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

Posted by LinkedSelling 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 prospects 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. 

Or if you have a sales team, what often happens is that they’ve got the appointments on the calendar and all the sudden they don’t have as much time for sales development and lead generation tasks.

In either case, once you have more time for prospecting, you turn your attention to lead generation once again.

Only this time, there’s a gap. Not only do you have to start over from scratch in your prospecting, 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…

Interested in learning more?

Schedule a time to talk with our Director of Client Strategy to get more qualified
sales appointments on your teams calendar!

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 - or you’ll go out of business.

The trick lies in properly managing your sales pipeline. At the end of the day, a pipeline is simply constructed of the following 3 core items.

These are must-haves, just as important to any business as a strong client onboarding process or as the deliverables you provide your clients.

Step 1: Prospects

The biggest question here is, of course, how do you get interested, quality prospects in the pipeline?

The answer is simple: 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, all you need to do is simply start by finding one source where you can hand-pick the types of people you’d like to work with.

Of course, it goes without saying that in order to first find the people you want to work with, you need to have an idea of who they are. To find this out, pick a group of people and consider whether or not they can pay your prices, if your solution will help them, who you’ve worked with in the past successfully, and what types of clients you really want to work with.

Once you know the type of person you’re looking for, target them on the platform of your choice. Let’s take a look at how this works on LinkedIn, for example...

You can easily hand pick the exact people you want to work with just by building your network full of people who seem to be a fit.

You do that by targeting people by demographics. One of the main advantages LinkedIn gives you is the ability to search for people by very specific demographics.

In fact, here are all the targeting options you have at your disposal:


A quick note on why targeting people is important, whether you target them using paid ads, or manually find and reach out to them…

Because when you can be specific to the person you really want to talk to, you have a better chance at piquing their interest with the copy (the text) and image choices you make in your ads, in your messages, and in your posts, which allows you to convert more targets into sales appointments where you or your team can close them.

This type of specific targeting is at the core of how we’ve been able to use social media, along with a number of other multi-channel outbound tools, to not only bring our clients a flood of interested prospects, but to bring them high-quality, in-market appointments, actively looking for YOUR solution.

If you’re interested in starting with social media ads (whether on Facebook or LinkedIn), or you want to refine your ads in order to see real results, but you’re unsure of where to get started, it might be worth it to speak with an expert on my team who can either look at your ads and make recommendations, and/or help you come up with a strategy that with give you a positive ROI.

Click the link below to schedule a time slot with my team where we can answer your questions, discuss if social ads are the right fit for your business, and share details on the results to expect.

Interested in learning more?

Schedule a time to talk with our Director of Client Strategy to get more qualified
sales appointments on your teams calendar!

Step 2: Make Contact

Once you’ve determined who you want to work with, and how to find them, how will first contact with these prospects be established?

There are two types of marketing and sales development: inbound vs outbound.

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, in a cycle of high and low months, depending on how full your pipeline is, and how many of those you can close, inbound may not or may not be the best starting place. In my experience, even though it’s certainly a valuable way to position yourself in the market and attract people to you, a strong inbound or content campaign will take time. It will take consistency. So keep that in mind.

On the other hand, outbound lead generation (ads, email campaigns, social media messaging, call campaigns, etc.) give you a lot more control over the activities that will drive your business forward.

Outbound sales development allows you to directly attribute actions to results, allowing you to get a baseline of the results you can expect based on the investment.

Of course, 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.

So how do you use outbound marketing to get people booking appointments? Our recommendation is a multi-channel approach. Your prospects certainly use more than one platform online, you should too. Our recommendation is to start with LinkedIn and or Facebook messaging, email, social media ads, outbound calling, and more.

Doing those things to consistently create touch-points with your prospects will keep you top of mind, so that when they’re ready, they know where to turn - YOU!

Step 3: Getting the 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 usually some nurturing that is involved, including multiple touch-points via various channels.

This will involve consistently reaching out to make contact and to provide value. You’ll do this by sharing resources your prospect will find interesting, either a report you or your team put together, or something someone else created. Doing this will ideally help your prospects overcome any objections in working with you and simultaneously will position you as a trusted expert that they’d be willing to work with and give their money to. The resources you share should show them how to resolve their questions and problems they are struggling with - and paint the picture that you can help them do it.

All of that is to ultimately secure the appointment with your prospect. The appointment is the key metric to business growth, not likes or shares, or even email opens and replies - just appointments.

You must speak with your prospects in order to close them, especially when you sell a high-end product or service, and if you’ve proven the value of what you can provide them, either through the resources you’ve shared, or by answering their objections, you’ll have a higher chance of closing them.

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 simply hoping for clients. That’s not how business growth happens.

The Danger Zone


When your pipeline dries up, it's already too late. The uncertainty and discomfort has already set in, and you have to start from scratch - again.

The reason business suffers is because if you’re not doing the work needed for sales development, you’re not getting paid. It’s that simple.

It really needs to be consistent in order to gain momentum. That means that businesses need to find a way to get leads on the calendar, without taking time from servicing clients or for their sales team to focus on closing.

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.

It’s a numbers game.

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 appointments on the calendar, 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 and sales development. In most cases, investing in outbound sales development services pays for itself because you’ve got a pipeline full of sales opportunities that you can close.


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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If you're interested in learning more about how we can solve your lead generation problems, book a 1-on-1 planning session with our Director of Client Strategy to discuss your business, your sales process, and whether or not our LinkedIn Marketing Campaign Management Services would be a good fit for your needs.