Lead generation is a never-ending process that you cannot lose sight of at any point. It is easy to get caught up being focused on the act of closing, but in doing so, you can forget that feeding the top of your pipeline is equally as important. Pipeline management is a valuable a difficult skill to master. As a salesperson, it is your job not to just close new business but to manage all parts of your pipeline at all times.
From organization to organization the sales stages can vary but they all roughly take the same shape. At the top of your pipeline is your prospect pool. Essentially, this is where you generate leads and add them to your pipeline.
As the process moves along your next stage will typically be for qualified prospects. This means that you have actually made contact with them and you have qualified them as prospect that you can sell too. The set of criteria will depend on the internal rules and needs of your business but here is a good general checklist for you to use.
There can be more to it than this, but this is a good universal list to help you understand what goes on in this part of the process.
Next you have the engaged group stage. This group has agreed to a meeting or a presentation, so they have shown interest and you are now actively selling to them. It’s important to keep this part flush with prospects who are showing potential interest in your product or service.
Now we have the negotiation stage and this one should tell you where we’re at just by the name. The negotiation stage means that you have presented or demonstrated your value, you have fielded and answered the prospects questions, and you are now ready to negotiate the price. Some organizations give their salespeople a lot of room for negotiation and others are in a more fixed model where the pricing is what it is. Overall though, this is a good place to be. It is not true for all, but for the most part, any prospect that has gotten this far is saying that for the right price they are in.
Lastly, we have the won or lost opportunities. Eventually you reach the end of the road and a sale is either won or lost. Once you get here you want to put your leads into one of these two buckets and then like any good salesperson you are on to the next.
Alright, back to the top of the funnel we go. We are looking to add leads to the top of our funnel but how do we do that? Well, there are plenty of ways to do this, but email marketing is a great strategy. Marketing emails can be automated meaning they can hit a wide audience in a very short amount of time. By using call to actions that lead email recipients to strong landing pages you can convert these prospects into qualified leads by getting them to submit a form and validate their interest. It is a great way to move quiet prospects to active qualified prospects.
Managing a healthy end to end pipeline is tough work. The best salespeople are able to monitor their entire pipeline and keep each section healthy and strong. This whole process begins with lead generation and is imperative to keep a focus on lead generation at all times.