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What is a Sales Pipeline?

 , updated on March 18, 2021
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:

Lead

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.

Opportunity

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.

Close

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
Type
Definition
A sales process that starts with lead generation and ends with closing and customer relationship management activities such as cross-selling.
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