Visualizing Your Sales Pipeline: Why You Need It and How to Use It

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A sales pipeline is a visual representation or overview of potential customers' steps before becoming actual customers. It typically includes stages like prospecting, lead qualification, proposal, and closing the deal. Sales teams use a pipeline to track where each prospect is in the sales process and to ensure they take the necessary steps to move closer to becoming a customer. By monitoring your pipeline, you can identify areas where they need to improve their sales process and take action to increase their chances of closing more deals. This article will discuss why you need a visual sales pipeline.

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Visualizing Your Sales Pipeline: Why You Need It and How to Do It
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Why Visualize Your Sales Pipeline?

Modern sales teams are leveraging software to track all interactions in their sales process, both theirs and the ones of their prospects. This makes it far easier to keep track of their sales pipeline, as most of these interactions can be measured autonomously. The best tools on the market even automate pipeline movement on your sales pipeline.

Sales pipeline management software helps sales teams manage their prospects by tracking their interactions and organizing all their information in one central place. When represented visually, the percentages of each sales stage can give a much clearer picture of how things are going during your sales process. This data gives insight into how much time is spent in each stage, how many customers are being converted, and more. Seeing this data in a graph or chart helps make it easier to digest than if you were looking at numbers alone.

Specialized sales software can track every interaction a prospect has with your company, from their first point of contact to becoming a paying customer. Knowing the percentages of each sales stage is essential to any sales team's success, as you can then work your way back and know how many prospects you need at any given stage. It's also helpful to see the progress and understand where there's room for improvement. Here are other benefits of visualizing your funnel:

Keeping track of your prospects is vital because it lets you see which prospects are moving through your sales pipeline and which are stagnating. It also allows you to see which prospects are the most valuable so that you can focus your attention on them. When you can also track your interaction with prospects, you can easily see what's working and what's not. It gives you a good insight into the buyer behavior of your ideal customer profile.

If you're constantly sending emails but never getting responses, you know it's time to try something else. If you're getting responses, but no one is taking a meeting, then you know there's an issue with your pitch or value drivers. Low conversions indicate that some changes need to be made to increase conversions - increasing outreach efforts or optimizing your sales deck - so that more prospects convert into paying customers. Either way, being able to track these things is essential for understanding the state of your sales pipeline and making necessary adjustments.

What Stages Does a B2B Pipeline Usually Have?

A B2B sales pipeline is typically divided into several stages, each representing a different step in turning a prospect into a paying customer. The stages of the pipeline help sales representatives track and measure their progress, identify areas that need improvement, and make data-driven decisions to improve their sales performance.

The first stage in the B2B sales pipeline is qualification. In this stage, the sales representative assesses the prospect's needs and determines whether they are a good fit for the product or service being offered. This stage is critical because it helps the sales representative focus their efforts on the most promising prospects and avoid wasting time on prospects that are unlikely to convert into customers.

Once a prospect is qualified, the next stage is the proposal stage. In this stage, the sales representative creates a proposal outlining the features and benefits of the product or service and how it will meet the prospect's needs. The proposal typically includes pricing and other relevant details to the prospect's decision-making process.

The negotiation stage follows the proposal stage. In this stage, the sales representative and prospect negotiate the terms of the agreement, such as the price, delivery schedule, and payment terms. The negotiation stage is an important part of the B2B sales pipeline because it can be the difference between closing a deal and losing a customer.

Once the terms of the agreement have been negotiated and agreed upon, the next stage is finalizing the agreement. In this stage, the sales representative and prospect finalize the agreement details and sign a contract.

The final stage of the B2B sales pipeline is deal won/lost. In this stage, the sales representative either closes the deal, and the prospect becomes a paying customer, or the deal falls through, and the prospect is lost. This stage provides valuable feedback to the sales representative and helps them evaluate their performance and improve their sales process.

Best Things to Have In Your Sales Pipeline Dashboard

Visualizing your pipeline and using appropriate software to track its progress is a good first step, but maximizing its effectiveness is important. When investing in your pipeline process, make sure your dashboard displays all available data so that you can coach your team more effectively. To improve their performance, it's crucial to include the right metrics on your dashboard, such as analytics on funnel movement, prospect sources, and activities like emails, content links, calls, and meetings.

If your software also includes troubleshooting features, you can easily identify any blocks or bottlenecks within the pipeline that require attention. This would be even better for enhancing your pipeline's effectiveness.

Here's the minimum we suggest:

The number of meetings planned or prospects moved to the opportunity or deal stage.

Percentage moved in or out of the stage
You'd want to know how efficient or focused your sales reps are on moving prospects within the pipeline. Movements in and out of stages within the pipeline indicate where they might need extra coaching.

The current amount of prospects in each stage
You'd also want to see that funnel shape within the visualized pipeline, as it reflects the above percentage. Knowing the number of prospects in each stage to the previous stage shows a healthy or unhealthy funnel.

The shortest/longest/average stay within a stage
This helps you get insights into how long it takes a prospect to go from A to Z and how long your conversion time is. At times this might be a KPI to ensure that your sales reps are not taking too long about the sales process.

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Sales pipeline management software or a sales CRM is essential for any business wanting to increase conversion rates and close more deals. If you're not using a sales pipeline or sales CRM, you'll likely lose out on potential customers and revenue. If you are, you can track every interaction a prospect has with your company and make necessary adjustments to improve your conversion rates.