Proper sales pipeline management improves the customer journey. Your call centers guide your clients towards your brand. This is why you should plan every stage of the sales cycle and always find new ways to improve it.
We’ll start by discussing sales pipelines and how they differ from the sales funnel. Next, we will explore the usual steps involved and the ones your brand needs. Then, we’ll go through the tools that can help you evaluate your sales channels.
Sales funnels often overlook how a company makes the customer journey possible. A good pipeline for sales means quicker leads and bigger sales. That’s why you should plan every step your clients will make towards your brand.
Sale pipelines: The company’s side of the customer journeyA sales pipeline is a visual representation of where potential customers stand in the sales process. It shows the progress of your sales team in meeting their targets.
It aims to give an overview of essential sales factors. In other words, your sales channel should answer the following questions:
How many open and closed deals have your company made?
What sales potential do the sellers and the sales team have for a specific time?
What are the different stages that make up your sales process?
How are those open deals doing?
What has been done to grab these sales opportunities?
Which activities do you need to move these opportunities up the sales cycle?
A healthy channel for sales is crucial to any business. It shows you a glimpse into your company’s profitability, growth, and overall health. What’s more, it enables you to:
Form sales forecasts
Check potential problems in the sales process
Pinpoint issues and problems
Formulate ways to solve problems
Perform other strategic measures
Related Article: 7 Reasons to Outsource Your Call Center
What happens if a company doesn’t have a pipeline?
Having no sales channel puts your business at risk. Specifically, your sales reps may get in the way of your employees. They might act against policy and frustrate customers.
An organized approach allows you to resolve these issues before they worsen. Also, it enables you to streamline the sales process. In turn, you get better returns and conversion rates.
An efficient channel makes staff training easier. Specifically, it informs them of how to perform well in their roles.
Overall, a healthy sales channel lets you find ways to improve your company. Your business always has room to grow. The channel helps you find more!
It’s not the same as a sales funnel
People often assume the sales funnel and pipeline are the same. Yet, the former deals with how customers come to your brand. It assumes the client’s perspective.
The funnel usually has four stages:
Awareness – The client learns about your brand.
Interest – Customers get curious about your company.
Desire – Clients want your products and services.
Action – Customers would like to buy your goods.
As the name suggests, it’s often shown as a “V” shape. It implies that there are fewer customers as they pass through the stages. The funnel lets only the willing buyers out.
It doesn’t show how it happens from the company’s perspective. How does a business get customers from point A to B of the funnel? This is where the channel comes in handy.
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How the sales pipeline often looks like
The typical channel for sales has five stages:
Lead generation – This phase involves grabbing attention for your brand. Your marketing teams will launch ad campaigns that eventually draw in leads.
Qualification – It’s when you verify your leads. You do this by giving surveys and sending emails. If they react positively, you may consider them as qualified leads.
Consultation – On this level, your call center agents will speak directly to your leads. They’ll ask about their needs and recommend solutions by the company.
Proposal – This involves marketing content. The ultimate goal is to close a sale.
Sale – The sales channel doesn’t end after a customer buys your product or service. At this stage, the goal is to encourage existing clients to purchase more.
It shares similarities with a sales funnel. As we said, a channel views it from the eyes of a business. The channel has more details than the funnel though.
Remember that your business may need more steps. This will depend on your industry and other factors. Add and remove steps to create the best sales pipeline.
Related Article: Key Factors on Boosting Your Lead Generation
Plan how call centers handle sales pipelines
We will focus on how your call centers should handle sales channels. Their role is mostly in the Consultation stage. After all, they’re the people who speak one-on-one with your clients.
Call center agents may serve as your marketing teams.
They listen to customer concerns.
The agents may also conduct surveys to understand clients further.
That is why you must get the best agents for your company. Also, you have to guide them in handling sales. Here’s how to do it:
Of course, your business deserves only the best. That’s why you should know how to find exceptional applicants. This will depend on your company’s goals and other factors.
You may want to add personality tests in your selection process. These can help you identify key traits. For example, they will help you find the agents who are cool under pressure.
What’s more, their training must apply to the work proper. Otherwise, you’ll waste time for you and the agents. Also, match their onboarding with their different traits.
No matter what happens, never settle for subpar workers. It’s not worth it, even if you need to meet high demand.
Once you’re done with the selection, it’s time to train your new agents. Make sure the training methods are excellent. This will help reduce your turnover rate.
Tailor their training based on their skills. This will let you tap into their strengths. In turn, they can deliver top-notch customer service. Keep it up with additional training if needed.
During their first time, they’ll speak with their first irate customer. Let the situation be a learning experience. Listen through the call. While difficult, it can be a source of insight.
Train your sales managers well. Make sure you have a training program just for them. Once they head to the floor, tell them to monitor calls with a monitoring checklist.
During work, you must maintain a positive presence. Be a social leader who promotes optimism and change. Make sure everyone follows the same customer service goals.
Also, look out for small details. Yet, you should avoid micromanaging workers. That way, they’ll gain confidence in their work.
If you find issues with an agent, give constructive feedback. Moreover, develop a coaching culture. You may want to start a buddy system, so workers learn from each other.
Call center management
As we said, you should let employees do their work. Yet, you must have a system for determining priorities. This will help your agents resolve issues quickly.
What’s more, this could help them adapt to unexpected situations. Make sure you have enough workers during busy hours. Figure out how to assign your agents efficiently.
If you’d like, Form a quality assurance team to maintain employee performance. The agents might find it easier to speak with the Q&A team. As a result, Q&A can help them better.
Your company must have clear goals for customer service. Moreover, the agents should uphold the same ones at work. That way, you get the same level of performance throughout the workforce.
Agents must always treat customers with respect. They must keep a calm voice when speaking to them. Customers shouldn’t think the agent is rushing the call.
Let workers access the caller’s history. This helps them find solutions for the client. As the client speaks, the agent should write down their concerns.
The agents should understand how clients feel. That way, they could find the best solution. If there has been a mistake, they must briefly apologize. Then, they should quickly resolve the issue.
Make the most suitable pipeline for sales.
Your business may have different pipeline stages. As we said, this will depend on several factors connected to your company. Ask yourself the following:
Who are my potential customers?
How can my products and services help customers?
Why do they choose you instead of your competitors?
How do I keep in touch with customers?
Creating a buyer persona can help. It’s a made-up person that has the qualities of your potential customers. Use that to learn more about client interests and needs.
What’s more, use the best software to assist you. Use the best sales pipeline management programs such as:
These can provide several features for your sales channel needs. More importantly, they let you track important metrics in real-time, such as:
Amount of new leads per month
Amount of deals
Average sales velocity
Average deal size
You always need pipeline reviews
The most efficient sales channels will get clogged eventually. Also, the factors that affect them change constantly. In response, you should regularly have sales pipeline reviews.
See if there are any issues with your current channel. Then, discuss them with your team. Overall, the review should increase productivity and drive purpose. Here are the steps to do it:
Collect information – Before you and the team come together, make sure you’ve prepared. List all the issues you would like to discuss.
Organize the meeting – Follow a certain order when talking about the issues. This makes sure the review is fruitful and efficient.
Propose solution – Highlight certain problems. Then, report possible solutions.
Add helpful tips – Provide steps that are easy to follow. In turn, the agents can do their job easier.