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How to prioritise your sales pipeline

Marketing

A guide for SaaS & tech companies

If you sell SaaS or tech B2B, you will likely be managing a complex sales pipeline of prospects somewhere on their way to becoming a customer. To help you close more sales, we have outlined our tried and tested deadline-driven sales conversion formula. We use it to help clients close sales before their quarter or year-end. Check it out below and feel free to give it a try in your business.

Getting started

What you will need to get started:

  1. A collaboration-hungry sales & marketing team
  2. Access to your sales pipeline
  3. All the feedback your team has received post-demo/pitch/meeting
  4. The estimated first sale revenue per prospect
  5. The potential value of each prospect
  6. A list of possible objections to overcome to support decision-making on sale likelihood – e.g. development work, integrations.
  7. A bank of sales documents/resources

Step 1 – Create a pipeline matrix

Work with your sales team to collate your prospect intel, colour coding each according to the chances of the sale closing this FY.

The key:

  • Red = low chance of a sale (0-20%)

Red could be a recent lead, a post-demo prospect with challenging requirements or a complex decision-making process.

  • Amber = moderate chance of a sale (20-50%)

Here there is interest, but the movement is slow.

  • Green = strong chance of a sale (50%+)

There is a strong interest, with the sale likely before the end of the financial year.  

In the same place, note the expected revenue figure per prospect, highlighting assigning a high, medium, or low revenue tag to each account.

Complete your segmentation by separating your pipeline into the six created matrix boxes (see below).

Step 2 – Target your 6 priority groups

Once you have 6-priority groups, you are ready for targeting. We use a different targeting plan for each segment of the pipeline matrix (except for Groups 2 & 4).

If you are looking for optimal results, segment the accounts even further, looking for similarities to help to support targeting communication.

Priority group 1

Quite likely to close this quarter – Potential for high-value sale

Collectively, the accounts within this section have the potential to make or break your revenue targets. In our experience, account-based marketing (ABM) techniques achieve the best results, planning communication one-to-one or one-to-few.

Sales and marketing should build resources and customer success stories to overcome the reservations of every prospect in this group. Evaluate each group individually to achieve the best result possible.

The types of content we would recommend sending include:

  • Personalised ROI brochures with examples based on their data and the data of existing clients.
  • Customer support explainer videos with a personalised introduction from your head of support or customer service manager. Try to address challenges such as; staff opposing change or how you can support a move to new software.
  • A latest news document showcasing the more recent developments to products or services. Include further information on your product or service teams and an example of how you onboard new customers.  

These resources must be specific to each potential customer. Consider having a senior leader, CEO/founder reach out to make contact to show how much you value their business.

Priority group 2

Very likely to close this quarter – Potential for high-value sale

Reach out to this group in an attempt to cement their decision. This could be an opportunity for your sales team to request final signatures on contracts. Not quite at this stage? Talk them through the sign-up process, and speed up the process when they decide to go ahead.

It’s unlikely you will need to create new resources for this group as you can reuse materials and content your marketing team already has.

Suggestions for outreach:

  • A relevant ROI brochure for that sector.
  • A company case study or customer testimonial for that sector.
  • Recent customer newsletter sharing company updates to products/services.
  • A recent blog post relevant to the potential customer.
  • An invitation to an upcoming customer event.

Priority group 3

Quite likely to close this quarter – Possibly a low-value sale

Break down these accounts by barriers to entry and have resources tackling those barriers. e.g. prospects that are hesitant about moving from a different system/concerned about the level of support required in changing products. Send a personalised email with a resource relating to how you support and onboard new customers, with a link to all of your support SLAs. If you have time, follow up with a quick call to discuss this further with them.

Priority group 4

Very likely to close this quarter – Possibly a low-value sale

You can adopt the same approach as priority group 2(see above).

Priority group 5

Less likely to close this quarter – Potential for high-value sale

These potential customers have strong potential for bringing in high revenue in the longer term. You should further segment this group based on any additional information gained to understand which segments may be worth further action this quarter.

Tactics we’ve used:

  • Set up a meeting between the potential customer and a strong current customer that are in a similar field. Allow the potential customer to hear first-hand from a business that is similarly using your product or service. This will validate your organisation and help progress the sale to the next stage.
  • Invite eligible businesses to an online roundtable, involve your senior leaders and champion customers. Discuss the sector in which you operate to show added value and recharge conversations with potential customers as they are planning the budget for the year ahead.
  • Share details of your product/product marketing/customer service lead or team and get them to sign up for regular updates about the areas they are most interested in.

Priority group 6

Less likely to close this quarter – Possibly a low-value sale

Work with marketing to set up automated monthly check-ins to retain interest where possible. You can use a CRM to track open and click rates of emails and set follow up actions. Share a range of topical content and guides, as well as invitations to virtual meetings or online webinars.

The impact

If you are a growth-focused organisation this is the way your sales and marketing teams should be operating. Much of the activity or content suggested will already exist within your company but may need slightly adjusting to suit your targeting. If your organisation has a big project focus for Q4 that doesn’t relate to these activities and you’re worried about how your teams will manage, consider if that project is revenue focused? If it is, how can you use that and build it into your own segmented follow up to win more business from priority groups?

We’ve got over a decade of experience working within businesses just like yours, delivering projects and activities that we’ve called out here.

If you implement any of the work we suggest, we’d love to hear how it’s gone, so let us know. Alternatively, get in touch and we help deliver this for you.

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