4 Ways to Keep Your Sales Pipeline Full

In the world of sales, the only thing you can be sure of, year after year, is a higher quota. However, most sales professionals still have trouble meeting the increasing demands of their quota, even if they already expect it.

One of the leading causes of this problem is a lack of prospects.

Think of it this way: When there aren’t enough leads at the top of your sales funnel, you would eventually be left with zero opportunities to close deals.

Now, how can salespeople make quota when the number of people that they’re supposed to talk to is declining, while sales quotas keep going up every year?

We couldn’t stress enough how important it is for your team to keep their sales pipelines full.

When your sellers have plenty of opportunities to sell, they wouldn’t have to resort to giving discounts, guilting their prospects, and other practices that could harm their bottom line in the long run. With a full sales pipeline, your whole team can be firm on the price your product deserves, knowing that there are plenty of other opportunities you can fall back on.

The result: A larger average deal size, more referrals, and positive feedback.

To learn more about pipeline creation, check out The Fundamentals of Sales Pipeline Creation.

Here some ways your team can maintain a healthy sales pipeline:

1. Upsell and cross-sell

Working non-stop to attract new customers can be exhausting. That’s why upselling to your existing clients is one of the easiest paths you can take to increase your revenue.

In fact, the likelihood that you’ll be able to sell again to an existing customer could be as high as 70%. In contrast, your chances of closing a deal with a new client only stand at 5 to 20%.

Let us explain why.

With new customers, you need to establish trust before they’ll even listen to you, let alone buy your product. It could be a long process, and the customer is often resistant.

In comparison, your existing customers are already familiar with you and your product. They trusted you enough to buy from you. And if they already bought from you once, it shouldn’t be too difficult to persuade them to buy from you again—unless their experience with you is negative.

Always remind your team to monitor and regularly check in with their existing account. By continuously addressing their clients’ needs and providing them with value, they’ll be able to unlock more ways to increase their sales.

2. Incorporate social selling

Social selling is necessary to survive and thrive in today’s modern, digital sales environment. The sooner your revenue team embraces this, the faster you will meet your quotas, grow your pipeline, and maximize your profitability.

The SPEAR Selling strategy is an effective way to fill your sales pipeline with quality leads. First, a seller needs to be accountable for their own territory by visualizing their Total Addressable Market (TAM). This allows them to see clearly where gaps and opportunities lie. They can then apply sales intelligence against accounts in their TAM so they can objectively Select and Prioritize the most promising prospects using data-based Signals.

From there, the seller moves on to Planning—developing executive business plans for the top accounts. Engagement starts after, driven by synchronous and asynchronous video content.
Next, the seller Activates customers by applying the signal intelligence and the stories they have created against their accounts. The seller should gauge the customers’ feedback—also known as buying intent—before moving to the Reprioritize phase, wherein the seller will redevelop their TAM based on all the data they have gleaned. It’s a cyclical process that will result in a precise, continuously enhanced social selling strategy that actually delivers measurable results.

To learn more about pipeline creation, check out The Fundamentals of Sales Pipeline Creation.

3. Ask for referrals

Your current customers are your best source of your next customers simply because there’s proof that they believe in your value proposition. They wouldn’t buy your product otherwise.

So once a customer has crossed a certain lifetime value with you, ask them to refer you to someone in their sphere of influence who can use your product. But for this play to work, you have to be specific about who you’d like to be referred to.

“If you could find out who they’re connected to using the power of social media, then you can ask for strategic referrals,” says Amar Sheth, our Partner for Customer Experience. “Using tools like LinkedIn, you can determine who they’re connected to and ask for a strategic and precise referral. This way, you can enter accounts of your choice, not just the choice of the customer.”

You should likewise be wary of the timing of your referral request. Once you ask for a referral, if you get a no, you can’t really ask again. You don’t want to come across as self-serving by fishing for a referral too early, or by asking in the middle of a complicated project. Wait until you’ve crossed a certain lifetime value with a client before doing so.

Remember: Referrals naturally happen if you earn them.

And you earn them by doing a professional job in driving value for the customer, rather than pushing your own self-serving agenda.

4. Know your top customers and focus on them

  • Grow deeper in existing accounts

In time, you’ll observe that your team closes more deals with companies from a certain industry. If you close four times more deals with consumer electronic corporations than automobile manufacturers, then it only makes sense for your team to prioritize the former. 

The same logic applies with roles within a company. If you’re 46% likelier to win the deal when you work with the operations team versus the culture team, you should get an introduction to an operations employee ASAP.

  • Focus on account retention

Account retention entails building relationships with your customers and maximizing revenue from every single one of them. But it’s not a one-way street: You have to provide more value to your existing customer base as well.

Your sellers should ensure that the customers they have acquired will have a great experience with your company and will stay satisfied with your products and services. Some strategies include improving customer support, offering discounted renewal rates, and rolling out multi-channel engagement campaigns for existing clients.

Our final tip?

Keep your sales team updated on the latest sales strategies and best practices.

The pandemic has proved that you can’t afford to stay complacent, even if your team has decades of experience under their belts. Read articles and books, develop new skills, and try different sales techniques. An empowered team of sellers that can strategize by themselves is an asset to any company.

These are just a few ways your team can keep their sales pipelines robust without losing efficiency. To learn more about pipeline creation, check out The Fundamentals of Sales Pipeline Creation.


The Evolution of Sales for Life

Before Sales for Life became a global sales training powerhouse, we used to be a local B2B sales recruitment and staffing agency. Even back then, we have observed that salespeople were struggling with cold calls and emails—and I struggled with this, too.

Prior to joining Sales for Life, I was running a consulting company that, at one point, was on the verge of failing. I was trying to create sales pipeline for my business, but all my attempts to do so had failed.

How Social Selling Started

Desperate for a solution, I went on LinkedIn. Back then, my activity on the platform was limited to the occasional post every few weeks or so. But that night, I spent hours looking at the updates within my network, checking who’s connecting with whom, who’s joining which company.

This was when I realized that I can connect with my ideal customers by leveraging my LinkedIn network. In my mind, I’ve found a way to solve my pipeline problems. I dove right into it and in a few weeks, I saw my pipeline growing AND converting. After a few months, I had created a process for it.

Jamie Shanks

So when I joined Sales for Life in 2012, I started conducting social selling training to companies in Toronto, Canada. And when social media really took off and companies started paying more attention to their social networks, we developed Social Selling Mastery: A training program that teaches sellers how to use content as a magnet for attracting leads, complemented by the use of social selling methods as a “spear” for targeting specific prospects that have a higher chance of converting into customers.

Social Selling Mastery became our flagship product for several years: A B2B sales training program that generated billions of dollars in pipeline & revenue for our customers, including well-known global Fortune 100 brands. 

But being an enterprise solution has its challenges. While social selling can accelerate growth, a number of our customers have already reached the point where they need to scale in a bigger way. For these customers, inbound demand generation was no longer sufficient to maintain growth. In order to keep scaling, they had to switch to an account-based sales motion. 

Pipeline Creation at Scale

So we adapted our training curriculum, embedding the foundations of social selling into an account-based everything sales model and continuously evolving to cater to our customers’ needs. By 2019, we have recognized that, while solely teaching sales prospecting methodology delivered impressive results, we can still improve the way companies generate pipeline at scale. 

You see, despite the proliferation of digital sales tools, a lot of salespeople—as much as 50+ percent—are still failing to make quota. Of those who fail to hit their targets, 83 percent cite poor time management as the top reason for their failure. Salespeople are spending too much time on leads that lead to nowhere.

Our focus had to shift from only teaching social selling, to also equipping revenue teams with the ability to create pipeline at scale.

By monitoring sales intelligence within your accounts, we could minimize the risk of your sellers spending too much time on accounts that have a slim chance of converting into actual sales opportunities. 

Leveraging Data for Intelligence

That’s why we created the ScalePipeline System: To help you open doors prescriptively through data, intelligence, and evidence, and in an objective, systematic method that leads to predictable success.

The ScalePipeline System brings together intelligence and workflows, driven by sales training and coaching to enable revenue teams to predictably and continuously scale pipeline. 

In other words, we’ll monitor your accounts for sales intelligence and teach you how to convert it. This helps find missed opportunities and reduces risk.

With this process, we can get your whole team to grow pipeline by upwards of 25 percent in about a quarter, without having to spend on additional hires. And since the ScalePipeline System is 100 percent based on data, you can achieve results even during an uncertain time like a global pandemic, when investments into sales teams are low to none.

Continuous Learning, Always Evolving

In the nine years that I’ve been with Sales for Life, the only thing that remained constant is growth. The last decade saw a massive shift from traditional to digital selling, shaking the foundations of most B2B revenue teams. We’ve made it our mission to continuously adapt to the latest technology and methods and pass on what we’ve learned to the community, giving them a soft place to land in the complicated world of modern sales.

Our unwavering commitment towards pipeline growth is not our legacy, but our heritage. It’s our north star, guiding us to the future of sales.

Join us, we’re ready for you.