Accurate sales forecasting is highly essential as it ensures optimal allocation of resources and empowers senior management to make data driven decisions to maximize profits. SugarCRM is one of the most reliable tools when it comes to making forecasts, especially for sales. Not just limited to the senior management, forecasting in SugarCRM helps salespeople in a number of ways ranging from setting sales targets to comparing forecasted versus actual sales performance.
SugarCRM was built with the purpose of creating an extraordinary solution for salespeople. From the first point of contact to finally closing the deal, Sugar lets salespeople clearly view and analyze each stage of the sales pipeline.
What Is a Sales Pipeline?
A sales pipeline refers to the steps that an organization follows in order to sell a product or service to a customer. It is required for each step of the process to be completed in order to move a prospect to the next stage, finally converting that lead into a customer. A typical sales pipeline comprises of the following four steps:
- Initial contact
- Deal closed
Managing the sales pipeline successfully will put your company’s success on an even higher trajectory. However, having more deals in the pipeline does not necessarily mean that your business can expect to earn more revenue. It all depends on how effectively salespeople deal with the prospects as they move through the pipeline. Therefore, the aid of a sales friendly CRM software is required, in which, salespeople know exactly how to deal with prospects depending on what stage of the pipeline they are at.
Stages of Sale
This is the first stage in the sales process and indicates that the opportunity with this prospect is new and needs to be qualified by a sales representative.
The sales representative interacts with the prospect to determine if a sales opportunity actually exists.
After determining that the prospect has an interest in a product or service, the sales representative now uncovers the prospect’s business challenges.
After uncovering the prospect’s business challenges, the sales representative now maps the company’s products/services to the prospect’s business challenges and describes the value of the solution.
Identification of Decision Makers
After determining that there is a match between the prospect’s business challenges and the company’s products/services, the sales representative now identifies the decision makers necessary to close this opportunity or revenue line item sale.
The sales representative analyzes the prospect’s perceived value of the company’s solution at this stage in order to prepare the appropriate combination of products and services for the sales quote.
In this stage, the sales representative delivers the proposal, sometimes called the price quote, to the prospect.
The sales representative reviews and negotiates the proposal with the prospect.
The sales representative has won this opportunity and the company can now bill the customer.
The sales representative has lost this opportunity.
Sugar Lets You Visualize Your Sales Pipeline
With Sugar, you get a comprehensive and detailed view of your pipeline. By having a single, consolidated platform where all the data is stored, you can seamlessly track the life cycle of leads and opportunities through the various stages. At a glance, executives of your company can see what revenue is expected. Reporting tools allow managers to slice and dice data to better understand lead conversion metrics beyond simple conversion to opportunity and set sales targets accordingly. Moreover, to run your SugarCRM seamlessly, you must ensure that you are taking all steps to improve the speed of your SugarCRM instance.
Tips for Pipeline Management
In sales, following best practices and a disciplined approach will increase your chances of success. Knowing where each prospect resides in the sales pipeline helps salespeople adopt strategies that will move the prospect quickly through the pipeline. Acquiring leads has become easier. The tough part is to nurture them properly along the sales cycle to increase their likelihood of getting converted into customers. A sales pipeline management software like Sugar eliminates inefficiencies caused by bottlenecks, hence, allowing salespeople to focus their energies on prospects that have the highest probability of conversion. The following points would help salespeople in managing the sales pipeline, enabling them to perform their tasks more efficiently and effectively. Sugar also helps in tracking the sales pipeline at each stage so that you can plan accordingly and take the right steps swiftly for better management and in order to maximize results.
Define Your Sales Process Intellectually
If you aspire to close a successful deal, map out every point of your interaction with the prospect beforehand. Take some time to craft a well thought out sales process that perks the organization. Every single step you define helps you identify opportunities, so classify your sales process into a few simple steps. Keep your sales process flexible for change and don’t adhere to it for a long period of time. You may need to update the process according to the feedback received from customers or the convenience of your sales team.
Organize Your Pipeline
Cluttered data doesn’t produce good results, therefore, keep your sales pipeline organized so that you can make expeditious forecasts. For instance, if you want to view the report for cost vs. quality lead, you will need well-organized data that can produce comprehensive reports to enhance informed decision making. Give proper time to managing your pipeline. Many successful businesses have unveiled the secret of their successful CRM implementations being the organization of data. Same goes for pipeline management; you cannot enjoy the fruits of this feature until or unless you have a well-organized database.
Keep Updating the Information
In your team, do you have people who are habitual of putting their sales related updates into the sales pipeline in batches? Stop them right away as it is the worst practice that they are employing. Data input in batches increases the chances of forgetting important details. You cannot risk your information, therefore, add every detail in your sales pipeline straight away, updating your information database every now and then as need arises. An up-to-date database will ultimately influence the results drawn from sales forecasting reports.
Train Your Sales Practitioners
Last but not the least, train your sales practitioners about sales pipeline usability and motivate them to make dramatic improvements in their sales performance. Having sound knowledge of sales pipeline will not only be beneficial for the organization in terms of ROI but it will also help sales personnel meet their targets. Many a times, CRM implementation fails due to lack of knowledge. Don’t let it be your reason too. Plan a few training sessions for your sales staff and sit back to enjoy an outstanding performance from their end.
Our Two Bits
Using sales pipeline management tools can do a lot for your business including helping with maintaining your customer relationships, help in developing effective strategies for more successful deals, increased customer satisfaction, streamlining of business processes, maximization of results and keeping the sales personnel on track. So start paying heed to its management and get to the peaks of success.
Rolustech is a SugarCRM Certified Developer and partner firm taking pride in successfully completing more than 700 projects in SugarCRM Customization, Integration, Migration and Support. Get your FREE Consultation Session to know how Rolustech can help you to boost the Sales of your business.