What Is A Deal Pipeline And How To Use It?

Abhishek A Agrawal
December 25, 2020

Before we get to the “How”, let’s get to the “What” and “Why” of a deal pipeline.
There are only two outcomes a deal ends with – won or lost. However, a lot happens between the start and the end!
What this also means is that anytime you open your business overview, you are likely going to find deals that are pending or haven’t met their conclusion.
Our job would be to ensure that most deals become a hit. But, that’s a challenge because at whatever time you check, you will find all your leads different from one another. That also means, one lead may take almost no time before purchase yet another may take a month!
So, you can’t leave all your deals under the hood of “let’s see”.
You need to define each stage!
You may even need to make different stages as per the client.
Say, if a client gets a demo but makes a booking with you for a face-to-face talk, it would be another stage added.
Does that mean you take a paper and start drawing a flow-chart using your favourite pen?
No.
Things have gotten smarter. You should get yourself a deal pipeline CRM tool.

 

What’s a deal pipeline?

It’s a visual flowchart of how a deal works.
A deal pipeline has certain milestones on it, each milestone designating a new stage of the sales process. As you reach one milestone along the way, you get the next milestone for your journey.
In most CRMs, you can just update your deal stage manually. However, the smarter ones would do the job for you! We’ll see how in a bit.
sales-automation
Most deal pipelines start with a lead and end with a client. However, the modern deal pipelines extend for the post-sales process too.
So why do you really need a deal pipeline?
Because –

  • You want to structure your work
  • You want to get a total estimate for the revenue part. Your deal pipeline would also help you prioritize the deals where you are making a larger sum.
  • Understanding the speed of your business is crucial. So is understanding the conversion rate! Your deal pipeline can give you both. You can very easily track at what stage does your business lose most leads. Based on this information, you might want to adjust your pipeline or train your sales reps.
  • When you have access to your business in more organized formats, you can predict helpful terms such as MRR, sales forecast easier.

So, if you are looking to up the productivity of your sales reps, start using your deal pipeline today.
But remember, a deal pipeline is only as good as the customizability that it has to offer.
Essentially, any deal pipeline just comprises various stages of your sales process. Some proper looking tool, which does not cater to your specific sales model or does not allow you to design your pipeline your way is of no use to you.
So, you should first learn how to design a deal pipeline.

 

How to design a deal pipeline properly?

You win or you don’t, but these are both the final episodes of a deal. Before you reach the grand finale for any deal, you must take your leads on a journey.
This journey is your customer journey.
If we were to draw the roadmap of this journey on a piece of paper, it would conventionally look like a funnel. At the top end would be your leads and towards the bottom end would be your customers.
Naturally, the leads would be at the wider end and the funnel keeps getting narrower as you move down and filter out more and more leads on every stage.
So, we can divide this funnel into three parts:
TOFU-MOFU-BOFU.
Top Of The Funnel
Middle Of The Funnel
Bottom Of The Funnel

Each of these parts has various stages to it.
Let’s start with TOFU.

Awareness

In the beginning of this journey, you only have a lead to start with. How would you get the lead? Through marketing campaigns!

First touchpoint

Now, upon seeing your social media ads, leads may drop you a comment. They may even try mailing or better yet, they may be calling you. If the lead has initiated the contact, the interest levels are high. So, this is naturally the lead your marketing department would pursue more actively.
Leads that may have shown interest during TOFU would be passed to MOFU.

Filtering

At this point, your marketing guys register your leads into their database but via different groups. The leads that have shown more interest or curiosity about your product are hot leads, or in technical terms, Marketing Qualified Leads. These are tickled down the deal pipeline for your sales guys to pursue.

 

Prospecting

If a particular lead shows more inclination towards purchasing your offerings, it becomes a red hot lead or in technical words a Sales Qualified Lead. These are the prospects that your sales guys focus the most on because these guys are the most likely to buy.

 

Sales Pitch

Your sales rep heads out with their sales pitch. This can be in the form of a cold call or a full-on ppt during long meetings.

 

Demo

Just like how automobile companies offer a demo walk-through of the car you have your eyes on and even allow a test-drive, you too need to let your leads get a first-hand experience of your product.

Your focus should be on helping a lead understand why out of so many possible products, your product is the one they deserve.
You would have the lowest number of leads in your pipeline once you cross MOFU.
Any lead that wasn’t interested to buy would have dropped. Now, you just have prospects, who need help with the purchase.
This brings us to BOFU.

Guide

At this stage, your customer is sure they want to be your consumer.
You just need to help them understand how to make a transaction.

 

Incentive

We all have that client who needs a little more. And there is nothing wrong in wanting more! So, maybe you entice them with discounts or special offers or free a trial.

 

Conclusion

This is where you conclude the deal as “won” or “lost”.
What comes out of this funnel are your successful deals aka buyers.
This funnel is the marketing sales funnel.
If you divided the funnel in two halves, the upper half would comprise marketing efforts, while the lower half would comprise sales efforts.
It’s a continuous process and you can not tire. However, you’re only human, and you need some machine assistance.
No worries!
A great CRM tool such as CompanyHub will also be great at managing your business. You’ll get deal pipeline management features.
Using CompanyHub’s deal pipeline CRM, you can set the various stages you have planned in your marketing funnel.
We understand that no two businesses work exactly the same. In fact, why even go to two “businesses”, no two products work the same despite the fact that one business made them!
For instance, the process of selling a car involves a lot more stages than selling the fuel does! So, naturally, you would need to make a deal pipeline that fits your product.
At CompanyHub, you can do that.
We give you the power to customize a deal pipeline however much you want to customize.

 

Custom Fields

Track any information you want to. You can do so using our custom fields. Let’s say you want to prioritize your deals based on the profits they generate, you can add a custom field and track it!

 

Multiple Pipelines

If you have multiple products, get multiple pipelines. You should also make a custom field as per each product, so you can track which one of your products are the best-sellers.

 

Probability Scale

A custom field for probability would help you track how likely a deal is to convert.
How does this work?
The software analyses your client’s shopping patterns, their inclination towards your specific product, and more such details to predict your luck.

 

Customizing The Deal Pipeline

Depending on what you want your deal pipeline for, you can add numerous custom fields.
Moreover, unlike other CRM tools, you don’t have to make do with a ready-made template.
You can bring your own system to execution.
With us, there is no limit to how many stages could you add, subtract, modify, or totally eliminate. Whatever your plan is, our pipeline flow would deliver it!

 

How to leverage deal pipelines to maximize your sales?

You know how to design your deal pipeline.
However, there is so much that a good deal pipeline can do for you, if you watch closely.

 

Automation

Whatever business you are into, productivity is a must.
However, there are certain tasks, which may be consuming way too much time.

  • Writing mails every time you onboard a client
  • Reminding your sales people every time a deal moves a stage
  • Manually assigning a deal to different sales reps at different stages
  • Just a few examples! In a company, over 60% of such repetitive tasks can be automated.

Save your marketing and sales team more time for brainstorming and real important jobs by automating emails for every stage.
Let’s say, when your leads inquire about the product the first time, you automatically want them to receive a copy of your brochure.

Now, that will be a difficult job if you had to dedicate someone from your team for this. Luckily, with a great CRM, you don’t have to.
Just automate!
Want to send a payment receipt? Automate!
Want to send a visit confirmation? Automate!
Plus, you can pre-finalize your mail templates. You will be able to send in bulk while also maintaining your personal touch.

  • Mail Perfection!
    CompanyHub’s mailing features allow you to even do your email marketing fully automatic!
    How?You can send hundreds of recipients the same mail within a second without losing your personal touch because you get to customize your mail templates!

    You can also track who opened the links in your mail, and even allow every recipient to book an appointment over the mail.

    But why keep the automation to just mails!

  • Task Management
    We do give you automation in your task management as well. Do you have a specific person for every stage of the deal? Just tell us once, and every time you make a new deal pipeline we shall automatically take care of it!Of course, you can make this manual too whenever you want to change something. Just like the status of your deal!
  • Drag And Drop Editor
    You can drag and drop a deal from one stage to another, just like that!
  • Automated Responses
    The best part is you get to set automated responses as well. Every time you score a deal, send them automatic mails to welcome them in.Plus, your CRM will help you generate automated bills as your deals conclude. Just a few simple clicks, your work gets done!
  • Centralized Database And Lead Management
    As your business grows, you will need a safe and secure database.Smart tools like CompanyHub will give you that and a 360 view for all your contacts.

    You need just a cursor and a simple scroll to add notes, send mails, assign deals, move leads, and everything else.

    However, just having a place for your leads isn’t enough. No two leads behave exactly the same!

    Use our custom fields, filters, and tables for the lead management that helps you give each lead a unique and special treatment.

    Why club them all together? Let them breathe in their own space. Use the power of distinction to help each lead appropriately today.

  • Filters
    You can make as many filters as you fancy – the demographics, the worth of their order, the sales rep handling them, what product are they in for, their probability to buy- these can be utilized as filters.How?

    Try Now!

  • Reminders And Notifications
    So, you have your leads filtered, but they need your personal touch right!
  • Automatic Follow-ups
    You might wanna follow-up with “warm” leads more frequently, and with “cold” leads, after a month probably!You won’t have to remember the dates, just tell our hotness meter how warm a deal feels, and we’ll send automated reminders and follow-up suggestions.

    Not just that, we give out reminders for pending invoices to you as well as your clients.

  • Reporting
    This personal touch is all the more important in your reports. You need reports that make sense to your business.While every CRM tool claims to be flexible, that’s not enough. You need something made for your industry specifically, and that’s what CompanyHub is known for!

    You can get stage-wise reports as well to help you micro-manage your pipeline.

    You may even find our custom-field reports helpful. For every filter you set, there can be reports. Say, you set a filter on product type, then we can give you reports on which products are doing you proud and which ones need your attention.

    Similarly, if your filter is probability, we could show you what kind of deals have a higher chance and further report you the stats on this.

    Once you find the above features in just one central place, you have a good deal pipeline management to begin with. However, that’s not all!

    Remember we told you a sapling would need constant nurturing. You can not let your deals go stale.

    Some deals may be closed with a “lost” tag, but they can still be “won”.

  • Overcome The Bottleneck
    Remember how we told you the marketing funnel is mostly a “funnel”. There comes a point between the wide end and the narrow end, when the funnel slanders drastically.This is that point where you lose most of your leads. A lot could be held responsible for this.

    Maybe the leads just lost their interest in your brand. That can be avoided using follow-up mails.

    Maybe your team changed or new people took over the older deals. With CompanyHub, your sales reps can leave their notes and details alongside a lead’s name.

    This way, a new person taking over the deal would know all that has been done.

    Something like a difficult booking procedure can throw your deals off.

    With CompanyHub, you allow your leads to book a demo or visit slot with you over mail.

    Multiple clicks and redirects? No more! This simple booking process brings you more bookings, more interest, more conversions, and more “win”!

  • Plan Your Future
    A good businessman stops at…nothing!
    If your deal pipeline is giving you maximum victories, you would like to sustain those numbers!How does that happen?

    You can do it two ways:

    1. Persuade your cold leads into buying: That happens when you follow-up with them.
    2. Persuade your existing buyers into buying repeatedly: That happens when you follow-up with them!

    So, a deal isn’t won at the payment receipt. If you really want to win a buyer for life, you would have to follow-up with them post sales.

    You want to ensure your product is their permanent choice, and that happens when you stay in touch, listen to your customers, and help them get better outcomes.

    This is also important if we think about the cost of getting a new customer on-board. Rigorous follow-ups, the anxiety, the monetary investments – that and more goes into bagging A NEW DEAL!

    Your older customers are already sold by your product. You have saved a lot of time and resources if you have a loyal customer.

A deal pipeline may start at “leads” but the end goal should not be “sales”, it should be “repeat sales”.
Only then will you bear the sweet fruits a deal pipeline tree has to offer throughout your lifetime.

Leave a Reply