For all sales managers, their sales pipeline is everything. Without a strong sales pipeline, you or other members of your team cannot make their presence count, and in some cases, your job might be at risk. Sales pipeline drives key business decisions, such as how you assess and prepare for your reps.
For all sellers, LinkedIn is the best platform to grow their sales pipeline. The platform needs no introduction and allows sales personnel to create more sales conversations, develop trust with prospects, and enable you to use those conversations to build a strong pipeline.
For that reason, this post covers all essentials of building a sales pipeline on LinkedIn along with other necessary details.
What is a sales pipeline?
The sales pipeline is a method or tool to manage, track and organize your business leads as they progress through various levels of the buying cycle.
Since every business lead is not the same hence, you must track their stages and behavior in your sales pipeline. For example, one prospect might start using your service or product after the first contact while your other leads interact with you multiple times before using your product.
During this process, it’s your responsibility to help them with any queries, comments, or concerns that they might have about your services, brand, or product.
Here’s another scenario!
Suppose someone from your prospects on LinkedIn states that they are looking for a new CRM for their recruitment process, but presently, they don’t have enough time to schedule an appointment and want to manage other solutions first.
Thus, you need to note this in your company’s sales pipeline and follow up along with content that answers all of their queries.
Sales pipeline and sales funnel: Is there any difference?
Although many people think that sales pipeline and sales funnel are the same things. But the fact is both these are two different things.
Essentially, the business’s sales pipeline is all about your deals. And the sales funnel is all about the business leads.
In simple words, the sales pipeline involves every stage of the sales process. Ideally, this process should be aligned with the consumer’s journey.
And the funnel is the stage or process that your leads go through before converting into your consumers. These stages include the awareness, decision, interest, and action format.
What are the different sales pipeline stages?
Sales pipeline stages differ from case to case and mainly depend on your CRM and the buyer’s journey for your niche.
But for the most part, it is possible for you to categorize and arrange your sales activity in different ways as per your business requirements.
However, it’s vital for sales personnel to keep the sales stages short and to the point because it will move prospects through these stages as quickly as possible.
Generally speaking, sales pipeline stages will look like this:
Discovery and qualifying – During the sales pipeline’s first stage, the seller contacts the new business lead and decides if their solution is suitable for their specific needs. Here a salesperson should think about the consumer’s budget, requirements, and timeline.
Meeting – Then, you should contact and meet with the prospect to gain a better understanding of them and their needs. During this phase, you should record everything in your CRM.
Offer or Proposal – Once you know your future client needs, you can offer them your services or products as per their needs. In this stage, describe how your offerings can benefit them along with the investment and the returns.
Negotiation – Now it’s up to your sales prospect. Either they will accept the offer or reconsider their needs. However, this decision is dependent on various factors, but often it comes down to their overall budget.
Closing – Finally, if everything goes well and the seller closes the deal and gives the client’s information to the customer service department for further processing and implementation. They must update all the details in the CRM and try to improve the client’s post-purchase experience.
Keep in mind that sales pipeline stages are different for every business and are dependent on the provided solution and buyer’s journey. This will keep things more systematized, and you can manage the whole process easily.
Another thing that can significantly help you in creating a successful and strong sales pipeline for LinkedIn is your metrics.
Some pipeline metrics you should keep in mind include:
Qualified leads – this one is obvious as you cannot close the business deals without getting good leads. That’s why you should keep a record of your inbound and outbound leads. This will ensure that your sales department has enough of them to work on.
MQL to SQL conversion rate – Do you know how many of your marketing qualified leads convert into sales qualified leads? If you see a big drop-off here, it means that your sales and marketing teams are not aligned, and you should pay attention to them.
Win percentage – Describes qualified leads that convert into consumers.
Customer acquisition expenses – It means how much you are spending on your marketing to acquire new customers. To calculate Customer acquisition cost, divide your expenditures by the total number of new consumers.
Customer lifetime value – It measures how beneficial every customer is for your business.
After analyzing all the performance indicators and above-mentioned metrics, you should focus on the sales pipeline review. Here are the details that you need to know:
Sales pipeline review
Sales pipeline reviews are an essential part of sales. They ensure that everyone on your team has the correct information about the clients.
Usually, the sales rep is answerable to the sales manager about the leads and deals on the sales pipeline. And the review helps the sales manager in understanding how many and which deals are more likely to close successfully. The review allows them to assess the performance, and they can gain better insights of the campaign.
Some benefits of sales pipeline review are:
- It shows the performance of the sales team and stats.
- Helps in setting up goals and deliverables.
- Helps in evaluating the sales process.
- Ensure that all team members are on the same page and empowers them.
Usually, the sales review agenda follows this simple process:
- You can use your CRM to determine how your sales rep are performing.
- Gives you a summary of each deal.
- You can develop an action plan.
While everyone’s sales pipeline and review are different but some points are common in all sales reviews. After the meeting, you have a clear picture of what’s winnable, how you can achieve balance, and what are your future goals.
Now that you know how a sales pipeline works and how you can build the one, let’s move onto how to use it with LinkedIn.
How to Use Your Sales Pipeline with LinkedIn and Boost Your Sales
LinkedIn is the best and go-to network to generate business leads and sales.
And when you are working on your sales pipeline, you need all the necessary data about your leads and outreach campaigns.
But sometimes, when you are working with your CRM, sales pipeline, and LinkedIn, things can get confusing.
Here to must keep things on the right path and organized.
By getting the right information timely, you can make informed and better decisions to grow your business via LinkedIn.
Below, we’ll share some benefits of keeping your sales pipeline organized.
Quick reporting and analytics:
Data matters the most when it’s about sales and sales pipeline.
Your sales pipeline stats and metrics will identify whether your LinkedIn outreach campaign was successful or not. You should have instant access to all necessary reports and reviews to find new business opportunities and how you are engaging your business leads, and so on.
You can use LinkedIn’s sales navigator to view the information at a glance.
Via this feature, you can easily determine which campaign generates most of your sales leads, from where they are coming from, and their response to your requests.
This determines your campaign’s strength and sales efforts.
And because you can view the sales insights and analytics at a glance from a single point, you can make quick and fruitful decisions about your campaigns. This easy access to data and analytics will help you which campaign you should continue running and which ones need improvement.
Smart management of your inbox:
When working on your sales pipeline, you don’t want to lose a message.
But during the process, anyone can get overwhelmed by the abundance of messages and responses, and quite often, it becomes difficult to manage your LinkedIn inbox.
However, you can efficiently tackle this problem by using any third-party management tool like SproutSocial. It will help you manage your inbox from one place, and you will love its advanced filters and organization features.
Remember that your inbox is a place where most of the sales take place. Hence, losing important messages can be deadly. By managing your inbox, you can quickly identify how your sales leads are performing along with their trial at a glance.
Automate your outreach:
As your sales pipeline will grow, it can become difficult to maintain the record of your contacts.
Here is the solution for you!
After finalizing your CRM, you can start using any automation tool like Zapier to automate your workflow.
Then, you can also use this integration with your other sales tools and apps. This will save you from various hassles and significantly saves your precious time.
Play smart and be safe:
When you are working on LinkedIn sales outreach campaigns, safety should be your priority, and you cannot afford to overlook it.
Because if too many users decline your connection request, or they don’t answer your messages, or you are using spammy messages – LinkedIn will suspend your account in no time.
To ensure that your connection requests get answered, you should think about using advanced sales personalization.
To receive a response from your prospects, we will advise you to use customized images and GIFs in your LinkedIn sales messaging. According to many surveys, users love this sales approach. By being memorable, they are more likely to answer your messages.
Think in this way. When you receive up to 100 sales pitches daily, you will also answer those that include customized images and contain a bit of humor.
Learn more about the safest LinkedIn personalization outreach here.
Vital Consideration when Building a LinkedIn Sales Pipeline:
Now that you know all the necessary info about the sales pipeline and its various stages, here are some handy sales pipeline tips for LinkedIn that you should follow.
Always stay vigilant and track the results: A stagnating sales pipeline indicates various problems and issues. Stay on top of them, and keep tracking your business goals. Keep an eye on your sales pipeline and evaluate your performance on a regular basis.
The sales pipeline never ends: Sales or relationship-building never stops even when a prospect becomes your brand’s customer. A highly satisfied customer is the best friend of a salesperson.
Observe each stage individually: Identifying where snags are happening in your sales pipeline will help you manage them timely and accurately.
Keep Your Sales Pipeline Smooth: A consistent and fruitful sales pipeline acts as blood for any business. Remember that outdated and irrelevant data can clog a healthy sales pipeline. Take all the steps to ensure that you are using correct and up-to-date details. You can also use Data Validation in LinkedIn Sales Navigator with your CRM to maintain clean and reliable data.
A sales pipeline is a vital part of any marketing and outreaching campaign. The data and stats you get from it give you a better and clear picture of how your company will perform in the near future.
Lastly, keep things organized and empower your sales team so that they can efficiently manage and capitalize on your sales and marketing efforts.
Lastly, we hope this guide will assist you in creating a powerful LinkedIn sales pipeline that produces results!