You understand how important your sales pipeline is to your business, but is it working as effectively as it should? To find out, start by asking these questions:
- Are you meeting your sales targets?
- Are you generating enough leads/opportunities?
- Are a significant portion of your leads sales qualified?
- Are a significant number of your quotes leading to sales?
- Are you closing enough of the leads you generate?
If you are struggling with all or even just a few of these KPIs, there’s likely a flaw in your sales pipeline and you’re losing business as a result. Luckily, the fast and simple solution is to implement an enterprise resource planning software (ERP) to eliminate clutter, improve efficiency, and refine your sales strategy.
Get Essential Information On Demand
Your sales pipeline is likely made up of five steps – lead generation, lead qualification, client contact, quote/proposal, and sale. Each one of those steps requires you to draw on specific data sets. An ERP gives everyone on your sales team access to relevant information from all corners of your company. Team members can easily and immediately focus on the assets that advance progress down the pipeline.
Analyze the Value of Leads
In order to improve the KPIs mentioned above, it’s essential to understand the value of the leads currently in the pipeline. The only way to do that is to draw on data related to sales, finance, customer service, marketing, and inventory. ERP products bring all of this data together in one place, while proving user-friendly tools to engage with the data. That makes it much easier to assesses the true value of the lead and to tailor sales strategies accordingly.
Sidestep Obstacles and Setbacks
Your goal is for leads to move confidently down the pipeline at a predictable pace. Being able to effectively forecast their progress makes it much easier to adapt your budgeting, inventory, and logistics to maximize customer satisfaction. With an ERP in place you can predict obstacles and setbacks – incomplete product information, fulfillment problems, issues with pricing and service levels, etc. – before they impact your customers.
Streamline Your Pipeline Strategies
An ERP delivers valuable data you can use to evaluate the overall effectiveness of your pipeline. But it also allows you to engage with data you can use to improve more specific features of your pipeline. If, for instance, leads are dropping off before they seek out a quote, you can focus more of your efforts on the quote/proposal stage. If it’s taking too long for customer to progress down the pipeline, you can accelerate your communications. The tools included in an ERP allows you to make pipeline management and optimization a true priority.
Automate and Integrate Your Workflows
Once your pipeline is free of clutter, you can further refine it by automating routine administrative tasks and integrating it with other data to improve process efficiency. The pipeline may be central to the success of your business, but it is hardly the only component. ERP products update entries across data sets, provide transparency across departments, and create the environment necessary to breed innovation and collaboration. In practice, it takes less time and effort for your pipeline specifically and your business generally to produce better results. How much better? The Harvard Business Review reports that the companies with the most proactive approach to sales pipeline management experienced a 28 percent growth in revenue.
If there is anything you take away from this article, it’s that you pipeline is probably not working as effectively as it could. Spend some time analyzing your KPIs, and consider implementing an IT solution that allows for more oversight and control over your pipeline.