Sales Pipeline Management: What is it and why do you need it?

Written by on July 4, 2018

There’s no business without sales. Selling involves a sequence of repeatable steps — from identifying prospects to closing the deal — also known as the sales process. To sell successfully, you need to have an effective sales process. And to implement a sales process, you need to create and manage your sales pipeline.

A sales pipeline is a visual representation of every stage in a sales process so you can easily identify where your qualified leads are in the buying journey. It gives a snapshot of the total number of opportunities across different stages. Freshsales CRM lets you visualize, manage and track the progress of every deal in the pipeline.

With sales pipeline management in Freshsales, you can:

  • select the right deals and activities to focus on every month
  • determine how close you are to winning each deal
  • monitor your sales team’s pipeline (as a sales manager)
  • use pipeline for post selling activities

Let’s see how you can go about doing it.

Creating a sales pipeline

The first step to create a sales pipeline is to clearly identify the sales process that suits your business. In general, any sales process include steps to,

  • Identify and qualify prospects
  • Assess their needs and present the solution
  • Guide and convince them towards buying
  • Close the sale
  • Follow up (nurture relationship)

When you break it down further, it is the sequence of steps that each salesperson would repeatedly take for every sale. Make a list of these steps and convert each step (or combine few of them) as a stage in the pipeline.

Sales pipeline management in Freshsales

Creating multiple sales pipelines

Certain business may have multiple sales processes based on geography (North America, Europe), team types (Inside sales, Field sales), size of the company (SMB, Mid Market, Enterprise) that you are after or the different products/service plans you offer (Silver, Gold, Platinum).

Managing all of them in a single pipeline is not feasible. With Freshsales, you can create multiple sales pipelines, with relevant stages for each pipeline. This means you can manage your business more efficiently.

So let’s say your business has a different sales process for the Inside sales and Field sales team. You can create two pipelines as shown below to track and manage deals for each team.

Creating multiple sales pipelines in Freshsales

Choosing a default pipeline

The most commonly used pipeline can be selected as a default pipeline. If you’re an admin, and you mark ‘Field Sales’ pipeline as ‘default,’ it’ll be the default pipeline for all your users. This means all sales reps will look at the Field Sales pipeline when they log in. However, if you are a user belonging to the Inside Sales team, you can select a different pipeline to be your personal default pipeline. This will not affect the admin’s choices in any way.

Selecting default sales pipeline in Freshsales

Manage your deal pipeline 

Sales pipeline lets you determine how close you are to winning each deal so that you can select the right deals and activities to focus on every month.

Staying on top of your deals requires some sales effort—following up with customers over phone and email, setting appointments, creating tasks, etc.— to successfully win the opportunities. In Freshsales, sales pipeline management works in tandem with time management. The color-coded icons in the pipeline view help you to identify and act on pending and delayed tasks quickly.

View delayed and pending tasks in Freshsales

Cut out all the noise and focus only on opportunities that matter by filtering deals based on upcoming activities, expected close date, renewal date and more. You can also save these filtered deals as views and access them whenever you want.

Monitor your team’s pipeline

As a sales manager, you’d want to closely monitor your team’s performance.

Sales Pipeline in Freshsales

Use filters to create views based on the territories you manage and track how each salesperson in your team is performing. You can visually track how many new deals are there in each of their pipeline or how many are about to close. Similarly, you can also monitor lost deals, identify the reason and act upon them.

With Reports and Dashboards, you can get a snapshot of your team’s performance or dive deep into the activities of every sales rep. Track revenue metrics and identify top performers with sales velocity and sales cycle reports. Remove bottlenecks by identifying which deal stages your salespeople get stuck in.

You can also see how many days a deal has been in a particular stage. For instance, if a deal has been in negotiation for more than two weeks, you can add a follow-up task for your sales rep to act upon it right away. Create custom dashboards to get a quick glimpse of frequently used reports and also schedule selected reports to be automatically sent to anyone in your company.

Visualise pipeline CTA

Use pipelines even after you seal the deal

Sales pipeline management in Freshsales CRM can also be used for a number of post selling activities such as, project management, annual maintenance contracts, product installation and training, and more. So if you are in the software services industry, your company could be managing projects for the won deals. In this case, create a project management pipeline and simply funnel the won deals to this new pipeline using workflows.

Your account manager will have complete context of all the projects he/she is working on and can manage each one of them right from the CRM. Once the project is complete, and if there is any maintenance activities requested, an AMC can also be initiated right from Freshsales for the same account and managed in a new pipeline.

If you are in the tourism and travel industry, you could maintain a separate pipeline for those won deals which have bought travel packages from you. Create a post-sale pipeline to track if your customers have started using the travel bookings made and get their feedback. You can nurture these customers for repeat purchases and use their feedback to improve your travel packages.

These are just some of the common use cases for sales pipeline management in Freshsales! Try creating multiple pipelines to manage your business more efficiently.

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