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The 3 Pillars of Pipeline

7 months ago I was moved from Product Development to Director of Business Development for our sales consultancy and given a 1 year quota that represents 87.5% year over year revenue growth.

Not one to waste time reinventing the wheel, I began gathering insight from authors and sales leaders like Tony HughesGraham HawkinsLee Bartlett and John Barrows.

To be honest, I was looking for a silver bullet activity to make an immediate impact on revenue in our organization.

I wondered, “what was the single best activity that I could engage in to get some quick wins and create a big, fat pipeline where it was non-existent?”

Would it be Inbound Marketing? Maybe an Outbound Call Campaign? Or should I just get busy with Social Selling?

The answer… Yes!

What I uncovered in my research is an almost universal agreement that a multi faceted approach is the only way to create Predictable, Replicable and Sustainable revenue growth over the long haul.

I’ve summed up these activities into 3 buckets I call, “The 3 Pillars of Pipeline”.

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Pipeline Pillar #1: INTERNAL

We were able to identify several internal activities that are giving us more opportunities to tell our story with warm leads and referrals from happy clients.

We started here and quickly identified over 100 new opportunities for business.

PARTNERSHIP DEVELOPMENT – Identifying, creating and strengthening partnerships and teaming agreements with colleagues who have complementary product/service offerings to our own.

In this process, we inked a referral agreement that will be very lucrative for one of our partners and increase revenue to our organization as well. This is a true win/win activity, but it’s definitely playing the long game.

PAST CLIENT OUTREACH – Reconnecting with and updating past clients of recent product developments (custom sales playbooks) and additional service offerings (coaching programs) has created an abundance of additional selling opportunities.

1st DEGREE SOCIAL SELLING – My business partner and I both have good Networks. A LinkedIN Navigator search identified dozens of potential prospects from contacts that are most likely to answer and email or phone call.

Also, with turnover being what it is these days it simply means that many of our older contacts are now working for companies that need our services.

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Pipeline Pillar #2: INBOUND

We identified several areas we can quickly and inexpensively improve our ability to create inbound marketing traffic.

This was our second step in the process and with the proper systems and technology in place, is a relatively “set it and forget it” activity only requiring a couple hours a week to manage.

WEBSITE UPDATE – We’re constantly improving our core service offerings and adding new products in response to our client requests, so we should be updating our website to reflect these changes on a regular basis.

Our website will serve as the primary landing page for anyone searching for for services we offer and step 1 in all of our Inbound efforts.

CONTENT MARKETING – We’re sales trainers and have enough compelling science backed content to fill several calendar days that we share during our workshops and coaching sessions.

So why not break off portions of our IP that address and solve problems sales pros have and deliver them in small, easily digestible blog postings and white papers across a variety of social media platforms?

WEBINARS – We’re developing a 45 minute webinar that will address and solve a near universal problem our prospects face, “How to Sell Based on Value”

We’ll market via social media and serve whoever shows up to the webinar with something of real value. After the webinar, we’ll put them into to a cadence that hopefully leads them to become customers.

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Pipeline Pillar #3: OUTBOUND

Of course, a truly well rounded Business Development program would be incomplete without an outbound calling and email campaign to identify and engage LOTS of new prospects, quickly!

We moved this to last because the contacts are COLD.

2nd DEGREE SOCIAL SELLING – We don’t know each other, but we know some of the same people and some of them are willing to make introductions.

With a long history of giving, it hasn’t been that difficult to find contacts willing to make introductions to friends and colleagues on our behalf. But we did have to do the work to identify them and create targeted messaging that makes sense.

COLD CALLING – With the right messaging targeted to your prospect this really doesn’t have to be such a scary thing. We’ve received some great training and built out a system that works for setting up additional opportunities to sell via the phone.

EMAIL MARKETING – There are affordable and incredibly easy to use platforms for email marketing that introduce cadences like Growlabs and Salesloft. Again, the most important part of your email marketing cadence is the MESSAGING.

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All of these activities are crucial to create FAT pipeline with lots of new opportunities, but all the opportunities in the world won’t do you any good if you can’t speak the Language of Decision.

That’s why you need a First Call Playbook or a Sales Conversation Playbook with suggested scripts, from prospecting to proposal that will enable you to engage your prospect in a meaningful conversation that ends in a sale.

Good thing that is what we do for our clients 😉 As a result, we’re going to blow away our revenue goals in 2017… are you??

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QUESTION: What crucial pillars am I missing that are part of YOUR business development program?

If you enjoyed (or even disagree) with this article, please like, comment or share to your network.

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MasterMessaging is a sales consultancy that helps our clients increase revenue on ways that are predictable, replicable and sustainable.

Ask us how we helped an Atlanta software company take their first call conversion rates from 8% – 47% in one quarter utilizing our First Call Playbook.