Sales can take a long time. In fact, it can take 84 days to convert from initial interest to opportunity and finally to deal. Since your pipeline is covering thousands of prospects at a time, it’s important to pay attention to where the opportunities exist.

Ensure you know industry best-practices for skill-based training with this  executive kickoff planning kit.

Creating strong pipeline coverage will assist your sales teams in meeting your revenue goals. The question most sales professionals need to ask is whether or not their pipeline coverage is strong enough to meet revenue goals.

If you’re unsure of how strong your pipeline coverage truly is, review these methods for building stronger pipeline coverage. If you’re already incorporating most of them into your strategy, you should be well on your way to meeting revenue goals.


Create a Road Map

The revenue goal has already been set. Instead of focusing on it, take the time to plan how you and your sales teams will arrive there. A goal like “3x pipeline coverage at all times” sounds good in theory, but it lacks information about concrete actions. What should a sales professional be doing?

Sales professionals should measure what should be controlled in order to build the pipeline. A good example would be determining how many social media posts per day a project receives.

Sales professionals also know the pipeline should contain multiple channels. If the conversion rate for one channel is low, your sales teams can shift their focus to other channels. Determine which channels should be included in the pipeline, and then designate them by importance for each project.


Monitor Opportunity Progress

In theory, opportunities flow through your pipeline from initial opportunity to deal. Some opportunities may be caught up or stagnate along the pipeline. Too many prospects at the top of the pipeline or clustered near the bottom can cause issues as each prospect vies for the limited attention of your sales teams.

Discover where these hang-ups exist and determine how best to manage them. If there are stagnating prospects holding up the cycle, your sales team members need a plan for how to manage them.


What about Dark Leads?

Sometimes, prospects go dark. It’s a fact of life most sales professionals recognize. There are many different reasons. A prospect may be busy. They may be distracted by your competition.

Consider how to reignite these prospects but be mindful of their timelines. If a prospect says they are busy, give them space and focus the team’s efforts on another prospect. Balancing engagement with knowing when to focus on a more promising lead will yield better results.


Work on Engagement and Nurturing

There’s a simple rule all sales professionals should keep in mind when it comes to creating better pipeline coverage. Content equals visibility, and visibility eventually equals sales. Without visibility, your pipeline could end up being virtually non-existent.

It won’t matter how great your products and sales teams are if you’re never noticed by potential clients. Shift your focus to increasing visibility. Expend some effort on improving rep performance at the latter end of the pipeline to grow sales and revenue.

Sales professionals should also be encouraged to think less about closing deals and more about engaging and nurturing the prospects in your pipeline. Modern buyers want to build a relationship with the companies they purchase from, and the foundation of any relationship is engagement.


Creating Stronger Pipeline Coverage

If you’re already incorporating most of these methods into your pipeline coverage, you’ve likely built a strong, viable pipeline. Your sales representatives are likely giving it good coverage as well, and you should be well on your way to meeting revenue goals.

If you’ve noticed some of these pieces are missing, consider wrapping them into your strategic plan for building and covering your pipeline. In a world full of surprises, continuing to build on an already strong pipeline is never a mistake.


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Jamie Shanks

Author: Jamie Shanks

Jamie Shanks is a world-leading Social Selling expert and author of the book, "Social Selling Mastery - Scaling Up Your Sales And Marketing Machine For The Digital Buyer". A true pioneer in the space of digital sales transformation, Jamie Shanks has trained over 10,000's of sales professionals and leaders all around the world.

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