Prospects are one of the factors that keep a business alive. Salespeople have to turn those prospects into clients that will stick to your product or service for a long time.
This task isn't as easy as it should be, especially if your pipeline gets clogged with prospects who haven't contacted you back in years.
Here’s how to manage your sales pipeline, and make room for more prospects that will turn into clients.
Keep Your Data up to Date
If a lead was good six months ago and then dropped off the surface of the Earth, touch base with them.
Ensure that their information is correct - everything from their email address to phone number, especially since almost ten percent of businesses in the United States relocate every year.
Failing to update your data could leave a lot of your leads deprecated and cause resources to be wasted every time an email is sent to the wrong address.
Always Track the Source
When working on your lead database, take the time to look at the sources that bring in your prospects.
The source matters since it tells you where prospects are getting to know about you and where to put your effort and money into canvassing or advertising. If you find sources that don't turn out much of a result, you can nip them in the bud so you don't waste more money on them.
Respond to Leads Quickly
When you fail to follow up with a lead in a timely fashion, your company is no longer on that lead’s mind. Ensure success by responding quickly and thoroughlyin order to keep your prospect’s attention.
There are a billion things that leads could have on their mind right now - make sure your company is one of them.
Train Your Sales Team to Recognize a Good Lead
Salespeople should be experts on identifying great leads for your company. If they can’t recognize a valuable lead, it could kill your business.
Managers need to assure their team is well-trained on recognizing signs of a good lead, initiating contact, and what further information they should be trying to glean.
Use Your CRM for All It’s Worth
Don't let your CRM go to waste. Ensure that your team is regularly updating your CRM or any database that you use for more than just note-taking on customers.
As a sales manager, you can have meetings or send out informative team emails on how to find good leads in your system that have gotten left behind. Your CRM is a goldmine of information - there's a reason why every single point was put into there. It is your job to help your team realize what those reasons are.
Communicate Regularly With Your Leads
If you aren’t keeping on top of your prospects, your competitors are. Take the time to reach out to your leads, keep them up to date on your business, and let them know they matter to your company. You don't have to write them a thirty-page email every day, but make sure they know your company values them.
Measure Every Interaction
Measuring every interaction you have with prospects will help you recognize if an opportunity is good or bad.
How interested did they seem? How often do they reply? Are they from an active demographic or source that buys more often? By tracking every detail of your interactions, you can turn a lot more prospects into clients.
Keep Your CRM System Clean
Keeping useless leads in your system is going to clog up your pipeline. There’s no point in holding on to leads that haven't responded in years or those that come from poor sources. Pulling out the bad ones allows your team to focus on the available good. Lead quality matters for revenue growth, so it’s vital that you don’t waste time on terrible leads.
Use Your Leads to Find New Leads
If you find that a lot of leads are from one area or business type, lean into that!
Your successful leads are a straight arrow to your next one if you can get the information out of them. Any lead you get could be a client in the future, so it's essential to gather as many viable prospects as you can from a good source.
Review Your Process Often
Is there anything in your sales process that keeps causing a problem for your team? Do they mention things that can be improved or changed for the better?
Don't just set up your process and hope it'll work forever; you have to keep an eye on how it works for everyone involved. If you're not getting more clients, or more leads are vanishing instead of working with you, it's time for a change.
Your sales pipeline is a goldmine of opportunity that is filled with new potential clients who will help your business grow. If you let it go to waste, you could be costing your company hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Take the time to cull leads that go nowhere, set up systems to recognize good leads, and push forward into contacting quickly and effectively.
About the Author: Grace Frenson is a freelance writer from Philadelphia. She recently graduated from Drexel University with a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration. While studying for her degree, she interned under a notable marketing consultant in King of Prussia. PA.