How to Improve Your Small Business’ Sales Pipeline
February 13, 2018
The effective management of your sales pipeline is crucial to the operation of any small business. Even more so than in a large corporation, as big companies have the relative “luxuries” of manpower and money. Two things that most small businesses are usually short on.
To help you unclog your pipeline, we’ve created a list of the methods and tools small businesses use to increase productivity and efficiency in sales. Whatever industry you’re in, your business can benefit from being faster and more productive.
A sales pipeline is best described as a graphic aid showing you where your leads are in the various stages of sales. As you approach the closing of a deal, a lead will turn into a prospect, then a customer (at least, that’s the plan). This means that the sales pipeline can also act as a predicting tool, telling you how many sales you can expect within a given period of time.
An efficiently managed pipeline is transparent, meaning that you’re always aware of the number of leads and prospects you have and how far along they are in the sales pipeline
An efficiently managed pipeline is transparent, meaning that you’re always aware of the number of leads and prospects you have and how far along they are in the sales pipeline. It saves you time and lessens your administrative burdens, while moving along the process at a swift pace.
A good sales pipeline lets you treat each prospect differently, creating a much needed personalized approach that helps you close deals. In all, a smoothly operating sales pipeline is crucial for the success of your small business.
Transparency and Communication
If your business is really small (which means that no more than two people handle sales), you may not need specific software for managing your sales pipeline. In fact, it may be sufficient if your salespeople share a simple spreadsheet (like Google Sheets) and enter all their data there, updating it as frequently as necessary.
However, with larger operations, transparency may become an issue. Information can get lost, leads are not followed up on. That’s when sales start to slow down and the pipeline gets clogged.
Information can get lost, leads are not followed up on. That’s when sales start to slow down and the pipeline gets clogged
If communication among salespeople is not enough (or not possible for whatever reason), you may need to install software to help your pipeline run smoothly. There are many sales platforms designed for small businesses, many of them inexpensive or even free.
Here’s a list of the most popular sales software small businesses prefer to use.
Although it’s popular among many larger companies, Salesforce has an edition specifically designed for small businesses. This cloud-based software allows you to generate leads, manage contacts and opportunities, forecast your sales, automate your workflow, and much more.
You can access and manage your account from any device, which means that you’ll never miss out on a sales opportunity, even if you’re not in the office.
Salesforce offers many plans for its small business subscribers. The lowest starts at $25 per month per user. This chart compares all the available plans.
Zoho is free for up to ten users from your business. Despite the lack of costs, Zoho offers all core features of a sales management platform, including contact management, lead gathering, data analytics, and converting opportunities into sales. If your business’ size allows it, Zoho is a great cost-effective choice for you.
However, if your business expands, you may need to invest in the pro version of the software, as the free version is not suitable for the needs of a growing company. Pro packages start at $12 per user a month. This comparison chart helps you decide which package is best for your small business.
Insightly may be the best choice if your business is really small. This cloud-based software is free for up to two users. Access for every additional person costs $12 per month. The platform is easy to use and gives you access to all core sales features, including project management, controlling contacts, reporting, and opportunity administration.
Insightly offers pro plans starting at $29 a month per user. Check out this comparison chart highlighting the differences between each package.
Although not strictly a part of your sales pipeline, payments influence the whole operation of your business. If a payment is late or held up by unexpected delays, your business will suffer.
This is especially true in the case of international transfers where uncertainties surround every step of the process. How much money will you get after all the conversions and bank fees? When will your payments arrive?
This is where Veem comes in. Due to a unique multi-rail technology, Veem creates a direct link between you and your international business partners. This means no intermediaries, no unexpected delays, and no hidden fees. In addition, Veem offers competitive foreign exchange rates and charges no wire fees.
Send payments quickly, safely, and as easily as sending an email.
What’s not to love?
Sign up for a free Veem account and enjoy easy international payments.