Uncover existing leads in your sales pipeline to maximise the potential of your sales team and legacy CRM system.
It’s a key issue for any sales department; the identification and assessment of existing sales opportunities in the pipeline. But there is a problem – achieving the best assessment results requires the deployment of a pipeline/CRM maintenance programme, something some companies can be reluctant to embrace due to the costs and disruption. To ignore such maintenance though is self-defeating – potentially damaging long term sales success, harming database integrity and weakening the potency of any legacy CRM system.
Instead, take the following steps to ensure that you’re fully exploiting your existing sales opportunities:
1. Assess the pipeline.
As a business, you should define what sort of leads are beneficial to you and the sort of qualities they will need to have. A prospect with a business of 250+ members might qualify as a better lead than a prospect with a business of 100-200 members, for example. You should consider who your established customers are, taking into account everything from their demographics through to behavioural traits; their company’s revenue and industry, right through to their buyer’s journey and behaviours.
This criteria can shape the lead scoring rules of your legacy CRM system and help you to decide who should be pushed through the sales pipeline.
2. Define what makes great opportunities and separate them from leads.
In order to see the true potential of current opportunities in your legacy CRM system and whether they will generate any ROI for your business, it is best to define what makes opportunities.
The definition of a great opportunity will vary between businesses, but on a top level it should be a qualified contact who has entered the buying cycle and has been contacted by Sales to establish their needs or requirements.
You can refine your definition by enhancing the scoring you had for leads, incorporating opportunities and adding pertinent elements for them. It will also be useful to look back on past deals you have won and identify what characteristics those deals had, or which characteristics in particular helped you to close the deal. This will give you a benchmark to assess your current opportunities against.
3. Purge the pipeline.
If old opportunities don’t seem to be going anywhere, then it’s time to be realistic. Rather than just removing them from your legacy CRM system, you can contact them to see if they’re happy for you to close the opportunity. In some instances, this may help you to re-engage customers, making old opportunities current and increasing the likelihood that they become deals.
With lead scoring up-to-date and all leads and opportunities assessed, you can start to refine your sales pipeline. Deal with the issue of over-saturation by deploying your new benchmarks and assessing the relevancy of existing opportunities in your pipeline. Has a prospect moved along the pipeline in recent weeks – or have they stalled? Have they become a time sink for your sales team? Has a sales member become too invested in a poor opportunity that is unlikely to become a deal?
If analysis reveals the prospect is disengaged, either send the them back to Marketing for further nurturing or drop them from your legacy CRM pipeline permanently; it’s better for Sales to focus on rich opportunities rather than waste any more time on dead ends. It will also give Sales more time to contact any new leads, repeating the process to create stronger opportunities.
Realise the potential
With deadwood removed and better scoring in place to protect the integrity of your lead qualification process, sales teams will be able to operate more efficiently and assess any remaining sales opportunities in the pipeline. The net result? The sales team will benefit from a consistent overview of qualified leads that are proven to be valuable, leading to more sales and increased revenue.
But the Sales Director’s job still isn’t finished. To secure the future integrity of the sales pipeline, they should maintain this process to ensure their legacy CRM system, pipeline, and lead scoring processes remain fit for purpose and manageable as their business expands.
Managing future opportunities
Once you have assessed existing sales opportunities in your legacy CRM system and taken the appropriate actions, you may find that the process has been somewhat laborious. If this is the case, it may be worth looking at a more modern system that will enable you to do these tasks more efficiently – particularly through automation.
- Ensure strict lead scoring processes are set up and refined based on existing customers’ demographics and behavioural traits.
- Monitor sales staff to ensure they are entering all relevant leads and data into your CRM system, so your pipeline is kept up-to-date.
- Separate leads, opportunities and deals in order to focus your efforts and maximise the potential of information in your legacy CRM.