6 common sales pipeline mistakes
1) Letting the pipeline go dry
Sales pipelines are just an indicative number of deals that your business has. While it might look like you have a lot of deals in your pipeline for this month, many may not convert immediately, so always having more deals in the pipeline helps.
To prevent your pipeline from running dry, always ensure your salespeople have more deals than their target. If the target is 4 deals a quarter, then they have to have at least 6-8 deals in their pipeline for four to convert.
"Lack of lead generation often leads to drying up of the funnel. You need to focus on having long-term constant lead generation processes in place to ensure you have enough deals in the sales pipeline.”
Naveed Ahmer, Product Marketing Manager, Keka
2) Long sales cycle
Often, sales cycles are lengthy and might reduce the prospect’s desire to buy your product if they have to jump through a lot of hoops. Shorten your sales cycle and ensure there aren’t any hurdles in your sales pipeline. A shorter sales cycle means your team is closing deals faster month-on-month, and hence bringing in more money as well as achieving their sales targets. You can also identify which deals are taking longer than your sales cycle and the effort you need to put in for a faster turnaround.
3) Lack of coordination
Your prospect may have to interact with different departments in your company in their buying journey. During hand-offs from one team to another, there is potential for an error to occur.
Mistakes with the highest impact on value of deals closed usually happen during hand-offs. From the Marketing team to SDRs and from SDRs to AEs, deals are passed on from hand-to-hand, often without context. Deals can be lost or followed up late and this often leads to a lost deal
Marek Beran, Head of Sales, Cloudtalk.io
Ensure that each team working on the sale makes a smooth transition onto the next department and is up-to-date with all the information related to that deal. Often, miscommunication and lack of coordination among members of different teams can result in a lost deal.
Better communication and coordination between teams will help deals flow faster through the sales pipeline.
One of the major sales pipeline mistakes is having an uninformed team. While tracking your sales prospects is important, keeping track of what others are doing is more crucial. Imagine reaching out to a prospect after the deal has been closed by one of your team members. In one word, it's chaos. You need a CRM that provides real-time updates.
Pritha Bose, Senior Content Marketer, Automate.io.
4) Understanding customers
Often, salespeople try to push a deal through the pipeline, without providing proper attention and care required by different prospects. Some prospects may need more hand-holding than others, while others may grasp your product relatively more quickly.
If a prospect is not sure of your product, but your salesperson assumes the prospect knows everything and has moved them to the ‘Interested’ stage, then this would result in clogging of the sales pipeline. Get an in-depth understanding of your customers’ needs before pushing them through the sales pipeline.
Mistakes are our most important learning tools. In the beginning, we often prioritized “more lucrative” deals rather than recognizing the “right” deals. We’ve learned that, although a colossal deal might seem attractive, you have to consider fulfillment requirements and if the client has synergy with your team—after all, we want partnerships, not clients.
Vincent Bucciachio, founder of SociallyInfused Media
5) Lack of deal insights
At times, your salespeople may be flooded with work and not know which deals to prioritize. This results in a crowded pipeline and could lead to lost deals. Often, it is easy to lose sight of where deals are in the pipeline. Salespeople have to track how many days a deal has been stagnant, if the associated lead has shown signs of interest, what is the degree of interest, and what are the sales activities conducted in the last 30 days, etc. Without such extensive tracking, salespeople are often not sure which deals to focus on.
Implementing a CRM that provides AI-powered deal insights (deal scoring, for instance) can help you determine how your deal pipeline is faring. It also predicts the next best action to take, based on past deal characteristics, to help you make better decisions and win more deals. You can also track parameters such as the frequency of sales activities in the last 30 days and the sales engagement rate.
Deal scoring is extremely valuable only if executed correctly. We use a scoring system where every time a user performs an action, for example, visits our website or blog, they get 5 points. Once a user can effectively score up to enough points (40) they become an MQL (marketing qualified lead), at which point we begin using a sophisticated nurturing process. That quickly brings the lead up to become an SQL (sales qualified lead) where the real conversions happen.
Kas Andz, Founder, Kas Andz Marketing Group
6) Focusing only on one stage
Too often, we focus on one important development at one particular stage of a deal, and then later lose track of the deals in the sales pipeline.
One of the most common mistakes I see is businesses over-emphasizing one of the steps at the expense of others. For example, businesses invest heavily in aggressive marketing, but once they get a customer to their website there’s no support or a lack of user friendly purchasing interface. Much like a real pipe, a sales pipeline will only flow smoothly if it’s clear of blockage along its entirety.
Nikola Baldikov, Digital Marketing Manager at Brosix