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Establishing a Sales Pipeline: What Is It, Why You Need It, and How To Create One?

Often confused with sales funnels, a pipeline is a process. A funnel is more analytical in nature. Both are essential, so it’s important to understand the difference between the two. It’s never too late to create a sales pipeline strategy. Once created, it should be refined as needed. Let’s dive in and take a closer look.

What Is a Sales Pipeline?

A sales pipeline is a tool used by sales teams to manage the process of selling. It is a visual representation of the steps involved in the sales process from initial contact with a lead to the completed transaction and what comes next. It reflects what the customer does.

A sales funnel refers to where the customer is in the sales process. The focus of the funnel measures how well you are capturing, nurturing, converting leads, and retaining leads. While interconnected, pipelines and funnels serve two different purposes.

Why Do You Need a Pipeline?

If you are already in business and doing well, you may be wondering what the benefits of creating a sales pipeline are. Even if you have a solid funnel in place, a pipeline ensures an intentional strategy.

A pipeline:

  • Is one of many “big picture” elements of your business.

  • Makes it easier to assign tasks to team members.

  • Helps you provide individual feedback to your sales team.

  • Keeps you and your team accountable for your tasks.

  • Helps you forecast your upcoming sales based on current leads.

How to Create a Pipeline?

Some organizations create a 5-step process, some create 7 steps or more. Determine what is right for your individual needs.

Step 1 Lead Generation

This visualizes what tools you will use to generate leads. This may include any combination of:

  • Social media and online ads

  • Search engine optimization

  • Direct mail

  • Event marketing

  • And more

Step 2 Qualification

When utilized properly, most online channels pre-qualify leads—providing a 2-in-1 sales pipeline strategy. Either way, now is the time to reach out directly via email, phone, or text to qualify or hyper-target leads. Via email, this is often an automated process.

Step 3 Meet or Demonstrate

Now it’s time to get specific about how you add value with your product or service. Again, you may demonstrate your value through opt-in email nurturing. Maybe through a free video series. Or you may connect directly via phone, video, or a live meeting.

Step 4 Proposal

If a lead still wants to learn more, it’s time to offer them a proposal. At the end of a free video series, this may be an offer to purchase your product. After direct contact, it will be a personalized proposal.

Step 5 Close the Deal

Now you either make the sale, or your lead goes cold. Cold leads aren’t necessarily lost for good, as the timing may not be right. Continue nurturing cold leads with email marketing.

Step 6 Retain

This step is often forgotten, but essential. Retaining a client means different things to different business models. For monthly subscriptions or services, it means ensuring quality products or services. For one-off purchasing, it means staying in touch. For many brands, it means building and maintaining contact and community.

Need Help Creating Your Sales Pipeline Strategy?

Business consulting is one of many services provided by TEK REMEDY. This can include creating or refining your pipeline or funnel. We can also provide supportive tactics for your strategy, including social media marketing for lead generation and lead nurturing campaigns.

Reach out today to discuss your unique needs!

Keyword: sales pipeline strategy

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