6 Minutes Read By Fabian Geißler, Rachel Harris

The perfect Sales Pipeline: A Six-Step Approach

#Digital Strategy#Digital Execution#Lead Generation#Marketing#Sales Funnel Optimization

In the dynamic landscape of today's tech-driven business environment, the efficacy of sales processes can either become lucrative cash-generating machines or pose a detrimental impact on the overall performance of a company. In this context, the alignment of effective customer relationship management (CRM) strategies with marketing, sales, and service processes becomes the imperative for sales professionals aiming to achieve significant revenue growth.

By seamlessly integrating CRM methodologies into marketing and sales funnels, organizations can harmonize lead pathways, automate lead nurturing, optimize conversions, and ultimately facilitate higher deal closures. Fabian Geissler, VP Tech System Integration, comments: “Through our latest project work for several companies, an optimized sales pipeline with the right nurturing in place can bring up revenues by 10-20%.”

This article serves as a playbook, outlining a 6-step approach showing the critical importance of CRM tactics for optimal marketing and sales funnel. Prepare to utilize crucial key performance indicators (KPIs) that offer actionable insights, boost lead generation, and elevate your sales strategies.

Step 1: Choosing the Right CRM Platform for Your Business Needs

Ensuring the right tools are in place within your sales pipeline is paramount for project success.

A robust CRM system empowers teams to efficiently track customer behavior, interactions, purchase preferences, and more. Next, insights are gained for informed decisions on customer journey optimization, product recommendations, or drop-off rates. However, there's no universal CRM solution. Small or medium-sized businesses must prioritize customization to focus on relevant functionalities, while larger enterprises often prefer a solution offering a suite of tools that can be utilized by different business units. The solution: a vendor selection!

The typical vendor selection begins with a long list of possible solutions, which are then ranked on an extensive list of criteria. These criteria are tailored to the individual needs of a company, taking into account the current business, while anticipating future requirements as well. Resulting of this analysis a short list of possible MarTech solutions is presented, displaying the arguments for the different vendors. Upon a deep dive into the short list, a suggestion is made that fits the company best.

Step 2: Have an Expert Partner on Your Side

Engaging an expert team for CRM implementation streamlines sales and marketing efforts and boosts business impact through superior customer experiences and innovative technology. Analyzing customer cohorts and crafting omnichannel journeys across the sales funnel are pivotal strategic moves for your success. A strategic partner also guides on growth potential, crafts compelling content offers, and delivers real-time reporting data through KPI dashboards.

Step 3: Attract the Right Prospects and Guide Them Efficiently Through the Funnel

Central to the success of your sales pipeline is the precise crafting of your inbound and outbound strategies. Pinpointing the locations of your customer base and formulating strategies to channel demand is essential. In most cases, implementing inbound methods swiftly yields results and influences top-line growth. Thus, empower your lead generation to capture prospects optimally. Utilize your existing marketing channels, including SEO, SEA, Social Media, Lead Brokers & Data Brokers, Account-Based Marketing (ABM), and Marketing Automation Leads (MAL), to orchestrate a surge of Marketing Automation Leads (MALs) and amplify your market presence.

Crucially, ongoing tracking of conversion rates is indispensable to assess campaign efficacy and refine target audiences for maximum impact. Steering, in essence, becomes the cornerstone of success. Remember, what can't be tracked can't be improved.

Track the total value of potential orders in your sales pipeline, adjusting strategies based on high-probability deals to ensure a healthy pipeline. Measure and follow up on the value of offers under negotiation, providing support to improve close rates. Monitor the number of active deals and analyze their distribution, encouraging the sales team to move deals forward.

Also, calculate the average deal size, focusing on upselling and cross-selling to increase it. Track the win rate by comparing won and lost deals, identifying trends to replicate successes and address losses. Measure the time it takes to close deals and streamline processes to reduce the sales cycle.

Quality plays an equally significant role.

Evaluate Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) based on demographics, interests, and engagement levels to ensure the acquisition of high-quality leads.

Step 4: Lead Nurturing

Amplify engagement with your Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) by implementing meaningful connections and delivering value-centric content. Elevate engagement through compelling marketing materials and interactive touchpoints. Gauge leads based on behavior, demographics, and engagement, prioritizing outreach to high-value prospects.

In detail, design a welcome journey to engage new leads immediately, setting the stage for future interactions and conversions in your sales pipeline. Implement hot-lead nurturing to quickly follow up with highly interested prospects, increasing the likelihood of closing. Use warm-lead nurturing to build relationships with interested but not yet ready leads, gradually moving them toward a decision. Develop on-hold nurturing to maintain contact with leads that are temporarily inactive, ensuring they stay engaged. Create onboarding journeys to help new customers understand and use your product effectively, fostering loyalty and reducing churn. Plan reactivation journeys to re-engage dormant leads, reigniting their interest and potential for conversion. Design reengagement journeys to reconnect with past customers, encouraging repeat business, and identifying key marketing tracking effects to refine future strategies.

And again: Rigorously monitor progression rates to uncover bottlenecks and refine strategies for a seamless journey through the funnel.

Step 5: Converting Opportunities

This is where strategy in your sales pipeline translates to action.

Harness your sales expertise to convert Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs) into paying customers. Fine-tune sales strategies, orchestrate personalized interactions, and explore every potential avenue. Gauge success via the opportunity conversion rate — an indicative measure of sales efficiency. Speed becomes a driving force too — track deal closure timelines and streamline the sales process for prompt results. Aspire for excellence, ensuring a significant percentage of opportunities are successfully concluded within stringent timeframes.

Consistent processes are crucial:

  • Define the matching lead and contact lifecycle to establish clear stages for prospect progression, guiding tailored interactions and improving conversion rates.
  • Implement data cleansing practices to ensure the accuracy and integrity of your database, enhancing targeting precision and campaign effectiveness.
  • Utilize data enrichment techniques to enhance lead profiles with additional valuable information, enabling more personalized and impactful communication.
  • Empower your team with the necessary resources, training, and autonomy to effectively execute strategies, fostering collaboration and driving continuous improvement in lead management and engagement.


Step 6: Post-Sale CRM Marketing

    Following successful customer acquisition, nurturing relationships, and fostering repeat purchases or upselling endeavors becomes pivotal. Exceptional customer service and targeted marketing communications assume central roles. Key performance indicators (KPIs) in this stage include evaluating customer retention rates — a reflection of post-sale CRM efforts in nurturing customer loyalty. Calculating Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) offers insights into the long-term profitability of the customer base. Lastly, tracking revenue generated from upselling or cross-selling to existing customers provides valuable insights into the success of post-sale marketing strategies.


    OMMAX Project Setup: Planning and Execution

    With our structured approach, the initial step is to collaboratively delineate lead lifecycle stages, from inception to customer status, encompassing qualification and conversion. This blueprint amalgamates best practices from previous projects with the client's unique circumstances and business logic. The outcome is a blueprint detailing data architecture, object interactions, and employee protocols within the CRM ecosystem.

    Responsibilities for individual sub-processes are stipulated, outlining data storage locations, authorized processing personnel, and access privileges. In marketing, the classification factors for leads and their transition to sales must be clearly defined. In sales, lead ownership, opportunity creation, and progression phases necessitate precise demarcation. Importantly, key performance indicators (KPIs) should be identified and integrated into the data architecture.

    Effectively familiarizing stakeholders with the new process and garnering their buy-in is essential for seamless implementation. These preparatory steps lay the foundation for configuring the CRM system accordingly. Go-live is typically complemented by an attentive hypercare phase, spanning approximately two months. During this phase, processes are vigilantly monitored, and teams receive continuous training. Notably, observing the interplay between marketing and sales ensures the seamless relay of leads.


    OMMAX Case Study: Sales Boost as Short-Term Action

    For one of our clients, the process of defining and implementing the sales pipeline, encompassing tracking, phone-call connectivity, and ERP integration, was realized within just 3 weeks. This expedited approach enabled the client to swiftly test novel outbound methods, validating growth hypotheses across various countries and markets within a single quarter — with a positive ripple effect on top-line growth.

    Do you want to learn more about this compelling case study and how to optimize your Sales Funnel? Get in touch with our experts through the form below! Explore our services and discover our collaborative software partnerships through an introductory call, where you will discover our approach, designed to enhance your capabilities, immerse you in the CRM journey, and reveal transformative potentials in your sales trajectory.

    By Fabian Geißler

    By Rachel Harris

    Contact an expert

    Do you want to know more about our expertise? Get in touch!

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