If the words forecasting and pipeline management conjure images of storm clouds and plumbing, it’s time to revise your sales process. In today’s attention-deficient world, sales teams have to relentlessly pursue customers along every step of their sales pipeline. And if you’re not efficiently managing this pipeline, you could be losing up to 15% of potential growth.
Between implementing new technology and restructuring your team, we have some excellent tips to improve your pipeline management and sales forecasting.
#1: Build Up Your Tracking Skills
Sales tracking is no guessing game. When every second of customer interaction can turn into usable data, forecasting requires intense analysis to create solid revenue prediction.
First, identify all steps of sale for your business (most have five to seven). From prospecting to closing, you should measure customer follow-through with each step and determine areas with the highest drop-off.
Need help with swarths of sales data? Look into sales effectiveness software such as Hubspot, which can provide customized graphic reports and data-backed forecasts.
#2: Stay Ahead of Market Trends
Like your friend who takes the best pictures with the newest iPhone, staying ahead of trends has its benefits. When it comes to sales, market trends can majorly affect your forecasts. If you want to keep your eyes on the sales-prize, take some of these factors into account:
- Competitors – Keep your friends close, and your enemies—ahem, friendly competition—closer. Noting the sales strategies and success of your rivals can help you differentiate or strengthen your own sales approach.
- Market interest rates – Was college the last time you heard “macroeconomics”? Time to refocus on overarching market trends. For example, mortgage bank pipeline forecasting can help you predict customers’ willingness to spend since more defaults mean less expendable income.
- Customer interest – Nothing trumps good ‘ol human intuition. Using search engine data and culture analysis, you can target areas of rising interest that relate to your products or services.
#3: Select Your Squad
Technology can do wonders for crunching numbers. But at the end of the day, your customers are people, not robots. And to properly analyze human customer interactions, you need manpower on your team. Throw it back to third-grade kickball and start forming the squad of your dreams.
For quality assessment, KPI’s (key performance indicators) are excellent measurements for analyzing your sales teams—sales growth, customer churn, and the like.
And don’t forget your team structure. Having a top-tier project leader can inspire any crew to put their best foot forward. Throw in routine training and motivational tools (for example, points-based games with prizes) to keep workers as inspired as the football team in Friday Night Lights. Clear eyes, full hearts… great sales?
#4: Expand Your Prospects
Marketing, targeting, hunting—whatever you call it, you have to focus on prospecting customers. With all the dance crazes on TikTok and viral Instagram challenges distracting the entire internet, it can be hard to grab the attention of potential buyers.
But do not fear the web. Online marketing is still the hot spot for reaching more customers. Here are a few target areas to turn eCommerce into your sales team’s best friend:
- Social media – Whether you like it or not, everyone from your boss to your grandma is on social media. Target platforms popular among your top customer demographics to maximize reach.
- Email marketing – Don’t sleep on this classic communication method. Cheap, customizable, and repeatable, email marketing services provide an excellent way to alert customers of deals and sales.
- SEO strategies – Think of how often you use Google (probably more than you’d like to admit). Search engine optimization can help push your website to the top of result pages just by isolating key phrases.
Think Growth, Not Glory
Think of pipeline management like yoga or meditation, rather than a soccer game: continual growth overachieving a singular goal. With a few of these tips, you can break down every step of the sales process to guarantee your customers are coming back for more.