Stage of the sales pipeline
There are several stages of the sales pipeline:
- New Opportunity
- Custom Stages
Let’s examine each stage in turn:
New opportunity – What is this?
Identify a new lead/opportunity and record their contact information in a CRM system. This record assists in moving the lead from one stage to the next.
Often the most difficult part of the sales process, getting hold of the contact in the first place! The prospect often remains in the sales stage until contact is made, whether that is after one phone call or ten. Once contact is made the outcome of the call is recorded and the pipeline grows depending on the outcome of each call.
This stage of the pipeline is a milestone and by now it should be determined whether the prospect is qualified enough to make a purchase, and how much value that purchase is likely to be.
At this stage something might be offered to the prospect, such as a free consultation to keep them engaged. If this takes place, there could be one of three possible outcomes: the lead is qualified, the lead is qualified but isn’t ready to buy, or the lead is not qualified and is not interested.
At this stage the lead is fully qualified. The contact has the need, budget, and authority to make a purchase. The prospect is often sent relevant paperwork that allows a proposal to be created and the sale closed.
Up until this point, the sales processes for most businesses involves the same general goals: contact, engagement, and qualification. Here things start to change. Some businesses may have unique sales stages, like scheduling an in-person meeting, arranging for a free trial, or sending a product sample. Regardless, this stage is designed to move prospects closer to closing the deal.
As the sales process ends the deal for whatever is being offered is finalised. At this point a proposal is often sent and it is often win or lose – accept or reject.
The sales process ends in either a win or loss. Each scenario might prompt its own set of automated follow-up actions—like a series of welcome emails for a new customer, or a six-month check-in email for a lead who didn’t end up buying.
Who’s actively managing and following up on your sales pipeline? For further information and help on best practice in managing the sales pipeline request our whitepaper: The Power of the Pipeline