Where Do You Start When Building a Healthy Sales Pipeline?

Friday Funnel Focus by EPOCH Sales Management Solutions

We developed a 3 Part Formula for a Healthy Sales Pipeline based on personal experience, research, and experience with our clients to create more new opportunities.  The 3 parts of the formula are:

  • Prioritize Your New Opportunity Process Buckets
  • Apply the Foundational Elements
  • Accelerate for Success

In this article, we get you started on your implementation of the 3 Part Formula to a Healthy Sales Pipeline. In future articles, we will address each part individually.

bang for your buck

Which new opportunity process bucket is your biggest bang for your buck?

Review the New Opportunity Process Buckets and prioritize them for your business.  We found that small B2B businesses can group their prospecting and lead generation activities into five new opportunity process buckets. We call them:

  1. Customer Success/Grow Existing Clients
  2. Intentional Networking/Referrals
  3. Build and leverage an Inbound marketing/Demand Generation engine
  4. Multi-touch, Multi-channel Targeted Sales Outreach
  5. Speaking about thought leadership

Start with the highest priority for your business and lead that effort to make it happen.  Coach each salesperson to do the same for them personally. (Note: their priority may be different than yours.)

Let’s look at two potential situations:

  • Your business is stuck on a plateau, struggling to grow to the next level
  • You are a startup seeking your first clients

Are you stuck?-1

Stuck on a Plateau

We started our business to help small B2B businesses break through that plateau that they are stuck on, so we are familiar with this situation. While no two situations are exactly alike, many small B2B businesses that are stuck on a plateau are best served by working the new opportunity process buckets in this manner:

  • Customer Success/Grow Existing Clients

Being stuck on a plateau, you have existing clients. What are you doing to make them fans of you and your business? Build fans out of your clients.  Focus on their success.  Then apply the 80/20 rule as you seek to grow your existing client business with cross-selling and up-selling of products and services.

  • Intentional Networking/Referrals

Being stuck on a plateau means you have been in business for a while.  You probably have a network of people in your industry to go along with that fan base of customers.  This bucket focuses on customer referrals and two types of Intentional Networking. They are:

  • Strategic centers of influence.  
    • This is your inner circle of networking partners, the best of your networking contacts.
  • Our Linked Networking Process. 
    • This process helps identify your best 1st connections related to your 2nd connection prospects.

I think most people know that referrals from fanatical existing and former clients are the best leads one can get.

We start with those two buckets to optimize your most fertile business opportunities to gain the quickest hits you can find.  Now it is time to build for the long term.

  • Build and Leverage an Inbound Marketing Engine

It is time to build an engine to get more prospects to raise their hand and seek you out.  These prospects will demonstrate some level of need. It will be your job to qualify them for fit while you gain more new clients.  This process does not happen overnight.  Some people claim that it takes 6-9 months for Inbound Marketing to work.  For some, it may take longer yet, while it might happen more quickly for others. Paid Ads can speed the process up. But what if Paid Ads is not in your small B2B business budget?  Regardless, the longer you wait, the longer it will take your Inbound Marketing program to bear fruit.

  • Multi-touch, Multi-channel Targeted Sales Outreach

It is time to get to work on a focused, targeted sales outreach.  Here it is critical to identify the right target, have the right message, make the most of multiple channels, especially the phone, and have the right people!  When done right, this process can be effective.  Hire and train the right people and make sure they pick up the phone!

  • Speaking about Thought Leadership

If you are a dynamic speaker with a large following already, you can move this bucket up to number 3. Remember this question, “If a tree falls in a forest, but no one is there, did it make any noise?”  Speaking about thought leadership without an audience can be similar.  There is one difference, recordings of your speaking events can live forever.  This bucket focuses on using podcasts, webinars, public speaking, and events to demonstrate your thought leadership and let your audience know you.  In most situations, it helps to first start building your Inbound Marketing database as you develop this bucket.  The better the audience, the bigger the payback.

What about the startup?  Here is our recommended prioritization for most startups.

start up


  • Intentional Networking/Referrals

Use your network the best you can.

  • Build and Leverage an Inbound Marketing Engine

This process takes a while. The sooner you start, the sooner it starts working for you.

  • Speaking about Thought Leadership

You are new. You probably have something new. Start talking about it now.

  • Multi-touch, Multi-channel Targeted Sales Outreach

Now it’s time to work on that focused, targeted list of prospects with a refined message on multiple channels, especially the phone.

  • Customer Success/Grow Existing Clients

As you gain customers, help make them successful and fans of your business and grow together.

Additional Tips 

As you build out your tool kit/playbook for each bucket, here are some general tips to follow:

  • Focus on 3-4 buckets. Target no more than 50% of new opportunities in a single bucket.
  • Build Metrics
  • Target Companies, Sell to People
    • Work Target Lists
    • Use Sales Messaging
      • Email Templates
      • Phone call “openers”
      • Voice Mail Messages
      • Presentations
  • Define sales roles

This in ALLBOUND Solution including Customer Success, Outbound and Inbound Sales, and Marketing activities.

This gets you started on implementing the 3 Part Formula to a Healthy Sales Pipeline. Click here to learn more about the formula.  In future articles, we will discuss each part of the formula individually.

Want to explore the process further, schedule a free 30-minute consultation.

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While growing Small Businesses and Building Great Sales Teams is hard, the process to do this is simple. But, simple does not mean easy. 

Want to explore the process further, schedule a free 30-minute consultation.

In the meantime, get our guide to the 3 Part Formula to a Healthy Sales Pipeline


Download Guide

July 29th, 2022|Categories: | | |

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