Updated: Feb 13, 2020
Sales teams that fail to manage their sales pipeline stages effectively bring in less revenue.
A study conducted by Vantage Point Performance and the Sales Management Association found effective pipelines are directly linked to business growth. Companies that master sales pipeline management have 28% higher revenue growth than those who don’t.
The pattern is clear: High-performing sales teams use pipeline management to supercharge their sales processes.
In this guide, we’re going to walk you through how to effectively manage your dental laboratory's pipeline over five sales stages:
Prospect and generate new leads
Qualify new leads
Reach out to new leads
Initial appointment meeting
Let’s dive into each sales stage and see how you can start managing your pipeline more effectively.
1. Prospect and generate new leads
There are several prospecting and lead generation tactics you can use to build up a database of doctors. Whether you’re dental lab is networking or cold calling, landing high-quality leads is the aim. In-person networking at events, while time-consuming, is a great way to find new leads. In one survey, marketers said that events were the most effective marketing channel. It’s easier for reps to find out if a dentist is a good fit by talking to them in person. It’s also a valuable opportunity to form in-person connections in what has become a digital world. Outreach activities like cold calling or cold emailing should also be top of the list for dental labs.
2. Qualify new leads
Once you’ve generated leads, the next stage in the sales pipeline is qualifying them.
Qualified leads should fit your target market criteria, have a need for your product and be able and motivated to buy.
Let’s break down why qualifying every lead is synonymous with effective pipelines:
It saves time: Understanding how interested a doctor is in your product saves valuable time. If you can tag leads as “hot” and “cold,” you’ll know better where to focus your energy. A cold lead will need more nurturing and thus take longer to close, while hot leads are generally more easily converted into deals. It stops you from getting overwhelmed: Qualifying new leads makes it easier to follow up efficiently. It arms you with useful data: It gives you more information on how to approach a lead in a way that makes it more likely they’ll convert. Rather than spending valuable time on poorly qualified leads, focus on profitable ones that are more serious and able to buy your product.
Leads turn into prospects as they go through the qualification process. The main difference between a lead and a sales prospect is the level of interest they show in your product or dental lab. If leads demonstrate that they’re genuinely keen on buying your product, and/or are engaging consistently with your sales reps to learn more about your offerings, they move lower down the funnel and become prospects.
3. Reach out to new leads
Reaching out to leads for the first time is tough. One study found that it takes an average of 18 attempted calls for a sales rep to connect with a prospect. And email follow-ups are just as unsuccessful. Yesware conducted an in-house study of 500,000 of their own sales emails and found a 30% response rate to the first email and 14% to the fourth. Yet here's where the study gets interesting. After a constant, downward trend, the tenth email in their sales sequence saw a slight increase in the response rate on the ninth.
The takeaway is to remain consistent with follow-up emails as persistence sometimes does pay off. Although you are less likely to get a response as the number of sent emails increases, it’s still worth pursuing the chance—until you get a response that unequivocally asks you not to keep emailing.
Cold calls are also an effective way for sales reps to make contact with prospects. Here are some cold calling scripts to help you with your confidence on the phone.
Following up with prospects is an important part of the job, but it takes time. Automating your follow-up emails to target and nurture prospects that are on the fence can save time. You can use a CRM with email automation to set follow-up frequency, track interactions and handle scheduling while your sales reps are selling and pitching to leads.
You can even build custom email templates to use in your outreach. With Pipedrive’s custom fields, you can use data stored in your CRM to add a touch of personalization to your follow-up emails to leads.
4. Setting your initial appointment/meeting
The secret to saving a ton of time on this step is by automating your appointment scheduling process, as this will:
Minimize the admin time involved in setting appointments help you make sure you don’t double-book your calendar Cut the friction involved in finding a time that suits you and your prospect improve the lead’s experience of booking a meeting with you, you’ll need a meeting scheduling tool to automate this part of the process. The best apps are easy to use and seamlessly integrate with your existing tech stack.
5. Define a prospect’s needs
The key to creating a persuasive sales pitch is by defining the prospect’s needs.
You can do this by focusing on the value of your offering instead of the price. By defining needs ahead of time, you’re positioning yourself ahead of the competition.
Value-based selling shows prospects how your product will solve their problem. Speak to your prospects on a human level, understand their pain points and effectively explain how your product is a resolution. Show them how your product will work in their real-world scenario and paint a picture they can’t turn away from.
The first step is to research your prospect to get a deep understanding of their needs, as this will help you engage in more meaningful conversations that lead to strong relationships. The consultative selling method focuses on showing your prospect that you care about connecting with them on a person-to-person level, which in turn builds trust.
It differs from product-based selling as the salesperson’s role is more important than the product itself, and therefore it places an emphasis on value over features and price.
Managing a pipeline effectively is easier when you’ve got a process in place.
Closing a deal is more than just prospecting and pitching. Sales reps need to carefully define their prospect’s needs, streamline appointment setting and create smarter, more targeted pitches in order to succeed.
The secret to effective pipeline management often comes down to your sales toolkit. Utilizing sales tools and automations can not only give you a more visible pipeline, but can also save time that can then be spent on selling. With more time on your hands, you’ll be able to close more deals. It’s a win-win for your entire sales team.
If you need help setting up your sales pipeline for your dental lab, book a free marketing consultation with a DentalLabSupport specialist today. Call 888-715-9099 to book your time.