Focused and systematic prospecting is critical to building a sales pipeline.
Contacts who are more likely to respond positively to your outreach efforts are doubly inclined to purchase your product or service. Therefore, sales teams should prioritize them.
However, sellers aren’t always able to choose, which leads to a focus on a large pool of prospects.
Several sales teams prioritize leads in different ways. While there is no right or wrong way to go about it, it is critical to take an impartial, data-driven approach.
Instead of depending entirely on gut instinct, prejudices, and perceived brand repute, as was the case not long ago, the greatest sellers employ facts and figures to support their prospecting judgments.
This is where Signal Intelligence enters the picture.
Staying on top of an ever-changing market necessitates intelligent data collection and signal utilization. Sellers that use signals have a better chance of connecting with the right buyer at the right moment, which leads to more high-quality sales possibilities.
Because of signals, sellers no longer have to prospect blindly. Sellers save time and resources by pursuing leads who are most likely to purchase and convert.
Problem: Having a Weak Sales Pipeline
According to a Harvard Business Review study, pipeline management is so important that organizations with a well-defined sales pipeline develop 15% faster than companies without one.
You’ll be able to track your leads as they progress from one stage to the next if you have a well-designed pipeline. The crucial information you’ll acquire will help you make good decisions and optimize your selling process to maximize revenue because a B2B sales pipeline has several decision-makers and touchpoints.
However, when salespeople think about developing a sales pipeline, the conventional means of prospecting—cold calling and emailing—come to mind first. The global pandemic hastened the digital transformation, which has resulted in the exponential expansion of social selling. These are the most frequent strategies for building a sales pipeline, and they’ve all been confirmed to work.
But why do so many salespeople—an average of 67 percent, according to research conducted by the TAS group—continue to struggle to satisfy their quota demands year after year?
There is no such thing as a perfect sales team. After all, teams are made up of human beings, and humans make mistakes. People learn by making mistakes, admitting mistakes, and vowing never to make the same mistake again.
The last aspect is critical in sales, where even seemingly minor errors should be corrected before they negatively influence the building of a sales pipeline, which many companies already suffer from.
The following are some of the most prevalent consequences of a poor sales pipeline:
1. Dealing with a pipeline that has far too few opportunities
In the B2B world, closing a deal can take several months. Most accounts should expect modest growth due to a large number of touchpoints and decision-makers.
This, however, just necessitates further B2B sales lead generation activities. Working with a pipeline of too few opportunities will almost certainly hurt an organization’s annual revenue.
“That’s the number one issue in the sales pipeline,” says PipelineSignals Co-Founder Amar Sheth. “You can’t manage people if you don’t have people to manage.”
2. A stream of inferior leads
This will result in fewer sales, sapping a significant portion of an organization’s annual revenue. If your leads are consistently poor, check your ICP to make sure you’re targeting the proper clients.
Examine whether you truly comprehend your desired consumer profile criteria. How thoroughly have you defined and understood them, and do marketing and sales have a firm grasp on what that entails?
3. The gatekeeper problem
It’s critical to identify the decision-makers for each potential account in the pipeline.
Wasting time and money on opportunities that won’t convert because you’re haggling with someone who can’t make a choice is a surefire way to generate a negative return on investment.
When you’re directing people and helping them understand what has to happen and who you should contact to trigger a sales opportunity, you need to have a thorough qualification procedure in place. Suppose your salespeople don’t know how to get meetings with a company’s more senior players or the traditional decision-maker. In that case, you’ll end up with an inflated funnel with little to no [actual] chances of closing.
Approaching prospects based on signals is the most powerful tactic to gain an asymmetric edge over your competitors. Signals provide impartiality and clarity in determining which accounts will yield opportunities and which will be risky.
These are only three of the problems your team can face if their pipeline creation process is ineffective. If one of your sellers has one of these issues, take a step back and evaluate your monitoring and pipeline management tactics objectively to guarantee your pipeline delivers a consistent revenue stream.
Using Signals to Not Miss Out on Opportunities
Now that we’ve demonstrated the negative consequences of a weak sales pipeline, let’s look at how signal intelligence might assist us in resolving the problem.
Compelling Events Signals are triggers in the industry or business environment that allow two businesses to interact for mutual advantage in the B2B market. Trigger signals could be the appointment of a new C-level executive in your prospecting firm or the adoption of a new tool by the same firm.
The most common reasons for customer prospecting include new product or service announcements, company expansion or relocation, higher business expenses, mergers or acquisitions, layoffs, or a change in the marketing channel. The commencement of a sales cycle can be signaled by almost any shift in the industry—for example, new laws, a competitor’s new product introduction, or significant industry advancements.
Is there a present provider with whom your prospecting firm is dissatisfied? Has there been a recent shift in managerial strategy? Perhaps it entered a new market. Or maybe you’ve seen a change in your consumer base, or perhaps in your sales? Rounds of funding, honors, and recognition are all events that require your attention because these events are opportunities for you to present your solution to another company.
However, signals are easy to miss—after all, they don’t come with a label.
That’s why your sales staff must understand what to look for and how to contact prospects who are active in these signals.
An individual from one of your existing accounts joining a new account is an example. It will appear on LinkedIn as a standard job transfer announcement. A savvy salesperson, on the other hand, would see an opportunity here.
When a significant stakeholder is involved, the opportunity grows. Suppose you have a customer who you’ve interacted with before, and they’re suddenly in another account. In that case, you’ll have a lot better chance of building a relationship there than if you call on other accounts at random.
Because roughly 70% of a decision maker’s budget is typically decided within the first six to nine months after joining an account, the signal becomes significantly stronger when they join. When it comes to pipeline success, knowing when someone joins becomes vital because all budgets are practically set, and all you have to do now is persuade them to spend it on your product.
Using Signal Intelligence as a Security System
In our homes, we have a security system. If something happens, we have a firm that will keep an eye on our house and alert the cops if necessary. So there’s some sort of protection.
Signals give a measure of protection for your customers and pipeline in the same manner. Because it protects and monitors your existing relationships and the revenue you earn (or could get) from them, it’s like an insurance policy for your ROI.
Never forget that your competitors are making identical sales movements to you and that they’re also connecting, scaling, altering, and most likely targeting the same accounts you are.
If you find out that someone from a competitor is chatting with one of your prospects out of the blue, you should be concerned. Worse yet, what if a competitor’s account is linked to your prospect account? They’ll most likely favor their prior employer because they’re more familiar with it. Now, which solution do you think they’ll prefer, yours or theirs?
Signals differ from other sales tools in that they extend beyond providing information on people searching for a keyword, visiting a specific website, or performing other behaviors. You’ll be able to find better opportunities with signals, whether they’re within your current accounts or with potential customers.
Especially during critical periods, you’ll never miss employees joining or leaving your prospective companies. You’ll never be left out of a conversation. Competitors talking to your accounts and the threats they pose will never escape your notice.
You won’t be able to miss it—and that’s a big deal.