Pipeline & Business Development: Follow These Steps to Grow Sales!
You might be wondering, why does a CPA talk about sales? What does the guy who works on my financials know about sales in the first place? Good questions!
Over the years working with business owners like you, we have found that a business without a very clear focus on sales generally underperforms and does not reach its planned growth goals. Through trial and error, we set up a structure that helped our clients stay focused on sales and meet, better yet, exceed their goals by having a well thought out sales process. If you follow these steps, you most likely will see improvements in your sales!
Keep Good Records of your Leads
Make sure that you have a CRM or Client Relationship Management program. In your CRM, you’ll keep the contact information of your leads, keep track of lead status and document all steps of the process. If your business is small or just starting out, you can start with something simple such as a spreadsheet, Trello, or Airtable. Once your business can afford it, you should invest in something more robust such as HubSpot. HubSpot has a free version as well.
Below is a custom Airtable Template CRM that we created for you free of charge. If you would like to get your copy, please request here.
Having a Pipeline Meeting on a Regular Cadence
Now that you have your CRM up and running, you need to set up meetings to review it on a regular basis. We recommend doing this weekly and setting a time on a predetermined day of the week. If weekly sounds too much for you, keep it at a minimum of bi-weekly. Having a set time written in stone will keep you focused and on target. This will enable you to stay focused and on top of the business progress. Without a regular schedule, your pipeline can quickly get out of hand. At times the meetings will be short, but that’s okay.
It is important that you allot time for those meetings within your busy schedule, as the purpose of having a healthy pipeline is to ensure a steady stream of future deals. Be mindful, although your business is doing great at the moment, you could be headed for future trouble if you don’t have a big enough pipeline.
The Pipeline Meeting
Following is what needs to be discussed at the meeting;
- Review new leads that came in since the prior meeting and determine which are qualified leads. This meeting will help you discover the quality of your pipeline.
- See what stalled and why
- Know and analyze your conversion rate
- What is the average length of open leads, and what can be done to close them faster?
- Is there enough business in your pipeline to sustain both your current and future cash position?
- Review website traffic
- Marketing and advertising plans
When the meeting is done, you need to figure out the actions that need to be taken to expand and increase your pipeline.
The pipeline meeting should be attended by, depending on your company size: Owner, Sales Director, Sales Team, Marketing Representative, and bookkeeper. The meeting should take place even if your company is very small and you’re just getting started. If you are a solopreneur, the meeting would be by yourself. You should block out time to focus on sales. If it’s difficult for you to do it by yourself, you can do it with a friend or your spouse.
At Oberlander & Co, we help our clients facilitate the pipeline meeting as part of our Virtual CFO services. If this is something you struggle with and would like our assistance, please reach out to us here.