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So you’ve got your new free Hubspot CRM, downloaded our guide on how to use it and imported some of your existing contacts.

Brilliant, but now what?

Well, you could just use this online dashboard as a substitute for your previous method โ€“ a whiteboard, spreadsheet or business card box with post-it notes, you know who you are! ๐Ÿ™‚

If your ongoing strategy is to continue  calling or emailing existing customers and asking โ€˜Got any work?โ€™, then you’re missing a huge trick. Even if you’re making appropriate notes on the Contact’s profile, you’re barely scratching the surface.

You could use your shiny new CRM to store decaying purchased โ€˜lists’  for cold calling individuals with the right job role. For anyone who is even thinking about doing this, please think again!  

Ask yourself, have you ever made a purchase from a random stranger who telephoned you out of the blue to crowbar their product into a forced conversation?

Instead, you could use this exceptional piece of kit as it was intended – to really move your business forward by creating a Sales Pipeline.

What’s A Sales Pipeline?

A sales pipeline is a way of displaying a visual representation of the journey that your prospects are taking – all the way from thinking to, hopefully, buying. It allows you to see where they are in your sales process and also to assess whether you are  going to make your quota.

Some people will still have their sales pipeline on a whiteboard with post it notes where each post it note is a prospect who is moved into the different phases of the pipeline – like Kanban boards. This is fine, up to a point… but it’s the 21st century!

The importance of a sales pipeline

Being able to easily see and move the cards in the CRM on my screen has made a huge difference to my own understanding and management of the sales process.

It is simple to add notes and reminders about important points in the conversations, as well as to keep records of emails and telephone calls all in one place.

You probably have your own stats about how many prospects you need to connect with and how many conversations you need to have with each  to turn just one into a customer.

Now, think about what your actual business goal is for this year? It will probably be a turnover figure or percentage. Now ask yourself:

  • How many new customers do you have to close to achieve that increase?
  • How many prospects will you need to contact to achieve those new customers?

Sales Pipeline Management

Most sales people will have various stages that they need to push those prospects through to stand a chance of turning them into customers.

Prospecting > Qualification > Proposal > Negotiation > Close > Won

How do you keep track of where everyone is in your pipeline?

How can you see where the blockages are or check that you have enough new prospects coming in to be able to achieve your business goal?

Your sales pipeline needs to have a lot more Contacts coming in as Prospects on the left hand side in order to achieve one or two in the Won section on the right.

sales_pipeline.png

And that feeling of elation when you finally move a prospect into the Customer Won column…? Priceless!

But that’s only one reason to set up your visual pipeline! Improved organisation and efficiency will allow you to be more productive.

The Sales Pipeline in the Hubspot CRM

In the free Hubspot Sales CRM, the pipeline is the Deals dashboard where every prospect is a Deal card that can be moved through the various stages.

You will notice from the graphic that I call the stages in my pipeline Identify > Connect > Explore > Advise > Won Find out more about why I use these labels and how to set up your pipeline effectively in this post.

Is Your Website Your Best Sales Person?

Of course, being Inbound Marketers, our sales pipeline is only part of the process. The real donkey work is done by our website which is our #1 sales person! It works 24/7 365 days a year and has been programmed to attract those people who are most likely to become our customers by providing the answers to their most burning questions.

Our website and inbound marketing strategy allows our ideal customers to find us and make contact. This really takes the pressure off that Prospecting/Identify column on the left hand side because it can cut out the Identify and Connect stage altogether.  What effect will it have on your sales figures if prospects are calling you to explore how you could help them with their problem?

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