Get the Most Out of Your Sales Pipeline

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Sales managers often neglect their sales pipeline by not effectively managing it or using it to its full potential. The end result of this is that revenues decline.

An article, "How Small Changes in Pipeline Management Make Big Changes in Top Line Revenues", By Chuck Schaeffer, provides some valuable ways to optimize  and manage your sales pipeline that will increase your revenue.

Here are some of the highlights:

Pipeline Design

Rather than design the pipeline as a silo storage container for sales opportunities, it's a good idea to build the sales pipeline within the bigger context of a revenue funnel. Designing an integrated lead-to-revenue funnel permits sales and marketing leaders to measure conversions and work backwards from slated revenue targets by knowing exactly what must go into the Top of the Funnel to come out of the bottom.

Pipeline Operation

The single biggest lost opportunity in pipeline development is lead leakage. The second, pursuing unqualified leads that can't be won. According to Sirius Decisions, 80% of leads generated by marketing get ignored by sales. The stats from Gartner, Forrester, and CSO Insights are nearly the same. Far too many marketers continue to throw unqualified leads over the fence to sales.

Hygiene & Maintenance

The truth is a lot of sales people have happy ears and wear rose-colored glasses. This optimistic view leads to overstating the volume and the quality of sales opportunities. I've also found that sales opportunity probabilities linked to sales stage activities tend to overstate the pipeline values. The biggest problem here is that the typical sales activities (qualification, discovery, demo, etc.) are entirely focused on what the sales person does, and not linked to buyer advancement.

For more information, read InfoGrow's article, "Lead to Sales". This will walk you through everything you should know about the sales pipeline and lead generation/management.

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