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How to Build a Customer Story Pipeline That Serves a Growing B2B SaaS

How to Build a Customer Story Pipeline That Serves a Growing B2B SaaS

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Here are 6 steps to build your sales pipeline

One of the main management tools of a company is the “Sales Pipeline” or sales funnel. Its graphical representation, usually in the form of a funnel, allows us to quickly and effectively project the volume and quality of potential sales over time.

However, what we would like to highlight is that this tool can tell us much more than that. Unfortunately, we don’t pay much attention to other aspects of the Sales Pipeline due to the focus on short-term business analysis.

The distance from employees is, for many, an obstacle to controlling the execution of tasks. However, studies and research indicate that increased productivity is one of the main advantages of the home office.

It’s logical that we need to closely monitor deals at the point of closing, but we cannot ignore the potential of the information provided by your Sales Pipeline. Below are 3 indicators that cannot leave your radar!

GRAPHIC How To Build A Customer Story Pipeline That Delivers For A Growing B2B SaaS 1

1 - Consistency

A common mistake made by managers is to disregard the growth measurement of their sales pipeline. The volume of growth brings us the dimension of consistency and sustainability. In other words, knowing if your sales pipeline is capable of sustaining the volume of business your company needs in the medium and long term.

This measure brings to light the relevance of the process of prospecting and attracting customers, as well as the goals that must be met in this important sales stage.

What to do: Monitor how many new deals are launched in your Sales Pipeline by period (daily, weekly or monthly). If you observe a curve with a downward trend, it means that you may have months or even quarters of meeting your goals, but in the medium and long term you will have serious problems guaranteeing the results.

2 – Sales Cycle

The Sales Pipeline should graphically represent all stages of your sales cycle. Every seller knows that a sale only occurs when all stages of its cycle are effectively fulfilled.

Although each company has its peculiarities, the vast majority of sales processes necessarily go through stages such as qualifying the customer, understanding their needs, developing a value proposition, overcoming the buyer’s objections, negotiating and finally formalizing the closing. of business.

By accounting for the time spent in each of the stages of the sale, we are better able to project the time needed to complete the volume of business recorded in your Pipeline. In addition, it is easier to diagnose opportunities whose closing cycle is far above average, deserving a deeper investigation into the strategy used by the salesperson.

What to do: Clearly define the stages of your sales cycle and align with your team what are the essential requirements to be met for a business opportunity to evolve to the next stage. Do not create bureaucratic chasms by demanding more time from the seller than is necessary for that specific stage of the sales cycle.

Eliminate activities that are not linked to practical actions and decisions in your sales strategy. Identify the average time spent by your team in each stage of the sales cycle and monitor deviations, you will certainly identify better strategies for each negotiation.

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3 – Measure business concentration

The old phrase “He who has one has none” applies here. When we analyze a Pipeline, we work with statistical probabilities of success and failure. If your dependence on success is concentrated on a few deals, you know that you will be working under a lot of pressure and with little room for maneuver to negotiate with your potential clients.

We know that selling a lot to a few is a good way to increase profit margins and reduce operating costs, but when a company is too exposed to bad weather that its own customers may suffer, it is at a dead end.

What to do: Set goals to reduce potential risks with large deals with few customers. Pareto’s law suggests an 80/20 ratio, that is, 80% of sales revenue is concentrated in just 20% of your opportunities, so by increasing the volume of opportunities in your Pipeline, you work to reverse this logic, reducing risks and minimizing the bargaining power of its customers.

Stimulate sales targets linked not only to closing deals but also to the volume of opportunities. Ideally, each deal should not represent more than 5% of sales revenue. Stay tuned!

The Question of the Moment for Most New Entrepreneurs is:

“How do I find clients and stand out from the crowd?” Perhaps the competition is limiting your perspective on opportunities, but you can change that. Imagine being in the same row as new businesses.

The market is full and you have two options:

• Waiting in line for your moment of success, which will usually be when a competitor fails customers;
• Or stand out and get ahead of everyone.

It’s like holding some balloons that will take you to another dimension of recognition, positioning and sales. You can fly and see your customers and competitors from above, dominating your segment.

For this to become a reality, it will be necessary to do something different. Counting the advantages of products and services is not generating more results. You may have noticed this in your work as a marketer or entrepreneur.

We are in a New Era

Consumers have changed. Today they have the power to choose what they want to buy, read, listen to and how they will interact with brands. In order to know how to find customers and connect with them, you’ll have to be relevant enough to attract them.

“To connect with shoppers these days, you need to stop pushing your message and start engaging your customers. The rules of marketing have changed, and the key to winning is using that change to your advantage.”

– Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah

Thinking about it, one of the best strategies to attract your customers is to direct a message of great interest to them. Therefore, less marketing and more content is the formula that has been working for countless companies of different sizes and sectors.

Joe Pulizzi, world reference in content marketing, teaches how to find customers with this methodology. In his work “Epic Content Marketing”, launched in 2014, numerous examples and essential points on the subject are organized, showing that… Content is king.

Content is the means of communication between a brand and its audience. It is he who governs the success of his business. Content marketing is a tool designed to get this communication right, showing the world who you are without selling yourself.

For Joe, this is the most effective marketing model that attracts and retains customers. It’s not that traditional advertising doesn’t work anymore, it’s just that content marketing is better at winning people’s “hearts and minds”.

In addition, it informs, educates and provokes action in consumers, creating a valuable experience for them. From this strategy, it becomes simpler to know how to find customers and deliver what they are looking for everywhere.

As the answer your customers are looking for, they will listen, trust and buy from you. Therefore, it is essential to stand out from the competition. Want to know how to do it safely and smartly?

Learning to Tell Stories that Impact

Telling an engaging story that gets the customer to pay attention to you isn’t always easy, but it’s necessary if you want better results. Michael Brenner, vice president of marketing and content strategy at SAP knows this all too well.

SAP is a company that goes far beyond selling business software. 80% of its customers are small or medium-sized businesses. Your product generates 74% of the world’s transaction revenues and 97% of the world’s 1.8 billion daily text messages.

Not to mention that its customers distribute 78% of the world’s supply of food and 76% of health and beauty products, for example. And how does a company of this size deal with the challenge of communicating with all of its current and future customers?

Through stories. Stories not about what we sell, but stories that explain what we do for our customers. We believe the power of stories lies in making the reader and consumer part of the story.” -Michael Brenner.

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How to Communicate with Your Audience

One-way communication is outdated. Those who use promotional content focused on showing who they are and what they do will have an increasingly difficult time figuring out how to find customers.

People are full of information today, a true “content obesity”. Nobody else is listening, reading and paying attention to content about companies, their products and services. However, this situation changes when you treat the customer as part of your story.

“The only way to reach your audience in today’s content-saturated, information-filled world is through Epic Content Marketing, which connects emotionally with the people you want to reach.”

-Michael Brenner

Have you ever stopped to think about the impact of this strategy on your business? Working on your story by involving your audience can pay off. But now you must be wondering…

How to Find Customers and Be Different from the Crowd?

The emotional connection in your message allows you to understand how to find the right customers for your business by creating content that meets your audience’s needs. By discovering this, you quickly stand out from the crowd.

An engaging story is capable of reducing costs, winning customers and growing in your segment. It just needs to be available on the right channels, that is, on the platforms that your current and potential readers use, such as social networks and search engines.

Finding customers is not mission impossible as many people think. Any business owner or marketer can make a decision today that can attract and retain a good audience in the future.

Want a tip for your first step?

Invest in epic content marketing, something unique and authentic.

If you, like many professionals, have been using the same marketing to learn how to find customers, but haven’t had great results, it might be a great time to do something epic.

Tips for Good Pipeline Management

Pipeline management can be done simply using spreadsheets or using a CRM tool, which controls the relationship with your client.

With a CRM, it is possible to automate the entire sales process – from capturing and converting leads, to retaining and building customer loyalty -, which helps to optimize the team’s time and gain in productivity.

See some benefits:

• Automation and nurturing of Leads by sending sequences of emails and contents;

• Tracking of customer information with a memory of their activities related to the company;

• Sending automatic responses to customers;

• Notify sellers of status changes for each stage of the pipeline.

For companies with more complex sales flows, it may still be important to combine customer relationship management with process management.

A CRM software integrated with a BPMS (Business Process Management Suite) can connect the other processes involved, such as inventory, logistics, finance and others, to the pipeline.

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“Sales executives are more likely to be successful when they feel supported rather than directed”

We saw a lot of information about what the sales pipeline is and how important historical data, criteria, definition of advance percentages and clear procedures are.

But it is necessary to take into account that sales professionals also have enough experience to have some autonomy.

After all, even with a defined time for each stage of the pipeline, how many phone calls to the customer or emails to send?

A study published by the Harvard Business Review revealed that the use of the salesperson’s personal judgment is fundamental, at certain times and that even their performance can improve:

“Sales executives are more likely to be successful when they feel supported rather than directed”

That is: use the sales pipeline as a support to improve your salespeople’s performance, and not as a chain that will prevent them from being creative and, above all, proactive.

The 4 Best Practices That Would Increase Your Conversion

As you already know, the pipeline is organized in phases — top, middle and bottom — and can be divided into more stages according to the sales cycle of each product or service.

Each stage of the funnel demands a certain attitude from your sales team, which will take you to the next stage, until you reach the sale. We see, then, the importance of this strategy for a company, as it allows for step-by-step sales planning, in addition to constant monitoring of the process by the manager.

This increases the conversion capacity, in addition to directing the team’s efforts towards the result, in a more objective way.

But how is it possible to build a sales funnel that actually fulfills what it sets out to do? Let’s explain the 4 best practices for this.

GRAPHIC How To Build A Customer Story Pipeline That Delivers For A Growing B2B SaaS 2

1. Have a structured sales funnel

A structured sales process is essential for the manager to set goals and be able to measure compliance with them. This is also very important for the sales funnel, as it will not be effective if you only evaluate the result of closing deals.

As the funnel has well-sized steps, it is important to have indicators for each one of them. In this way, the manager can identify the gaps that must be filled to lead to conversion.

Just like the funnel, the sales process varies according to what is marketed and also with the public, however, there is a valid rule for any pipeline and sales process: keep all actions focused on the customer!

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2. Document your processes

All sales processes must be documented by everyone on the team. For this, you can use a CRM system, or even a spreadsheet: the important thing is that everything is well configured, with the correct parameters for your business needs.

The documentation allows the manager greater control over the process, the identification of the best sales opportunities and also the analysis of the performance of the commercial team.

3. Engage the customer to generate commitment

Whatever the type of sale or the length of the pipeline, the salesperson must engage the customer to get them to commit.

In a super-short funnel, as is the case when selling a shirt in a store, the seller approaches the customer in a pleasant way, discovers his need, shows the products that can captivate him, informs the payment methods and, finally, closes the sale.

A more complex pipeline has more steps, but, in common with selling the shirt, there must be this perception by the salesperson: he needs to understand the customer’s needs and meet them in an appropriate and pleasant way. If he succeeds in this engagement along the funnel, in the end, it is certain that he will be able to convert the sale.

4. Evaluate metrics before starting over

Documenting and recording all stages of the funnel are important actions for new sales as well. Metric analysis should guide your team’s future process improvement.

So, before starting over, evaluate everything that has already been done and change what is necessary. Continuous improvement must be a practice in companies that want to grow and reach a prominent place in the market.

As we have seen, using the sales funnel is something that will only bring benefits to your company and, mainly, to your sales team.

FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions About Building a Story Pipeline

1- What is a sales pipeline?

Sales pipeline is the map of the daily activities that make up the sales process in the work of a commercial representative, showing each of the stages of a negotiation. Also known as the sales funnel, it goes from receiving the marketing lead to closing the deal.

2- Why use a sales pipeline?

Among the many advantages of having a sales pipeline are: having a vision of sales opportunities, understanding the quality of business opportunities, knowing the average time it takes the company to close a sale and being able to standardize the entire sales process.

3- How to make a sales pipeline?

The first step is to define your client's journey, then you must transform the stages of this journey into tasks, then just calculate the average time spent between one stage and another.

Conclusion

By delivering what is promised — a great product, committed customer service, and ongoing support — the chances of closing the deal are high. Even better when SaaS B2B aims to delight the customer in every interaction. Thus, the possibilities of sales are even greater.

Even if the end result is not a sale, it’s a good idea to stay on the customer’s radar, without disturbing them. It may be that later on, SaaS B2B will incorporate more functions into the software, which will serve the prospect and get him to subscribe to his company’s service.

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