Most companies know the importance of successful sales pipeline management. However, “knowing” and “doing” are not the same thing. Many businesses miss out on easy changes they can make to their sales process to not only improve sales effectiveness but also boost revenue growth.
These simple improvements are easier than you think. Today, I’ll show you how pipeline design, time allocation, and team training can make a world of difference for your insurance sales business.
Carefully Plan Your Pipeline Design
Most insurance sales businesses believe they have a well-designed sales pipeline. But what happens when you start asking your sales agents questions about this pipeline? Does everyone understand and agree that a particular deal belongs in the same stage of the pipeline? Does everyone on your team understand and trust the data in your customer relationship management (CRM) tool?
Oftentimes, owners and managers will be surprised that there is not perfect agreement among the sales staff on the answers to these questions. But that isn’t the end of the world — as long as you fix your pipeline design issues.
That starts by clearly defining each stage of the sales pipeline, such that everyone can correctly place a deal at the same stage in the funnel. Then work on managing the process for uniformly using your CRM tool. Make sure your team gains confidence in the data. This will translate into better sales performance.
Consistently Allocate Time for Pipeline Management
It’s not uncommon for sales managers to answer affirmatively that they allocate adequate time for sales pipeline management. However, it’s important that we delve a bit deeper and define “managing the pipeline.”
In truth, a lot of sales reps spend time forecasting sales — which, while a necessary and important function — is not the same thing as managing the pipeline. Forecasting involves discussing closing dates, probabilities, or deal sizes. On the other hand, pipeline management should focus on evaluating pipeline health and strategizing to increase closure rates.
This distinction can matter quite a bit. A recent Salesforce survey found a 14 percent increase in revenue growth for companies whose sales managers spent at least four hours per month managing their sales reps’ pipelines.
Properly Train Sales Managers for Optimum Growth
It’s important to the health of your business not to make assumptions when it comes to your sales managers and pipeline management. The time spent making sure sales managers are properly trained per the needs of your company is time well-spent in the long run.
The funny thing is that a majority of executives know they could make such an improvement. The same Salesforce survey says 61 percent of executives admitted their sales managers could stand to have more training when it comes to proper sales pipeline management.
Again, following through on these recommendations can really take your insurance business to the next level. Almost one-quarter — 23 percent — greater sales growth is possible when sales teams have a sales manager properly trained in pipeline management. That’s easy money you don’t want to miss out on.
It’s true of course that in the real world there’s less time than we would all like for pipeline design, management, and training. But a little bit of time and resources invested in improving these areas could dramatically increase sales and revenue for your business. Make a point to refine your pipeline design, make sure sales managers have a few hours a month to focus on pipeline management, and make sure your team has adequate training. The results could be well worth the effort.
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