A strong pipeline is the key factor that separates good Sales Teams from great ones. If you have any doubt about this, just look at the rise of sales development teams over the past 10 years.
As a Sales manager, there is nothing more painful than watching your hard working, talented reps miss their goals. If you’ve hired great people, it’s on you to eliminate the problems that stand in between them and success.
When we dig into it, what are the most common problems slowing down Sales Teams? How can you quickly fix these problems?
In this piece, I’ll discuss some of the tactics your team can immediately put into use to build a stronger pipeline for your business.
The 5 Major Sales Development Pipeline Killers
- Too much time spent researching
- Time wasted speaking with unqualified companies
- Poor email response rates
- Poor cold call conversion rates
- Insufficient follow up with prospects
Problem #1: Sales Reps Spend 20% Of Their Time Researching Prospects
As you think of ways to build your pipeline, there are many areas to focus on. Looking at how your reps spend their time is the first order of business.
If your team is similar to the average sales team, your reps are spending 1 full day per week researching prospects. That’s time they aren’t spending on opening calls, building their pipeline.
Solution: Arm Reps With Targeted Lists to Eliminate Research Time
Your reps activities should be spending their time doing activities that will directly lead to revenue generation.
By supplying them with a list of highly targeted accounts, by that I mean lists that move beyond the basic demographics used today to include context such as geographies, employee counts, funding stages, industries, or any other meaningful characteristic, you free up their time to do what you pay them to do: build relationships and close.
Problem #2: Reps Waste Time Speaking With Unqualified Companies
Lost sales productivity and wasted marketing budget costs companies at least $1trillion every year. There is nothing more wasteful for a company than sales reps that are forced to spend their time talking to prospects that will never close. Make sure that the conversations they are having with prospects are ones that actually have a shot at generating revenue.
Solution: Target Growing Companies Because They Have Budget
Imagine yourself sitting in a pipeline review with your team at the beginning of the week. If one of your reps was 90% confident he could close a company fresh off a round of layoffs, would that inspire confidence? Now, imagine you had just heard that company raised $100 million in funding. Do you think that account has more money to spend?
By arming your reps with lists of growing companies to work, you can improve their close rates and reduce the time they waste working accounts that will balk as soon as price comes up.
Problem 3: Sales Reps Only Get a 5% Response Rate on Cold Email Blasts
Cold emails, done well, are a surefire way for a Sales team to open up new opportunities. Unfortunately, email response rates are awful since reps send mass email blasts with virtually no personalization. Your Marketing team will never be able to supply your Sales team with enough leads to hit their goals when response rates are so low.
Let’s take look at what you can change to improve them.
Solution 3: Batch And Email Companies With Commonalities to Improve Response Rates
The best way to improve responses is by sending emails that actually resonate with the recipients, not the dreaded ‘Can you please introduce me to the person in charge of X?” In order to do this at scale, your reps should segment companies, find commonalities, and reach out with “manufactured personalization.”
A targeted email that references a company’s funding stage, city, and the fact that they have an iTunes app will change the nature of the conversation and dramatically improve response rates.
Problem 4: Reps Have Poor Cold Call Conversion Rates
With only 2% of cold calls resulting in appointments, cold calling can be a losing battle. It’s time poorly spent if it’s a channel that doesn’t convert. Add to that the fact that your reps avoid it like the plague, and this is another missed opportunity to strengthen your pipeline.
Solution 4: Call Prospects With a Deep Knowledge of Their Business to Improve Conversions
At Mattermark, 10% of our cold calls result in our appointments. We’ve gotten there by equipping our team with information that allows them to immediately establish authority. Right as our BDRs dial a prospect’s number, they visit the company’s site and quickly pull up all the information they need to be well-versed in every prospect’s business.
Problem 5: Reps Do Not Diligently Follow Up With Prospects
80% of sales require 5 or more follow-up interactions. 44% of reps give up after 1 touch. That sound you hear is your pipeline evaporating. Money is left on the table every time a lead is not thoroughly worked, and your Sales pipeline suffers accordingly.
Laziness isn’t the blocker that keeps reps from emailing prospects. It’s the fact that they don’t always have something relevant to reach out about, even when they want to.
Solution 5: Supply Reps With Timely Information So They Are More Likely To Follow Up
Get information into the hands of your reps that they would enjoy reaching out to prospects about. As a result you will see a healthier top of the funnel, improved close rates, and a more robust touch history on every qualified lead.
Your Pipeline is Growing!
You’re well aware of the problems you face. Your team is only a few small wins away from repeatable success. Start by arming them with targeted lists to reach out to in order to improve cold call conversions and email responses, and finally get them all the information they need to make sure that they have everything they need to follow up with leads a sufficient number of times. This well help you build a strong pipeline and regularly hit quota across the team.
Free Target Account List: The 37 Fastest Growing Startups That Will Likely Raise Money Soon
This spreadsheet features some of the fastest growing companies that will likely have the budget to afford your services. The spreadsheet includes funding data, employee counts and location information so that you can reach out to prospects in a targeted manner. Get your leads now and build a stronger pipeline.