How to Build a Sales Pipeline

Steve Martinez

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Many salespeople or businesses never build a sales pipeline that will deliver the results needed to become successful. These are guidelines for building a successful sales pipeline. Before we begin, we must define what a sales pipeline is.

A sales pipeline is any list of qualified prospects that aren't ready to buy right now.

A good analogy is fruit on a fruit tree that hasn't ripened. You many have qualified these suspects as good prospects for customers. However, you must be around when these prospects are ready to buy. If you don't build a contact pipeline to them, these prospect opportunities will wither away. Worse yet, someone else will be around when the prospect ripens and you miss out on new business.

Follow the Best Practices of Selling When a master gardener lays the foundation for a lawn or garden sprinkler system, they plan the pipeline down to inches. The gardener starts out with a map of where they want the water to go. The same is true with sales except it will be your contacts that feed sales instead of water. Think about sales as if they were fruit trees and you wanted to increase the fruit yield each year. You must lay the sales pipeline so it provides the contact nourishment for maximum yield. This would be the best practices of selling.

If a fruit tree could talk, it would tell you not to forget about it and tell you to water it consistently over time. The tree would tell you to water it during the hottest months just like you should contact your hot clients when they are most likely to need your services. This requires a system that will regulate your contacts with each client. The important thing is to listen to your clients and follow the best practices.

If a client tells you they will be ready in about 6 months, you should have an action plan that will contact them regularly during the time period they ask. The consistency of your action plan will yield the most sales. Just like with an automatic watering system, your sales plan should be automatic.

Automate Your Selling System for Best Results Many of the contact management systems on the market are only semi-automatic. This means that they require a human to do most of the work and it isn't the same as an automated system. Additionally, many of these sales systems don't have the best practices built into them. An automated sprinkler system is designed to water at about the same time each day and with the correct amount for each plant or tree. Ideally, a sales action plan will provide the correct amount of contact for each type of situation for each contact. This would be based on the contacts selling position in the selling process.

One sales program, Impactivator, is designed to mimic the feature of an automated sprinkler system. With the push of a few buttons each morning, a salesperson is able to manage their sales pipeline with consistent results. This is because the program uses the best practices of selling. There are about seven positions that cover the typical sales path.

  • Introduction
  • Qualify
  • Closing
  • Proposal
  • Satisfaction
  • Maintenance
  • Waiting

Although most businesses are different from one another, most of them require a similar pipeline system. When you build your sales pipeline, it should be customized to match your business and have the flexibility of change. Think of this creation like you would if you were laying a garden plot or an orchard of fruit trees. You will want to deliver the right amount of water. In selling, this would be the right type of contacts such as email, letters, personal visits and telephone calls in the right sequence.

For the best results, you should seek assistance from a resource experienced in your industry. You will want specific expertise with the type of clients you want to do business with.

Steve Martinez implements sales management strategies with a focus on automating sales and sales management. Selling Magic teaches businesses how to automate and customize CRM solutions with the best practices of sales management for greater profits.


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