Every business has a sales pipeline. What’s a sales pipeline? In short, it’s the journey people take to become customers at your company. But while every business has a sales pipeline, not every business makes a point of tracking or managing it—something you should definitely do.
Your professional services company can greatly benefit from working to track and streamline your pipeline. Doing so can help you optimize it to drive more conversions and revenue. But you might not be sure how to manage a sales pipeline for a professional services company.
If that’s the case, don’t worry. In this blog post, we’ll discuss several ways to optimize your professional services sales pipeline management. Keep reading to find out more.
How to manage a sales pipeline for a professional services company
There are several different strategies you can use to streamline your sales pipeline and earn more revenue. Here are six of them:
1. Define your professional services sales pipeline stages
One of the first things to know about a sales pipeline is that it has different stages. What are those stages? Well, that depends. It’s up to you to decide how you break down your pipeline. That said, here are some of the most common pipeline stages:
Prospecting: Spreading brand awareness through top-of-funnel marketing
Lead qualification: Using lead magnets to identify your leads
Initial meeting: Meeting with leads to explain what you can offer them
Needs analysis and proposal: Identifying leads’ unique needs and drawing up a proposal
Negotiation and commitment: Working out any changes to the proposal or pricing
Deal close: Closing the sale
Follow-up and retention: Continuing to provide support to the client post-purchase
However you define the stages of your pipeline, it’s important that those stages allow you to track where your leads are in the pipeline at any given time.
2. Keep your sales cycle short
The last type of sales cycle you want is a long one. That’s because the longer it takes for people to move through the pipeline, the more likely it is that they’ll lose patience and choose a competitor instead. Furthermore, even if they stick with it, a long sales cycle means your revenue stream slows down to a trickle.
Basically, if your sales cycle is too slow, you’ll drive fewer sales and earn less revenue. The solution, then, is to try and speed it up as much as you can. There are a few ways to do that, including:
Addressing your leads’ pain points
Improving your audience targeting
Automating mundane sales tasks
By using these tactics to speed up your sales cycle, you’ll improve the health and productivity of your pipeline as a whole.
3. Use a CRM for your sales pipeline management
When it comes to sales pipeline management, one thing’s certain—you don’t want to attempt it without the proper tools. Having the right tools can make a world of difference in managing a professional services pipeline. In particular, you want to make sure you’re using a customer relationship management (CRM) platform.
A CRM gathers, stores, categorizes, and analyzes customer data in a single, centralized location. On top of that, many CRMs can generate in-depth, customized reports about your leads and customers. Those reports show you deep insights into who your leads are and what they want.
Because of all those features, using a CRM is unquestionably one of the best ways to improve how you manage your pipeline.
4. Use sales automation tools
Automation is one of the best forms of marketing and sales technology out there. Odds are, there are countless mundane tasks you have to wade through every single day before you can get to the “big picture” items. But guess what? An automation tool can handle those tasks for you.
When you automate routine tasks like sending out welcome emails or migrating data, you can free up your whole team to invest their time in more important tasks. That means your entire sales pipeline benefits.
Best of all, if you’re already using a CRM, there’s a good chance it already includes sales automation features. That means you may not have to get a separate tool to handle the automation side of things.
5. Prioritize your leads with lead scoring
Lead scoring is another great method of managing a professional services pipeline. What is lead scoring? Essentially, it’s where you assign numerical values to all your leads based on how likely they are to convert. Those with higher scores are more likely to convert.
The reason for lead scoring is that it allows you to prioritize your leads. Without lead scoring, you might waste valuable time trying to convert leads who aren’t actually that interested—and in the meantime, the leads that are interested get tired of waiting and leave.
Lead scoring lets you focus on converting the leads you know are the most likely to buy and then address the less interested leads only after those conversions happen. That enables your whole pipeline to flow more smoothly and drive more sales.
6. Use a data-driven approach to your professional services sales pipeline
Finally, it’s vital to optimize your sales pipeline based on data. By analyzing information about your leads and customers, you can figure out the best ways of targeting them with your marketing and sales efforts. Your data can teach you how to satisfy their needs and interests, driving up your sales.
To that end, be sure to track as much customer data as possible and take the time to analyze it thoroughly. Here’s yet another avenue where your CRM can help you, since the entire purpose of CRMs is to gather customer data for analysis. Some, as mentioned earlier, even let you generate customized reports.
Nutshell is the optimal CRM choice for your professional services sales pipeline
Looking for a CRM for your professional services company? Nutshell is the perfect choice. It comes with all the CRM features already mentioned in this blog post, from sales automation to customized reporting features. Plus, if you have any questions or issues, you can get help from our customer support team.
Want to learn more about what Nutshell can do for your professional services company? Find out for yourself with our 14-day free trial today!