5 reasons why your small business needs a strong sales pipeline

We all want to have a strong sales pipeline, right? Who wouldn’t want to have a consistent flow of prospects interested in engaging their company? But the value of a strong sales pipeline goes beyond the marketing and sales team. It’s like having a tailwind for your whole business.

If there is one thing you can do to make your job easier as a business owner, it’s to strengthen your sales pipeline.

Yes you need to pay your bills, and keep your team in line, and deliver consistently to your existing clients, but none ofthat needs to be your #1 priority. You can, and should, hire someone to do that other stuff!

sales-pipeline-reasons

But as the business owner, your priority needs to be filling the sales pipeline. Let me show you why!

1. When your sales pipeline is strong, you are more selective with your clients

One sure sign of a successful business is that they select the right clients. When your pipeline is strong you can say “no” to work that’s not a good fit–work that doesn’t align with what you are best at. By doing that, you have more work that moves smoothly through your organization. You aren’t learning new industries or trying to offer new services, but you are delivering your best work time and time again. This makes it easier to have the right staff and keep them consistently busy; it makes it easier to estimate correctly so that your business remains profitable. A robust pipeline that allows you to turn the “wrong” client away is an important key to your success!

But it’s not just about efficiency. When you’re able to be selective, that also means you don’t have to work for jerks. Clients who abuse your staff, or who are disrespectful, can be shown the door–and that does wonders for staff morale and engagement.

2. When your sales pipeline is strong, you don’t discount

When we have a strong pipeline we don’t feel the need to negotiate on price. When someone asks for a discount we know with confidence that we can get another client (at full price) to replace this cheapskate! So we say no. This means that we have the profits we need to invest in better tools, and improve our staff. It means we can make good money ourselves!

3. When your sales pipeline is strong, you don’t have to “break” your internal processes

When clients come by who want our help, but who want us to step outside of our normal processes, I always cringe. I want to say “Yes! Of course we can.” But I know that every special process means that it’s going to cost us more–and give us opportunities to screw up!

When our pipeline is strong I am more likely to hold to our process (which, I know, works); I’m not going to panic when the client tells us “it has to be done by” some unreasonable date, or wants to do things out of order, or by using some tool that is foreign to me. If they can’t work with our process, we have another client who will.

4. When your sales pipeline is strong, you hire better!

One of the hardest calls for any business to make is when to add more staff. Is it time? Are we busy enough? Or will business suddenly dry up right after I add a bunch of new salaries to the budget? When your pipeline is strong, you have more confidence that the work is coming in.

So instead of hedging your bets by hiring someone young and cheap, you can go for that talented, experienced person who will really do the job–because you know the work is there. Having a strong pipeline gives you the confidence to hire the right people (and fire the wrong ones)!

5. When your sales pipeline is strong, you have more confidence

Have you ever thought about how much your confidence in your business effects you every day? Almost every decision you make is influenced by your confidence. When you know your business is rockin’, decisions come easier, sales come easier, you don’t hesitate and second guess, you just do what you know is right. Your job is so much easier (and your days better) when your sales pipeline is full and you know that what your team is doing is working. Not that there isn’t room for improvement, but you know you aren’t going to go broke before you have a chance to fix it!

This is why it’s the business owner’s #1 job to fill the sales pipeline. If you can get new clients lining up at your door consistently, your job is so much easier! Make room in your calendar every day to do business development! Never let a day go by without following up, or getting a proposal out, or making some calls to prospects or referral partners. If you make it a priority, track your progress, and measure the results, you will have a booming pipeline in no time!

What do you do to fill up your pipeline?

How to Close More Sales in 30 days

Photo credit: Seattle Municipal Archives

Brad Farris

As principal advisor of Anchor Advisors, Brad Farris has experience leading businesses & business owners into new levels of growth and success. Through his work with over 100 Chicago area small businesses he has experience in guiding founders and business owners through the pitfalls and joys of growing their business. Prior to joining Anchor Advisors, Brad spent over 10 years managing business units for a family-owned conglomerate with sales of $2 million to $25 million.  When he's not working, Brad enjoys cycling, cooking and the NFL. He is married with 5 children and lives in Chicago, Illinois. Connect with him on Google+, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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