How do you master sales pipeline management? Best practices tell you how to optimize sales and quicken performance.

As a salesperson, it’s nearly impossible not hear about “sales funnels” today. Everyone seems to have them, but what exactly are they? Are they different from the same process your company has used for years? Maybe.

The part that gets most people confused is sales pipeline management. Best practices for keeping a well-oiled funnel are not universal. Insurance sales are unique. The way people engage with your marketing and sales process is different than other types of businesses.

sales pipeline management best practices

But let’s start at the beginning. The first step of properly managing a sales pipeline begins with:

Matching up your sales pipeline with automated strategies that do the work for you

AIDA. You’ve heard it before. It’s the primary four-stage structure to any sales funnel.

  • Attract (catch the attention of your market)
  • Interest (engage your audience, qualify, and educate)
  • Decision (present them with competitive options and compelling offers)
  • Action (make it incredibly easy for the prospect to buy)

Here’s where things get sticky for insurance sales people: they don’t match up to a marketing strategy or efficient process at these stages. Sales pipeline management puts these best practices in place, so each stage is sealed tight.

So, here’s the first step. Take your understanding of the way people buy insurance from you (the buyer’s journey, as they say) and match it together with the AIDA structure.

THEN you create a marketing strategy (and face-to-face strategy) to connect with people at every stage in that process.

Whew. That’s a lot. Let’s break it down for easier digestion.

You have AIDA: attract, interest, decision, and action.

You have knowledge of how people move through these stages. In other words, you know your ideal customer’s buyer’s journey. It usually looks like this:

  • Unaware (not aware of the fact that they’re potential buyers, but could become aware through contact or a problem)
  • Problem aware (knows he needs car, life or home insurance, but unsure where to go)
  • Solution aware (searches for insurance companies and starts the process of making a decision)
  • Product aware (receives options from different companies’ policies and products, compares prices, etc.)
  • Most aware (finally at the point of making a purchase decision)

Now, take your buyer’s journey, match it up to your AIDA structure, and implement strategies to connect with people at each stage. (Hint: every stage in the pipeline calls for a relevant connection. People in the “solution aware” stage will not respond to marketing or sales the same as those in the “product aware” stage. Focus on the customer’s needs at that moment in time.)

Take all of that and what do you have? The basic structure for a workable sales pipeline.

Now it’s time implement those sales pipeline management best practices. Listen up insurance pioneers: these actions steps might boost your sales into the stratosphere (wouldn’t that be cool?)

Here we go…

sales pipeline management best practices

Three steps to put your sales pipeline management best practices into action

1. Deliver your services with unmatchable speed

Consumers today are impatient. Your competitors know this, so the real challenge is who responds first. A late follow-up could push your sales into someone else’s hands.

The solution is to automate, automate and then automate. Why?

Because that’s what your prospects want. They want answers. Fast. They want to know who you are, what you offer, why you’re different, and how they can move to the next step.

lead-managerlead-managerNever let a prospect fall through the cracks again. Blitz automates your follow-ups with a fast and easy solution. Schedule a free demo today and see how easy it is!

Objection alert: doesn’t that take away from the “personal touch” of great customer service?

Not at all. Especially in the beginning stages of your funnel.

People don’t want to talk a salesperson right away. They want to research and find all the answers upfront. Once they’re ready to get in contact, you can bathe them in overwhelming positivity and friendly service all you want.

Until then, automate.

2. Focus on moving prospects through the funnel, not into your bank account (and make it easy to move forward)

Zig Ziglar once said, “People don’t like to be sold; they like to be helped.”

Sales funnel are a process. It’s made to convert one step seamlessly into the next step. The issue with a lot of salespeople is impatience.

“Let’s skip steps one, two and, hey, why not, three, and just go straight to the sale, shall we? Great. You’ll love this policy.”

That’s the definition of “pushy” in today’s world. It used to be the norm; now it’s taboo. It scares people away.

Today, we nurture. We walk people through the funnel, step by step, and make “closing” a natural progression (built on a foundation of trust and communication). Sounds cheesy, but it’s true.

Focus on delivering what your prospect needs at that moment in time. Information packets? Case studies? Reviews from other clients? Policy options? A special offer to gently push them into buying?

Deliver well, and do it fast.

3. Never drop policyholders into Nowhere Land–recycle them back into the funnel with fantastic opportunities

You’ve heard it before: your best customer is your repeat customer. Proper sales pipeline management best practice optimize those opportunities and keep them coming back for more.

In fact, a better word for “sales pipeline” is “sales cycle.” It should work like a circle–once you establish a buyer, she re-enters the funnel for more. And it keeps going ’round like a big ring of trust.

Create an email targeting strategy for your current customers. Stay connected with them. Send out relevant offers and promotions on a regular basis. Be friendly. Stay on top of their minds, so you become their repeated solution for insurance.

Once they show interest, walk them through it all again, step by step, and re-wax that funnel with more revenue.

Rinse, wash, repeat (with unmatched service and quality products at each step).

lead-managerlead-managerNever let a prospect fall through the cracks again. Blitz automates your follow-ups with a fast and easy solution. Schedule a free demo today and see how easy it is!

Do you have a sealed-tight pipeline that automates sales? If you have a question about how to get one, ask away!