predictability of earnings at the end of the month.
Having the sales forecast, based on the historical conversion rate of each stage, helps not only the salespeople but also the financial sector of the company.
This will know how much money you can count on in the next period and can already be programmed well in advance.
Identify bottlenecks in the process
How effective is your funnel really? Where is the conversion rate higher and where is it lower?
We have already talked about creating activities so as not to miss any opportunity due to lack of action.
However, it is also necessary to review how long each opportunity is stopped at each stage of the pipeline.
This thorough analysis helps you to review your processes and also the actions taken.
You may be leaving prospects too long at a stage.
Have the opportunities, in the next stage, been more or less converted?
See: cross the data between conversion and stagnation time to find these bottlenecks – and fix them immediately!
With these tips, you optimize the steps of the pipeline, generate value for your customer, renew his confidence in you and manage to convert more sales in less time.
So, how can we help you?
If you want to know more about what a CRM can do for your company to sell more and better, talk to a consultant whenever you want.
Enjoy and read two articles that will help you close more deals every day.
The first brings some negotiation techniques for all types of companies.
The second talks about the importance of monitoring the sales metrics relevant to your business.
A hug from CWT, your CRM. #RunCWT