So, your sales pipeline has slowed or stopped delivering altogether. Aside from a global pandemic, there could be several reasons business is down on your first half-year targets.
Like a frustrated brewer crouched at the end of a long and complex alcohol still, you’re waiting patiently – make that desperately – for some liquid gold to drop out into your cup.
If your sales pipeline has gone quiet and still (apologies, couldn’t resist the pun!), here are five key places to tap to release more revenue into your business.
One – Check the top of the funnel
This is the easiest place to check – the very top of your sales funnel. Can you see anything in there, or are you staring down into a black hole?
If there is nothing new going into your sales pipeline, you’ll eventually find there is nothing new coming out in the form of confirmed sales.
1) How is your new business development?
- Not your website
- Not your social media posting
How is your proactive, personalised outreach to your ideal customers?
If you’re like many business owners, you might just have been doing marketing but mistakenly calling it sales.
Check that phone calls, personalised emails, social selling, and LinkedIn outreach are being carried out by those in your business who are responsible for sales.
Two – Check that you have a record of volume and frequency for everything going into the top of your sales funnel
1) Does your business have a CRM, a measured way of checking your sales and business development activities?
2) Do you know how to pull data and reports to understand what sales activities are positively (or negatively) impacting your sales results?
3) Does everyone who ‘touches’ current and potential customers use the CRM to record their customer interactions?
Three – Check the middle of the sales pipeline for any blockages
If proactive business development is happening, but still no sales results, you’ll potentially have a blockage somewhere in the middle of your sales pipeline.
1) Do you have full visibility over every part of the customer journey?
2) If you do proposals, what processes do you have in place to prevent customers curling up tightly into a ball while they compare your offering with that of your competitors?
3) Especially for products/services with a long sales cycle, how do you follow up without becoming a pest?
Four – Check all connection points
Check every place where someone from your company is interacting with your customers.
Ask yourself if their interactions are helping to move the sale forward, having no impact, or worse having a negative impact on the likelihood of a confirmed sale.
1) Check all documentation and information that the customer receives from your team
- Is it relevant?
- Is the frequency right for your customer?
- How do your team members use information to keep customer interest alive?
- Are your customers receiving the right amount information?
- Are they receiving too much information?
- Are they receiving little or no information?
2) What market intel have you gathered to understand your competitors’ sales process?
- Do you know where you can improve?
- Do you know which parts of your sales process deliver a competitive advantage to your business?
Five – Check the total distance your sales pipeline covers
Assess how long it takes for your total customer journey – from the top of the funnel through to the bottom of your sales pipeline.
1) What do you think about the length of time this journey takes?
2) How is your customer journey going?
- Could you shorten your customer journey?
- What could you cut without diminishing the customer experience?
- What could you add to enhance the customer experience?
3) Do you ask for customer feedback?
- How do you ask for customer feedback?
- What type of feedback are you getting about the customer journey?
- How do you use positive feedback to build trust with new customers?
4) What is your onboarding process like?
5) Do you have a referral process?
We’re an impatient generation, not used to waiting too long. We want results and we want them now.
If your customer journey is long and torturous, customers might simply be evaporating out of your sales pipeline and into your competitors sales results.
Do you sell high-end products/services? Make sure your customer journey contains enough touchpoints to build trust and keep sales progressing.
Stay calm while you’re checking your sales pipeline, especially if you discover problems within your business. Resist the urge to proverbially ‘kick’ your sales pipeline and force it into action.
Take a careful approach as you massage your customer interactions back to life. Your customers will start moving through your sales pipeline again, distilling into confirmed sales.