HARDISON’S TIPS – OCTOBER 7, 2021 – Is It Time to Put Your Pipeline on a Diet? (PT.1)
In the “bigger is better” world of business, it seems ridiculous to suggest that your sales pipeline might be too big, right? Truth is, a leaner, meaner pipeline can make your sales efforts more efficient, increase your sales conversion rate, and boost your bottom line. Let’s take a look at why this is true and how to make it happen:
Sales is a Numbers Game, but…
Are your conversion rates lower than you’d like? Does it take 10 prospects, 15, 20, to result in one sale over time? If so, it’s tempting to think that the top of your sales funnel needs to be particularly fat in order to get an acceptable number of deals to squeeze out the bottom. But if this describes your situation, it might be symptomatic of several problems:
- Your sales processes are inefficient
- Your sales team has difficulty qualifying (and disqualifying) leads throughout the sales cycle
- Your conversion tactics are lacking
In other words, the cure for problems like these is not a bigger pipeline, but a higher quality pipeline, one whose early stage prospects are more likely to become customers. How can you make that happen?
Use a CRM
Many business owners and Sales Managers still don’t use a CRM system. Why not? Maybe it’s fear of the unknown for sales team leaders who are not technophiles; maybe it’s cost vs. perceived ROI; maybe it’s just reluctance to change. But in any hyper-competitive industry today –especially when your competitors have the advantage of modern sales tools – it pays to use a customized CRM system.
A CRM system that is suited to your industry, your market and your sales organization can reveal data you might have overlooked before. It can highlight fixable problem areas. It can help you identify stalled deals and unlikely-to-close prospects. It can put you in control so you can make meaningful changes to your sales strategy and your sales processes.
But a standard, off-the-shelf and uncustomized CRM might also mean that you will have to make compromises and assumptions concerning the data. A better bet is a CRM system that can be customized to your sales organization’s unique needs. While that might cost a bit more than a one-size-fits-most version, it will likely pay for itself quicker than you think. As long as the sales team members are using it effectively.