What are the pipeline sales stages, and how to build a small business sales pipeline. 

child in cardboard car with megaphone announcing something for popcorn crm for small business

Pipelines are a simple way to visualise any process you follow, and defining the pipeline sales stages can often be a stumbling block for many small businesses. But it need not be, which is why we have put together a simple and bite sized training course to help you 

Developing the right pipeline sales stages

We have put together a guide for creating an effective pipeline, that you and your team will love, as you will always know where every single prospect is and never miss an opportunity.

To get started,  you need to define the practical actions you actually do during the process you are wanting to track. In this example I am going to build a prospecting pipeline, which allows you to progress your prospects along their prospecting journey – don’t forget that a prospect does not just move forwards, sometimes they will pause, move backward or even jump multiple steps in the process. When this happens, it’s really important to respond accordingly, as trying to move them to a stage that they are not ready for, will often cause pushback and potentially the loss of an opportunity.

In this example, I am assuming that there is one person managing your sales process. If not, it can be quite easily managed by creating duplicate pipelines for each sales person. But no matter how many of these there are, it will give everyone a really simple process to follow, which will in turn, give you visibility on where every single prospect is and what you need to do next

So, to answer the question ‘What are the pipeline sales stages’, the answer is simple, they are whatever your business needs to progress someone from the start of your prospecting journey right through to the point where they buy and beyond. 

Using popcorn CRM to build your pipeline sales stages.

Step 1 – Creating a Campaign

Whether you are a ‘CRM’ or a ‘Prospecting’ customer, a Campaign is like a folder, where you can keep everything and everyone connected to your pipeline, on one place.  

Duration – 1 min

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Step 2 – Create a column for  ‘New Enquiries ’

This is where you’ll put all of your New Enquiries, (social media, referrals, web enquires etc…) that way you will never forget to follow up on a prospect or do something with them.

Duration – 1 min 40 Seconds

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Step 3 – Define how you are going to follow up 

This may be in the form of Calls, Messages or Emails etc, and is really useful to visualise how many attempts you plan to make, to engage with each prospect. 

Duration – 2 mins

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Step 4 – Set your objective

Add a column for when you achieve your objective, this may be a Meeting, Quote or Demo etc.

Duration – 1 min

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Step 5 – Define your Post Objective Follow-up

Never miss an opportunity by creating a ‘Follow-up’ column which tells you that you need to do something next. 

Duration – 1 min

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Step 6 – Business Won!

Finally, add in a column or columns for what happens when you have won the business. This may be ‘Delivery’, ‘Send Invoice’, ‘Upsell’ or ‘Post paper-work’, whatever it is, it ensures that you don’t forget about your customers. 

As a bonus tip, it works really well to create a separate pipeline with the months of the year, that way if someone says ‘give me a call in September’, you can drop them in and it then gives you a clear picture of the health of your future prospecting.

Duration – 1 min

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Next Step 7  – Nurturing the prospects 

If you are a ‘Prospecting‘ user, the Campaign folders will be where you can set up all your Automations, Email Marketing, Prospecting, and other stuff to help you convert more sales, faster. More details on this will be covered in the second Onboarding session that you will receive in a few days. 

Of course, this is just a simple version of a pipeline, and you can add as many or as few steps to suit you, but it’s creating a process that you actually follow that matters and once you start adding your prospects into the columns, setting reminders and tagging them, this is when the system really comes to life.