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What is a Sales Pipeline?

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A sales pipeline is a type of sales process that begins with contacts and ends with closing deals and managing customer relationships. The process is often depicted as a funnel that narrows as the number of accounts at each level reduces successively. The following are common stages of a sales pipeline:


A lead is a contact who is viewed as a potential customer. The process of generating leads typically involves research and lead acquisition processes such as advertising. It is often a marketing or sales operations activity.

Lead Qualification

Lead qualification is a process of filtering out leads based on factors such as finances, budget, authority, needs and timeline.


An opportunity is a qualified lead who is engaged in conversation with your salespeople.

Needs Analysis

Needs analysis is a meeting with opportunities to discover their needs and present what you have to offer.

Proposal And Quote

A formal proposal for a deal along with an initial quote.

Sales Negotiation

Negotiation to get to the real price and terms.


Agreement on a deal and receipt of a purchase order.

Win Loss Analysis

A process of learning from each close or lost deal.

Customer Relationship Management

The ongoing process of managing the relationship with the customer such as delivery, customer service, billing and cross-selling. In many cases, each account is assigned a sales representative who is responsible for the customer lifetime value for a portfolio of accounts.
Overview: Sales Pipeline
A sales process that starts with lead generation and ends with closing and customer relationship management activities such as cross-selling.
Related Concepts


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Account Management
Ambiguity Effect
Bargaining Power
Bias For Action
Bliss Point
Business Relationships
Buyer Persona
Call To Action
Choice Architecture
Churn Rate
Closing Techniques
Complex Sales
Concept Selling
Conversion Rate
Curiosity Drive
Customer Lifetime Value
Customer Motivation
Customer Needs Analysis
Customer Persona
Customer Profitability
Customer Relationships
Customer Retention
Customer Satisfaction
Customer Service
Deal Desk
Decoy Effect
Default Effect
Fear Of Missing Out
Figure Of Merit
Final Offer
Hard Selling
Ideal Customer Profile
Lead Generation
Lead Qualification
Low Ball
Marketing Channels
Message Framing
Needs Identification
Negotiation Process
Nudge Theory
Objection Handling
Personal Selling
Pricing Strategy
Product Differentiation
Product Knowledge
Promotion Strategy
Sales Activities
Sales Analysis
Sales Channels
Sales Data
Sales Development
Sales Efficiency
Sales Force Automation
Sales Goals
Sales Management
Sales Metrics
Sales Model
Sales Objectives
Sales Pipeline
Sales Planning
Sales Process
Sales Quotas
Sales Risk
Sales Skills
Sales Strategy
Scarcity Marketing
Soft Selling
Solution Selling
Trade Fairs
Willingness To Pay
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