6 Tips for Creating a Successful Sales Pipeline


A good sales pipeline doesn’t build itself. It’s a masterful creation that’s part art, part strategy, and designed to help take your business to the next level of sales and outreach. Like many things, some people have their own tried-and-true techniques and tips that they swear by, while others are still trying to figure out where to even begin. If you’re part of the latter group, you’re in the right place. 

In this blog post, we’ll take a look at six tips that can help you create a sales pipeline that continues to deliver a steady stream of results. If you want, you can even enlist the help of Smith.ai to boost your outreach campaigns and get that sales pipeline flowing in the first place. 

Tip #1 – Capitalize on LinkedIn as a prospecting tool 

This might sound like an odd place to start, but LinkedIn has recently made a ton of changes that have turned it into much more than just a professional networking site and job search resource. It’s also become a great tool for research and prospect cultivation, allowing you to find prospects by:

  • Company
  • Industry
  • Location
  • And more

You can glean a lot of useful information on LinkedIn, and the site itself reports that new business sales reps who exceed their quotas perform 52% more people searches on the site per month. You can even use this to validate leads and double-check information on prospects that are already in the pipeline, helping you keep things moving. 

Tip #2 – Slow down and learn about your prospects 

Too many salespeople are worried about pitching their product or service. You’ll get there. We live in a world where people aren’t sold on sales pitches anymore. They want to work with companies that are connected to their needs and capable of providing a solution that addresses those needs specifically. 77% of buyers say they won’t engage with a sales rep that hasn’t done their homework (about the buyer). If you want that engagement, you have to slow down and listen to people. 

Take advantage of Google, too, so that you can learn about companies, decision-makers, and prospects. A little research can go a long way in helping you figure out what makes people tick, what gets them excited, and how to get their business. 

Tip #3 – Be an industry authority and thought leader 

Prospects aren’t looking for products and services. They’re looking for companies that can provide those solutions, but also offer valuable insight and other support. The most successful sales pipelines aren’t built on sales pitches. They’re built on:

  • Articles and blogs on your website
  • News releases and PR 
  • eBooks and other downloadable content 
  • Social media posts 
  • Video content 
  • Relevant industry news and insights

People know that you have a product or service to offer. What they want to see is that your company is the absolute best choice for that product or service. Positioning your organization as a thought leader is an essential part of that. 

Tip #4 – Follow the process 

Building a sales pipeline is a little different for everyone. However, the general steps and process are typically the same. In addition to the tips here, you’ll want to outline a strategy for building your pipeline that includes:

  • Defining the stages of the pipeline 
  • Identifying the opportunities at each stage
  • Understanding which prospects are converting and why 
  • Adapting your sales process based on these insights 
  • Continuously adding leads to the pipeline 
  • Maintaining the health of your sales pipeline with periodic reviews and clean-ups 

It can take some time to perfect your pipeline, but if you follow the process, it will all fall into place. The three main stages of the customer journey are:

  1. Awareness 
  2. Consideration
  3. Decision

Within these three stages, you may have several steps in the pipeline, including:

  • Initial connection
  • Appointment setting
  • Solution proposed 
  • Proposal sent 
  • Objections addressed
  • Etc.

This is where personalization of your pipeline comes in handy. You can use templates as a guide, but yours should be unique to the needs of your organization. 

Tip #5 – Double-check your information 

As many as 80% of deals are lost simply because a decision-maker was changed and no one knew about it. Perhaps you’re about to close a big deal, but then the executive that was working on it changed positions or left the company entirely. Do you know who to contact next? Make sure that you check and double-check your information. 

In the same regard, feel free to ask your prospects if there’s an anticipated change coming up or if anyone else needs to be involved in the decision or process. That can help you avoid sudden surprises in many cases. 

Be flexible here. You might need to put some deals on hold until you can get the facts straight. That’s okay—it’s better to put them on hold than to lose them entirely. 

Tip #6 – Be a consultant, not a convincer 

Today’s customers (both B2B and B2C) have high expectations of the companies they do business with. They already know that you’re selling something. What will set you apart is what you know about their needs and desires in a solution. You need to know your customers better than your competition, and perhaps better than they know themselves in some ways. When you show people that not only do you understand their needs, but you can offer a solution (or multiple solutions) to assist with those needs, you’ll be more likely to earn their interest than if you just throw a sales pitch at them. 

When your pipeline starts flowing, will you be ready?

In addition to supporting your outreach campaigns, the virtual receptionists at Smith.ai can also provide additional resources to help with all those new leads you’ve found. We can work as your 24/7 answering service to ensure you never miss an opportunity, as well as assisting with lead intake and appointment scheduling.

To learn more, schedule a consultation or reach out to hello@smith.ai

Business Education
Sales Tips
Sales Development

Elizabeth Lockwood is the content marketing associate at Smith.ai. She focuses specifically on writing and editing engaging articles, blog posts, and other forms of publication.

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