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How to Build a Sales Pipeline from Scratch: Step-by-Step Guide

How to Build a Sales Pipeline from Scratch: Step-by-Step Guide
Bitrix24 Team
May 12, 2022
Last updated: May 12, 2022

To visualize your business' sales process, you should build a pipeline. It should boost the efficiency of your sales teams and help you to maximize your profit. From this article, you'll get to know how to create a top-notch sales pipeline. This information should come in handy for companies of any size and industry.

How to Build a Sales Pipeline

The pipeline should enable you to achieve the following goals:

  • Highlight opportunities for growth

  • Facilitate the process of identifying missed opportunities

  • Let sales reps predict what step comes next

  • Provide leaders with the information they need to forecast revenue, plan for long-term growth and

take strategic actions

Below, we'll share a comprehensive step-by-step guide on creating the pipeline.

Research Your Audience

Depending on your industry and product, you might want to find out the following characteristic of your audience:

  • Age

  • Gender

  • Geographical location

  • Education

  • Occupation

  • Level of income

  • Consumer preferences

  • Frequency of buying your products

These statistics should enable you to detect your customers' pain points and come up with ways of fixing them.

Instead of relying on your gut feeling, you should use the following ways of gathering facts and numbers:

  • Your CRM. There, you should store detailed information about all your customers and potential customers.

  • Google Analytics. To find out who visits your website, you should enable the Demographics and Interests report.

  • Customer service agents. These professionals talk to consumers every day. They can explain to you these people's struggles and hint at the solutions they might be interested in.

  • Customer surveys. You can directly ask questions to your customers. You can do it either on your website, or by email, or on social networks. It would be reasonable to conduct a new survey once per year to update the information.

  • Social media insights. All major social media platforms should give you access to the essential demographics of users who interact with you.

The better you know your audience, the more precisely you can target your products at them.

Create Consumer Personas

To create a persona, you should single out the most common characteristics of your target customer and combine them all to create a cohesive portrait. Here is an example of what the description of your consumer persona might look like: a fictional man Ben, aged 35. He is single and has two dogs. Ben works as a fitness trainer in a large chain of fitness clubs. He found out about your business from his clients who regularly buy your products. He decided to give your goods a try because Ben sticks to a healthy lifestyle and loves seasonal discounts. He purchases your products for himself and is the only person who makes buying decisions. He prefers items in the middle price range. You should create a consumer persona for each main group in your audience and target your marketing efforts at them, depending on their characteristics.

Find the Leads

Here are a few tips on driving leads:

  • Use lead magnets. Consumers love when businesses offer them something useful for free. You can allow the visitors of your website to download worksheets, templates, ebooks, guides or some other valuable materials.

  • Offer free tools and trial periods. If you sell digital products, you should let people test them at no cost. You can allow them to use your product for free for a limited period of time. Or, they might be able to use the free version of the product for an unlimited time but will get access only to its most basic functionality (if they need more functions, they will need to upgrade to a paid plan).

  • Organize guest posts on industry sites. You'll be able to prove that you're an expert in your sphere. You'll strengthen your brand reputation and attract new clients.

  • Interact with people on social media. Apart from posting content on your socnet profiles, you can host webinars there and arrange giveaways. This technique delivers better results for the B2C segment that for the B2B one. Nevertheless, you can try to interact with your B2B customers on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

  • Leverage your website traffic. Use tools that can help you identify who your website visitors are. Ask consumers to share their private details with you in exchange for discounts, free shipping, small gifts or other rewards. To achieve the best results, you should optimize your site. When a user opens it, they should be able to quickly find the solution they need.

Please mind that not all leads are created equal — so let's talk about it in the next passage.

Sort Qualified and Unqualified Leads

Some of your leads might be ready to order your product immediately. Others might need more time to explore the characteristics and benefits of your offer. Plus, they might be comparing your products with the products of your competitors. If a person is not ready for the purchase yet but you're pushing them to buy your goods or services right now, such a lead might leave you and never come back. You should sort your leads into two categories and adjust your behavior to the specifics of each of them.

A person can be characterized as a qualified lead if they meet the following criteria:

  • Checked your prices and comparison pages

  • Visited several pages of your website

  • Downloaded the lead magnet or signed up for it

As soon as you detect a qualified lead, you should get in touch with them immediately. The longer you postpone, the lower your chances to motivate the person for the purchase.

If the lead is unqualified, you should offer them more educational information about your business and product.

Build Engagement

When carrying out market research, you should have found out which types of content work best with your target audience:

  • Infographics

  • Case studies

  • How-to guides

  • Reviews

  • Blog posts

  • Video tutorials

You should produce content regularly and share it on social networks. Before the content goes live, it would be wise to conduct A/B testing.



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Convert

People should be ready to convert after you've educated them about your business and product. Now, your task is to provide them with the final motivation. Here is what you might want to do:

  • Keep your sales page simple. Get rid of any elements that could distract your clients. Leave no more than three key features on the page.

  • Use video. Your video content should convince customers that you understand their pain points and know how to fix them. You should strive to make your offer and the benefits of your products look highly appealing on video.

  • Test two CTAs. Target one button at people who are ready for the purchase. For this CTA, you can use such words as Buy Now, Subscribe or Choose a Plan. The other button is for consumers who'd like to get information about your product before transferring money to you. For this CTA, you can use such words as Learn More, Start a Trial, Sign up for Free or Claim a Discount. Make sure to follow up on the second category of customers later.

It's vital to make the process of ordering your products as simple as possible. Don't ask consumers to fill in lengthy questionnaires. Keep your pricing transparent.

Make Your Sales Pipeline Scalable

Now that you've created your pipeline, you should scale it to maximize your sales and income. You need to make sure new leads will be coming in over and over. To achieve this goal, you should test each stage of the pipeline.

To facilitate the completion of tedious tasks, you should automate them. You can do this by sending leads to your sales team, your email follow-ups or data entry. Your sales and marketing departments will be able to focus on high-priority tasks.

You should try to look with a fresh eye at the information from your pipeline. For instance, some of your unqualified leads might need just a bit of education to convert.

It's vital to stay in contact with your existing customers. It would be great if you would say "Thank you" to each person who makes a purchase with you. When asking people to provide feedback to you, strive to give them something in exchange, such as a discount code.

Install Dedicated Software to Manage Your Pipeline

Such software will enable you to store your customer data in a well-structured format, visualize it and analyze it. You can consider, for instance, Bitrix24. It has a CRM with an unlimited number of cells and a built-in contact center. From its dashboard, you can send emails to your clients and post content to your social networks. Bitrix24 can generate insightful reports that should help you to make the most of your pipeline.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, you found this article informative and now you have a better understanding of how to build a sales pipeline. If you follow the recommendations from this article, you should be able to boost your sales and maximize your profit.

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