3 Challenges to Building Sales Pipeline
Financial uncertainty can be a major obstacle for sales teams. Executives and sales managers we’re speaking with are taking this opportunity to ensure they have the right people, processes, and technologies to meet revenue targets.
Unlike a sales funnel focusing on the customer journey, a sales pipeline is a process designed for salespeople with quota attainment and compensation in mind.
Today we’ll explore how sales pipelines are being optimized to increase revenue.
Each new fiscal year, sales teams fractionalize their sales quota into manageable actions. However, once the sales process is broken down into these segments, by going upstream, we see where common inefficiencies often cause sales teams to miss quotas.
Inaccurate or Incomplete Data
The number one issue we see sales reps struggle with starts with good account and contact data for target customers.
- Cold calling: When salespeople lack direct phone numbers, their calls are routed through switchboards, reducing sales velocity because it takes longer to reach target accounts since gatekeepers run interference against any sales efforts.
- Emails: Outdated contacts result in bounced emails, damaging a company’s sender score and guaranteeing outbound emails never reach the target customers’ inbox.
- Firmographic data: The lack of firmographic data causes missed intel needed by sales teams to find ideal customers and craft impactful messaging.
- Buyer intent data: Without buyer intent data, you will lack the ability to identify which potential buyers are actively searching for your products and services, lowering conversion rates and making your outreach less targeted and effective.
- Contact details: Is there a process in place to validate and complete contact data for qualified leads or ideal customer profile (ICP) targets?
- Database integrity: Are good accounts and contacts lumped in with bad ones?
- Target accounts: What determines which prospects are contacted?
- Sales activities: What’s the financial impact of bad contact information?
A wealth of technology solutions are available to solve these issues, but it takes leadership buy-in and a knowledgeable partner to speed up the onboarding to benefits process, improve sales pipeline stages and optimize the buying process.
With the right contact information, it takes many attempts to connect successfully with a potential customer. This is why sales engagement platforms exist because, at a certain point, without the aid of software optimization, the number of daily tasks and the time to accomplish them conventionally became impractical.
- Sales Engagement Platform (SEP): Many companies struggle with outbound prospecting when they only leverage a CRM for outbound because it lacks the optimization necessary to accomplish key metrics that lead to success.
- Research: Pre-qualifying prospects beforehand is important because it avoids wasting precious time only to find out they’re not a fit.
- Conversational intelligence: When sales teams add conversational intelligence into the outbound process, they can identify gaps and replicate winning characteristics, to increase success.
- Cadence playbooks: This allows salespeople to craft unique outbound touches and messaging per buyer persona with varying channels.
- Analytics: Engagement scoring helps salespeople to focus on the right prospects at the right time using a visual representation of the sales process. Sales forecasts are improved using an improved sales pipeline management interface that provides sales pipeline metrics and simple steps the salesperson should make to close each sales opportunity.
- How much time is spent on researching each prospect?
- How many channels are leveraged when contacting a prospect?
- How do you optimize outreach, voice mail drop, automation, and follow-up email tracking?
- Are you able to measure key metrics effectively?
Today some great best-in-class software applications integrate with CRM, inbox, calendar, meeting platforms, video, and more. These tools combine everything into a powerful interface that your salespeople can leverage to increase efficiency and accomplish their sales goals.
Now more than ever, getting inside someone’s inbox is difficult, and poor messaging that lacks research, relevancy, and a persuasive call to action dooms many outbound sales reps.
- Prospecting: outreach should be multi-threaded and multi-channel to produce a strong sales pipeline.
- Automation: With new tools, salespeople can personalize their outbound emails at scale using defined language that is built around anything from applications, new hires, or funding.
- Marketing efforts: Without a clear value proposition, your salespeople will have difficulty connecting the problem you solve for each potential customer. Surprisingly, many companies haven’t created well-defined ideal customer profiles, use cases, and messaging around problems that are solved using their solutions.
- Effective strategy: emails that are a sales pitch or are too long and require the prospect to exert too much mental energy to understand the value proposition.
- Subject lines: An email should provide context with a title and message preview to help the prospect see value in opening an email.
- Video: Many salespeople aren’t leveraging video to accelerate their selling. Video reduces the time needed for a prospect to understand what’s in it for them.
- Close the loop: Good prospecting will cause a prospect to visit the website. Once on the website, the salesperson should be alerted, the prospect score should be increased, and messaging should help them to expand on the value proposition from the sales team. Optimally, the prospect should receive a unique chat message from the salesperson to answer any questions they might have to accelerate the process.
- What percentage of your outbound sales emails are opened, read, and clicked?
- Are your sales reps connecting and having good conversations with prospects or going through the sales process without success?
- What differentiates the messaging used by your number one salesperson from lower performers?
- Has your company broken down each industry, and how your product or service addresses problems that matter to them? Can that be distilled into short snippets?
- Are you segmenting prospects into different outbound campaigns with messaging that matches their requirements, or is all messaging alike?
After breaking down every element of a successful sales pipeline, it becomes pretty clear that today’s competitive landscape requires sellers to pay careful attention to the prospects they choose to reach out to in the first place, the advantage of firmographics, early buying signals, and data accuracy help sales teams to not waste time and energy on accounts that aren’t a fit.
When salespeople leverage the right technology stack, they can generate more conversations and produce enough pipeline to hit revenue targets. The challenge for most companies is the time involved in onboarding a new application and getting it adopted by their sales teams. (Wave has partnered with best-in-class technology solutions to help our clients purchase, integrate and configure these solutions at a significant discount. We take the burden off the client for onboarding, integration, and optimizing the system before their team logs into the system).
When marketing and sales teams work together to create clear value propositions that resonate with potential buyers’ unique industry challenges, the Sales Development Representatives, Channel Development Representatives, and Account Executive’s sales efforts are made much easier, and more importantly, average win rates go up significantly.
Sales messaging and tactics can change, but building your pitch around solving a prospect’s challenges never changes. When a sales team leverages conversational intelligence and sales engagement platforms, it helps to identify winning elements like talking points, messaging, and tactics and allows salespeople to level up their expertise, boosting confidence while increasing revenue for the company.
With our experience working as an extension of many B2B companies, we’ve seen what works and what doesn’t and how the right people, processes, and technologies determine success.
While Wave is known for our sales as a service offering, our mission is to not only help you with additional sales resources but to help you build a sales pipeline using best-in-class technology solutions and benefit from them through our accelerated onboarding, integration, and playbook development services.
Discover how our services can help your sales and marketing teams achieve significant gains in productivity and grow revenue.
To find out how your organization can benefit from partnering with Wave, send us a note, and we’ll schedule a demonstration of our program and how we’re solving these business challenges, and more.
Contact Wave for more information at 858-252-2880.
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