As a small business owner, its easy to get caught up in the day to day scramble of doing business, meeting deadlines and all the other thousands of tasks small business owners take on to keep their businesses going. One of the things that is easily forgotten is the sales pipeline. Today we tackle that important sales tool that sometimes eludes us.
Why is a sales pipeline important?
It is easy to focus on the business right in front of you, forgetting that you need to constantly work the sales pipeline to make sure you have a steady flow of leads. Without that flow of leads in various stages of development, your business won’t thrive.
How to build a sales pipeline
There are volumes of books written on the sales pipeline, but we have tried to provide information for you and your small business in an easily digestible format. These are steps that small business owners can take to develop and nurture leads then close the deal. We try to use a sales pipeline in our own small business. Without it, our sales process becomes less of a process and more of a scattershot effort. The goals is to continually feed the sales pipeline with new leads, working to gathering leads that are in the funnel, while reaching back to previous clients for testimonials, referrals and repeat business.
- Create Opportunity. Use your the contact form on your website or social media to capture leads. Then utlize a CRM (customer relationship manager) tool to foster and grow the sales pipeline. There are a myriad of CRM tools out there, but we love Hubspot. They offer a free version that is robust enough for small businesses.
- Connect. Use a pre-determined sequence of emails to introduce yourself then progressively sell your services a bit more until you close the sale. Start with an intro, what you can do for the client, a case study then pitch a consultation.
- Engage. Determine where you lead is in the process. Are they ready to buy? Not yet budgeted? You can track where they are in the process using a CRM.
- Develop a Proposal. Using the information you have about the scope of the project, your rates, estimated time to complete and any costs you may incur on behalf the client, pull together a proposal. Using a proposal template or proposal software will help streamline this process and make for more professional looking proposals.
- Move The Deal to Close. This step takes on many forms from a call or video chat to review the proposal or a free demo. It will all depend on what type of business you have and what types of clients you engage. But this is your chance to
- Close The Deal. This is where you iron out the details via contract. Terms should include not only the cost, but what is expected from both parties in terms of deliverables and timeframe.
- Win (or Lose). Most CRM platforms will indicate this as the last step in the sales funnel. Though we know that this is when the work really begins. If you have landed the client, make sure to continue to fulfill their expectations throughout the process.
At Trivessa, we can provide you with some of the best tools to help you implement a sales pipeline for your business. A mobile responsive website is the first impression your customer has of your business. Social media ads can also be highly effective in filling your pipeline with leads. And once you gather leads and customers, email marketing is effective in closing the sale and re-marketing to them.
Image: Freelancers Union
Original Post: Freelancers Union