Sometimes referred to as your sales funnel, or “money that is on the way”, pipeline management is simply a way of managing potential sales by cultivating relationships with consistent follow up and keeping those potential customers aware of product updates until they are ready to make a purchase.

Managing your pipeline ‘inventory’, or the number of opportunities in your pipeline, is just as important as managing the relationships with customers you already have. Your pipeline inventory consists of the number of contacts you have and the number of quality leads that will turn in to sales. After all, filling your pipeline with leads that will never go anywhere is pointless. Knowing the quantity of contacts in your pipeline and setting future follow up dates will keep potential customers from falling through the cracks. This is the first step to pipeline management but it doesn’t stop at the number of leads you have in your pipeline. There’s more to it.

Quality contacts are just as important as quantity. Gather as much information as you can from each contact, each and every time you make contact. Just as your product changes so will their needs. Some of the methods that are useful in pipeline management include emails, phone calls and scheduled follow up meetings to avoid infringing on the customers time. For quality organization, efficiency and to increase profitability, consider using CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software that makes organizing clients and tracking those in your pipeline a much easier process.

Pipeline management is developed over time and requires a great deal of customer service and patience. Any contact that is in your pipeline has clearly demonstrated that pushy sales techniques and quick decisions are not their cup of tea so developing a relationship will be required. Skills in pipeline management will not only assist in managing your business but will help you maintain a steady stream of follow ups for those slow days.

Pipeline management doesn’t guarantee that every contact in your database will become a sale. It does however make your job a little easier by streamlining your processes and organizing your potential sales.