Quick! Can you succinctly describe your sales process in a few sentences? In no more than a paragraph's worth of words? Think about it for a moment; I'll wait. If a short sales process description doesn't come to mind, it's alright. Even if you can answer the question, I am happy to share a very special campaign that will help you further refine how you make sales.
Develop a sales pipeline
Your sales process is arguably one of the most critical pieces in the living entity of your business. No sales equals no revenue, and if that occurs too long, you'll end up without business. Our research has revealed that when it comes to small businesses, having a clearly defined and effective sales pipeline is a rarity, but it is so necessary for success.
The operative words here are "clearly defined" and "effective." A clearly defined sales pipeline has specific and explicit milestones throughout the process and at Infusionsoft, we call those milestones your sales stages. Each stage implies that certain things have happened up to that point, and certain actions must be taken by a prospect in order to push the sale along.
An effective pipeline doesn't necessarily mean high conversions—especially when starting out—but it does mean that the strategy behind it leads to meaningful reporting. This type of visibility into your pipeline makes it easy to adjust or fix what isn't working and to amplify what is.
In the past, we haven't done a delightful job showing how to properly setup your sales pipeline and, more importantly, how to properly work your pipeline. Its not enough to get it setup, to make the money you've got to actually use it! For this very reason, I'm beyond jovial to unveil the August 2014 Free Campaign of the Month: Sales Pipeline Starter Kit.
Click for larger view
The campaign's purpose is to give you a customizable sales pipeline framework you can feel confident in, along with training on the setup and management of it once implemented. Frankly, the campaign itself doesn't contain the magic; its the diligent and proper usage of Opportunities that create huge revenues. The campaign provides the sales stage framework for any sales process, at any price point, regardless of the length of the sales cycle. The four recommended sales stages will allow you to do a dive deep into the effectiveness of your lead generation and sales teams.
Who can use it?
Any Infusionsoft customers can download any campaign from the Infusionsoft Marketplace, but because the Sales Pipeline Starter Kit uses Opportunities, you need to have the right edition of the software. As of this blog post, the two versions of Infusionsoft that include Opportunities are the Deluxe Sales and Complete editions.
Opportunities are merely a manual accountability tool for the sales process, so while you don't need a sales team to use this—for example, if you are a sole proprietor—an individual does have to be involved to sell your goods and services. If you have an automated funnel that doesn't require a prospect to speak to a live person, this particular campaign isn't going to help you very much, but it will work for both B2B and B2C businesses that use individuals to sell.
Anything else I should know?
The campaign comes out of the box with four recommended sales stages (see stage definitions on the left side of the image above) and two stages we expect you to customize. While you may be thinking that you need more than just two sales stages after qualified, I invite you to try on the idea that you really don't. I have personally set up many opportunity pipelines using those stages and in most cases, there are not more than six stages in the entire process (not including Win/Lost stages). The more stages your pipeline has, the more challenging it will be for your sales reps to manage in their day-to-day, and the more challenging your reporting as a sales manager will be. Can you add extra stages? Of course! However, I'd try and see if you can pick two really meaningful milestones after qualified and use those for a bit. If, after a few months, you really do need more granularity in the stages, then add more.
The campaign launch instructions live in a Help Center article that is a linked on the campaign itself and this is because the campaign setup also requires you to build your dashboard and learn how to manage your pipeline daily. It will make it much easier for you to build the campaign by watching the help videos.
There is one very important point to consider with this campaign: To make money using a sales pipeline, you have to commit to working your pipeline daily!
Remember, an opportunity is simply a manual accountability tool. You tell the system when you need to follow up with a prospect next, but it is up to you to build the habit of logging in daily and seeing who you said you were going to talk to today. Based on past experience with customers in pipeline setup, the the primary reason they "fail" is because they are not committed to logging in every morning and working their pipeline. But when they do use it daily, watch out! The results are often beyond their expectations!
How do I get it?
Check out the Marketplace listing and download it to your Infusionsoft account.
That’s it for this month, but please let me know what you think in the comments below and keep your eyes peeled for next month's campaign that will help you with following up with warm leads before the sale. You'll need that campaign after you implement this month's campaign and develop a great sales pipeline.