Show of hands, who has enough sales and viable leads in their pipeline? Chances are, you could do with a few more. As a sales team, you can never have enough of them.
But every prospect is going to be at a slightly different point in the buying cycle, and not every lead in the pipeline is going to convert into a customer. So, cultivating and maintaining a healthy sales pipeline is critical for sales teams that need to hit ambitious growth targets. SMB owners and startup founders are equally motivated to achieve revenue targets.
In this article, we cover five things you can do today to increase the number of viable leads in your sales pipeline.
1. Simplify Your Pitch
How often do your prospects have difficulty understanding exactly what you offer or why they need it?
Even if you’ve qualified them as a potential client, or reached out to them, messaging can act as a barrier. Too often, there’s a misalignment between what you understand and what a prospect understands. At times, this can prove too much of a leap for an unsure prospect, costing you a sale.
If prospects ask a lot of seemingly obvious questions, it’s a sign that your messaging — marketing, sales material, website — isn’t working hard enough to sell your product or service.
A quick solution is to start asking why. Why was the company founded? What problems can the company solve for clients? And finally, how does your company solve them? Your why, what and how are key building blocks for a clear messaging strategy. If your company’s website, marketing and sales material don’t make all of this clear then that could be part of the problem.
Additional solutions are to draft new messages or ask the marketing department to put something together, based on these notes. Pretty soon, you’ll see results when pitching this new approach to potential sales leads.
2. Use LinkedIn Sales Navigator
LinkedIn Sales Navigator is a popular subscription-based sales solution. It starts with a 30-day free trial, and then costs $79.99 per month (save 25% with an annual license), giving you the ability to send 20 InMail messages per month. Team and Enterprise options are also available. With the monthly plans, you can cancel at any time.
According to LinkedIn, those who use Sales Navigator benefit from:
- 5% Higher Win Rates
- 35% Larger Deal Sizes
- 34% of Opportunities Sourced
- 61% of Revenue Influenced
To get Navigator, you don’t need a Premium LinkedIn account, although that will increase the number of InMail messages you can send.
3. Always Ask for Referrals
It really is that simple. Referrals increase the number of prospects in the pipeline. Even if they don’t come through straight away, clients will refer new business your way when they encounter those who need your services.
Make it an actionable item as part of the client onboarding and management process. Always ask within the first three to six months of an ongoing relationship.
Once you know they’re happy with the product/service, schedule a check-in call or meeting. From there, ask if they know anyone who could benefit from what you offer.
4. Simplify Booking for Clients
When you try to book something, you want it to be as easy as possible, right? Well, sales prospects feel the same way. Websites and landing pages need clear calls-to-action (CTA) and an integrated booking tool.
Ideally, a CTA should connect directly with a calendar that gives leads the ability to schedule a time. It’s equally useful to ensure this is linked from other online platforms too, such as social networks (including LinkedIn profiles), and email footers. Make it easy for prospects to book a call through useful tools like Calendly.
If you have the sales resources needed to quickly call prospects back, another approach is to add a widget to your website. It can let prospects request a phone call and notifies your sales team of the hot lead. If you’re available, you can call back immediately, wowing the prospect and making it likelier that you maybe even sell them in the first phone call. CrankWheel is a useful tool that provides such a widget and finds a salesperson from your team to make the call.
5. Qualify Leads Quicker
In the excitement of getting a lead, business owners can forget to ask a few crucial questions. Instead, you could end up having dozens of leads in the pipeline without knowing which would really benefit from what you sell. Moreover, you need to know who has an urgent need for your services and who will be worth the expense of chasing down to close the deal.
Make sure to ask questions that clarify whether the person you’re speaking to has budgetary authority. Have a list of qualifying questions and use the first conversation to establish whether a prospect is feasible. This way, you avoid wasting time. It’s better to take prospects out of the pipeline early than to invest time in something impractical.
Having enough leads in your pipeline takes consistent work. Get them in, qualify them, and keep pulling new ones in while working on the most viable. We hope that the steps in this article prove useful for you and your small business.
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