"Keep your sales pipeline full by prospecting continuously. Always have more people to see than you have time to see them." - Brian Tracy.
A healthy sales pipeline is a sign of the effectiveness of your sales process, performance, productivity, motivation, and many more.
But how much do you know about sales pipelines?
In this article, we will walk you through the B2B sales pipeline, the different stages of a B2B pipeline, and its benefits.
So scroll down for more.
What is a B2B sales pipeline?
A well-optimized B2B sales pipeline is a crucial component of B2B SaaS marketing, as it guides the customer journey from lead generation to deal closure, ensuring a streamlined and effective conversion process.
A potential lead goes through seven stages during their customer journey with a company. These seven stages include Prospecting, Qualification, Meeting, Proposal, Negotiation, Deal Won/Lost, and Retention.
Building a B2B pipeline and marking their lead’s position helps sales reps to better monitor and keep track of their prospects.
What are the different stages of the B2B sales Pipeline?
Generally, a B2B sales pipeline has six to seven stages from generating a new lead to closing a deal. Let's look into these B2B sales pipeline stages in detail.
- Lead Generation
Lead generation is the first phase of the sales pipeline where potential customers are contacted to generate interest in them. They are the potential customer contacts that sales reps gather and who will eventually lead to the closing of deals.
The lead generation stage has a large number of leads who will probably come under your customer demographics. But qualification is the second process where you filter out depending on your ideal customer profile, market, industry, pain points, etc. The second stage has prospects who have a higher chance of becoming your trusted clients.
Salesforce sits multiple meetings like discovery calls and product demos with their prospects. During the discovery call the salesforce understands the challenges and pain points that the company is facing. In the product demo session, they show the product, its features, and benefits to the client.
Following the demo session and meetings, the client decides to go forward with the product. During the proposal phase, the company projects the benefit of incorporating the product, the pricing value, and the overall advantage of the product.
Before signing the final document, every company goes through a negotiation phase. Here both parties finalize the prices, the product features, custom requirements if any, etc.
- Deal Won/Lost
After going through the final contract draft, the client decides whether to sign the deal or not. Depending upon the prospect's decision the company can decide to celebrate their win or resume their sales process.
Most of the time, companies think that the sales cycle is done once the deal is won. But it's after the signing of the papers that the actual sales start. It's often said that the cost of maintaining a client is much lower than onboarding a new client. Hence, retention of existing customers through seamless customer service also comes under a full sales cycle.
Hence, companies must be focused not just on bringing in new customers to the business but also on ensuring a smooth onboarding as well as a seamless customer retention process.
For further reading, check Understanding Pipeline Coverage: What It Is and Why It Matters.
Benefits of Effective B2B Pipeline
An efficient sales rep might have 50-100 leads in their pipeline at a time. Monitoring each prospect and tracking their progress can get confusing with such a large number to manage.
Furthermore, implementing B2B sales automation within your sales pipeline category can provide real-time insights and data-driven decision-making, further optimizing your sales process and maximizing revenue potential.
- Track the Lead Position
When your sales pipeline is full of potential customers, giving due attention to each becomes hard. A sales pipeline helps keep track of each lead position thereby determining the follow-ups and strategies required to move them to the next stage.
- Plan the Next Step
The follow-up calls to be made and messages to be sent are different for each prospect depending on their pipeline stage. Knowing how their previous response was and determining the B2B sales pipeline metrics will help the salesforce to determine their next step and approach to their potential customer.
- Determine the Customer's Interest
Sales pipeline also helps determine customer interest. Filtering each prospect as cold, warm, and neutral will help salesforce understand the chances of conversion, prioritize their leads, and focus their effort on prospects who will close a deal.
- Predict the Revenue
Determining the position of each prospect will also help predict the revenue. Sales pipeline will help determine the interest of each prospect and how fast they will pass through each stage. These calculations will thus help in efficient revenue management.
- Monitor Sales Performance
The number of prospects in your sales pipeline and their position in each stage is also a critical metric for sales performance. Therefore, monitoring the salesforce pipeline, along with utilizing a Sales Pipeline calculator, will provide valuable insights into sales activities and performance. This information can help in making informed decisions about incentives for the sales t
- Gain Valuable Insights
The sales pipeline is an effective tool that gives a visual representation of the number of potential clients for a salesperson, while the sales funnel, representing the stages of the buyer's journey, further aids in predicting the probable number of sales and revenue for the year and tracking the sales performance.
Incorporating a visual representation of your operations makes the monitoring and tracking process easier backed by valuable data and insights.
For further reading, check Sales in Motion: The Sales Pipeline.
The biggest advantage of building a sales pipeline is the clarity it brings to your sales cycle. Having a visual representation helps to monitor, track, and understand the progress of your work.
Giving people visibility in the work they do and the progress they make has a huge impact on their performance and motivation. It helps them self-evaluate their work, focus on their goals, and plan ways to improve their productivity.
Automation of your incentive compensation program also gives all these benefits while monitoring your sales force performance and productivity.
Kennect builds, runs, and automates your incentive compensation plans to create transparency and achieve operational efficiency. For more information, Book A Demo Now!