Pipeline Management: How to Guarantee Your Sales Pipeline Remains Full Month after Month

Posted by Pat Henseler in B2B Lead Generation & Sales Insights, Entrepreneurship

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There's only one way to manage your sales pipeline: PRIORITIZE IT!


Without either dedicating the time or resources to maintain a healthy sales pipeline, it's only a matter of time until your business has to start over from the beginning.


There's no more direct line between reliable growth than a prioritization of the pipeline. In this blog, we'll detail the basic workings of a sales pipeline and how to use your resources in the right places.

You may or may not be familiar with the cycle of the business hustle...

You’re making calls, attending conferences, making connections, sending messages and writing emails. You’re 100% focused on marketing and outreach activities in order to get leads coming in so you can close new clients.

And maybe you’ve started to see your efforts pay off. You get people booking appointments and you (or the sales team) starts closing. Feels good! You’ve got some new clients and you’ve been paid. Now you’re ready to rock it out of the park and service them.

So you turn your focus and spend less time on prospecting and lead generation activities until you’ve delivered what you promised them. Once you have more time for prospecting, you turn your attention to lead gen once again.

Only this time, there’s a gap. Not only do you have to start over from scratch with your lead gen, you now have no new clients until you close more. This means you’re not getting paid until you can close more clients.

It’s a classic conundrum. Obviously, you need to be bringing in new leads in order to get clients, but once you get those clients… too often the pipeline dries up. For many, there’s just not time to fit in both consistently. They focus on the here and now and when they’ve got clients, they lose sight of the activities that will grow their business. It’s a very common problem that business owners and marketers ask us about all the time…

How can you maintain a full pipeline while still managing your workload?

Let’s start here...

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What Is Needed to Maintain a Healthy Sales Pipeline


It’s all too common as a business owner to feel stuck between whether to focus on your current clients or on finding new opportunities.

It’s a balancing act.

But you can’t sacrifice one at the total expense of the other.

So, I wanted to take a look to quickly review what foundational items you need to put in place in order to maintain your sales pipeline. At the end of the day, a pipeline is simply constructed of these 3 core items.

These are must-haves.

As important to any business as a strong client onboarding process or the deliverables you provide your clients.

Step 1: Prospects

You need a process to mine for your ideal clients.

Whether you are using LinkedIn, Facebook, Call Lists, Email Lists, Events, JV Partners, in this case you just need a way that you can reliably find the types of people that fit the type of client that you work with.

I certainly have my go-tos. But at the end of the day, the task here is simple start by finding one source where you can hand-pick the types of people you’d like to work with.

Step 2: First Contact

How will first contact with these prospects be established?

Inbound is more of the ‘If you build it they will come approach.’ Not that I think there’s anything inherently wrong with creating and sharing good content - it’s an area my company spends considerable resources working on.

But if you find yourself on the cashflow rollercoaster, inbound may not be the best starting place. In my experience a strong inbound or content campaign will take time. It will take consistency. So keep that in mind.

Outbound (ads, email campaigns, social media messaging, call campaigns, etc.) give you a lot more control over the activities that will drive your business forward.

You can directly attribute actions to results. Allowing you to get a baseline of the results you can expect based on the investment.

Campaigns can differ based on a million factors (from business type to prospect to strategy), but investing in the process of a strong outbound campaign will give you the fuel to consistently provide sales opportunities.

Step 3: Appointment

Now this is admittedly a simplification of a pipeline and shouldn’t be confused with a full strategy for your outreach.

Meaning that you often won’t go straight from first contact to sales appointment. There’s some nurturing that is involved.

But ultimately, if you are selling a high-ticket product or service (not a $27 ebook or $100 course), the appointment is the key metric to business growth.

You need to speak with your prospects and leads.

And if you don’t have a system in place to provide a consistent baseline of appointments and opportunities that you can rely on, you are walking a tightrope.

The Danger Zone


When your pipeline dries up, it's already too late. The uncertainty and discomfort has already set in.

Frankly, business suffers because if you’re not doing the work, you’re not getting paid. But if you’re not spending time getting leads, you won’t have new clients.

That’s when business owners and marketers start to feel desperate and they feel pressure to close every call… just because they don’t have a lot of prospects booking calls in the first place.

This is an all too common situation in most businesses these days. In our State of Small Business Study from a couple years back, we found that over 88% of businesses under 200 employees struggle with cashflow issues throughout the year. We coined this as the cashflow rollercoaster. When you don’t have new leads coming in, you don’t have new clients and that means little or no revenue that month.

We talk to a lot of business owners and you’d be surprised how many have trouble balancing this… it’s actually one of the most common struggles we hear about. And in full transparency, it’s a place I’ve been in my career as well. So, to be clear...if you’re struggling with this as well, it’s normal. Every business has to address this at some point or another.

But there are ways to maintain your pipeline of leads and opportunities without sacrificing or compromising in other areas of your business.

Taking Action: You Can Never Have Too Much in the Pipeline


So how can you solve this conundrum? How can you keep your pipeline full while you properly service your clients?

The best advice we can tell you is to pick one of these two options:

You can set aside some time every single day for you or your team to engage in prospecting and sales development activities. Consistency is really the name of the game here.

OR

You can consider the ROI of outsourcing your lead generation. In most cases, investing in lead generation services pays for itself because you’ve got a pipeline full of sales opportunities.

If you’d like to learn more about how to fill your pipeline, either through outsourcing lead generation service or learning how to set up a lead gen system on your own,

Click below to schedule a time to talk with my team about the systems we put in place and fully manage for clients that allow them to maintain a healthy pipeline while allowing them ample time to focus on the other impact areas of their business.

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