How to Define a Sales Pipeline? SeamlessDocs Tracks Cold, Warm and Hot Leads in Separate Pipelines
All leads are not created equal – some are hot, some cold, and some in between. To close them, you need to take different approaches for each one.
SeamlessDocs has this figured out; it helps organizations convert any PDF into a smarter online document and provides them with e-signature software. They have three different and highly detailed sales pipelines for hot, cold and warm leads, which their analysts and associates use once they take over from sales development reps.
We talked to Marc Ende, the vice president of business development who told us about their extremely detailed approach and about the importance of calling their prospects.
What is the sales process like at SeamlessDocs? What sales stages do you have, and how do you qualify deals from one stage to another?
We have a typical SDR and AE (sales development representative and account executive) sales model in which our openers, or SDRs, are cold calling and using email campaigns to book meetings for our account executives. Once the meeting is scheduled, that is the first stage that we have in our Pipedrive. It’s important to know that only our account executives use Pipedrive (our SDRs do not).
Not only do we have different sale cycle stages, but we have different pipelines to differentiate between cold, warm and hot deals.
Opportunities Pipeline: (<10% confidence level)
Salesline Pipeline: (10-75% confidence level)
Hotline Pipeline: (75%+ confidence level)
How important is calling your prospects?
Reps have a 75% higher rate of prospect engagement when they are calling as opposed to emailing, and 90% of the final conversations that happen directly before the close happen on the phone, not over email. Because of this, we are adamant about calling instead of emailing as a form of communication. We don’t allow our prospects to hide behind the biggest security blanket of all time – the Internet.
Have you got any good sales tips to share with our readers?
Track everything. At SeamlessDocs we are data hoarders. We only make data driven decisions, and the only way to do this is with lots of data.
I also recommend having very detailed sales stages. I see a number of companies that only have a couple of stages in the pipelines. For instance:
- Meeting set > Demo Given > Negotiations > Proposal Sent > Deal Closed
It’s impossible for these stages to give a sales director any sort of insights into what is happening to the deals in the pipeline.
If you have 30 deals in conversation, what does that really mean? As a sales manager, you need to be able to figure out where the inefficiencies are in your pipeline and where deals are becoming stale. Which scenario would help you make a better decision:
- Scenario 1: If you have 30 deals in a stage called “In Conversation” OR
- Scenario 2: If you have…
- 10 deals in a stage called “Need a second Meeting”
- 20 deals in a stage called “Need Internal Buy In”
- 5 deals in a stage called “Awaiting Internal Feedback”
These stages in Scenario 2 that typically fall into one stage called “In Conversation.” However if you splice them up into three more defined stages, you can now make more refined decisions.
Now you’ll know be able to do things like:
- Identify key points in the sales process when you need to provide your team with collateral that can help your prospects increase internal buy-in.
- Pinpoint which stages of the sales process need more attention, increasing the productivity of your reps and accelerating the sales.
- Examine the strengths and weaknesses of your individual team members, allowing you to improve reps with insights that are focused, granular, and tailored to their improvement.
Martin Henk, Pipedrive’s head of product management:
It’s clear that SeamlessDocs is getting a lot of value out of Pipedrive by using it in the best possible way. Leaving the cold calling part out of Pipedrive and adding only qualified leads into the pipelines seems like the most optimal way to handle a high volume of sales.
Their use of multiple pipelines is a really good example of how to do this right. We only recommend using multiple pipelines for categorization if the sales process is actually different, and in the case of SeamlessDocs it certainly is. Not only are they getting simple categorization based on probability, but also getting a different procedure specifically tailored for each specific case.
I completely agree with the idea of splitting up stages that are too broad into more specific ones to bring more clarity into the sales process. While having too many stages can overcomplicate things and make the software harder to use, SeamlessDocs are able to get away with it thanks to their clever use of different pipelines for different processes.