Sales Process, Pipelines & Deal Stages
Guide your sales team towards success with fit-for-purpose sales pipelines.
How To Design a Sales Pipeline
A sales pipeline shows the sequence of actions your sales reps need to take to turn a prospect into a customer. This is based on your sales strategy and sales process. A prospect in the pipeline is expected to advance to the next stage until they reach the final stage of becoming a customer.
The sales pipeline functions as a visual road map for your sales team. At any given point in time, the pipeline makes it transparent where in the buying process a prospect may be. This allows sales reps and managers to create realistic revenue forecasts as they will be able to deduce from factual data how many opportunities are at hand and how many of those might turn into closed deals during a given time frame.
The sales pipeline functions as a visual road map for your sales team.
Not everyone in the pipeline will touch every stage or move along the process the same way. Referrals, for instance, tend to hop over a couple of steps since they have proactively sought you ought. Opportunities in the pipeline will have varying degrees of urgency, interest, and context about your products or services.
Here are the basic steps to building a sales pipeline:
Define the stages of your sales cycle.
There is no one size fits all here. The stages of your sales cycle will depend on your business model and offerings, as well as your sales process. For reference, a common sales cycle might include these stages:
Initial Contact > Qualify Lead > Assess Needs > Present Offer > Negotiation > Closed Won > Closed Lost
Identify how many opportunities typically continue to the next stage.
Unfortunately, not every opportunity will move on to the next stage. Some are simply not a good fit, some may not be entirely sold, some may not close within this timeframe but may do so later.
Work backwards to calculate the number of opportunities you need at every stage to hit your revenue goals.
It’s good to establish a baseline of how many opportunities typically move on from one stage to the next. This will give you an idea of just how many opportunities you need to get to the number in your crosshairs.
Analyze the commonalities between opportunities that convert on very stage.
Are there any common triggers like follow-up emails or demos? Understanding what makes your prospect tick is vital for your success.
Create a sales process or adapt your existing one around these actions and numbers.
Now that you have priceless information at your hands, it’s time to create a rock solid sales process. Keep one thing in mind though. The best processes are ones that can evolve and adapt with different demands over time. If you find that certain parts of your process are falling short, go back to the drawing board and think about what you can improve.
Creating Multiple Pipelines in Sales Hub Enterprise
It’s not uncommon for companies to have various segments, multiple offerings, and diverse groups of customers and prospects in different industries, geographies, and maybe even product interests. With such diversified customer profiles, your sales cycles are bound to be different.
For companies that offer a wide array of products, move across verticals or operate internationally, sales teams are almost guaranteed to each have their distinct sales processes. The same is true for those with distinct funnels such as new customers versus renewals and up-sells. In cases such as these, there’s no need to purchase separate CRM solutions or worse — confuse everyone by plugging all the opportunities in the same pipeline.
With Sales Hub Enterprise your team can simply create multiple deal pipelines. To create a new pipeline, simply go to Settings > Deals, and scroll down to the section for Editing Deal Stages. Click Manage Pipelines, and you’ll see a new link to Add Pipeline.
BONUS | How can you tell if your sales process works? These questions will help you figure out if you need to adjust your sales process.
- How long does your prospects typically stay in each stage?
- What stage, if any, do your prospects seem to be stuck on longer?
- What percentage of prospects close after talking to your sales reps?
- What percentage of prospects request further interaction after a discover call?
- What is your churn rate? Churn rate can be indicative of a number of issues including whether or not you are not vetting prospects properly.