Consulting firms need a great sales pipeline to attract leads and close deals, as well as generate recurring revenue from clients and referrals. 

Read on to learn tips and best practices for managing an optimized sales pipeline for consulting firms.

The unique role of sales pipelines for consulting firms

Consulting firms need a strong marketing and sales engine to generate leads and close clients without causing imbalances and bottlenecks.  

An imbalance in the sales pipeline can be a problem for consultants and consulting firms, with too much focus on closing clients over generating new ones or delivering billable hours over attracting new leads. 

A well-managed pipeline means you’ll have a steady and manageable stream of incoming clients and the time and resources to nurture existing clients.

What is the typical sales process for consulting firms?

The typical sales process for consulting companies is similar to that of other industries. You’ll have a lead generation and prospecting process to attract new clients, followed by qualifying, pitching, negotiating, and closing. 

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6 best practices for managing a consulting firm’s sales pipeline

We’ve compiled 6 best practices to ensure your consulting sales pipeline is well-managed and enhances your sales process.

1. Define your consulting sales pipeline stages

Creating a sales pipeline that matches your sales and revenue goals is important. When you start from your goals, you have a guiding star to inform every step of your sales process. With these goals in mind, you can begin to build your sales pipeline.

Some questions you can ask to create a sales pipeline that works for your consulting firm include:

  • What is the sales process that your business already follows? You can ensure that you’re not creating a pipeline from nothing by observing what you already do, and what already works for you.
  • How many stages do you need? Defining your stages helps you define tasks. It also helps you see opportunities to add or reduce stages for efficiency.
  • What’s the importance of each stage to you? You can keep essential stages and drop stages that don’t serve your goals.

2. Standardize your sales process

When you’ve got a basic sales process, it’s a good idea to standardize the sales pipeline. It helps you to develop consistent workflows tailored to your consulting services. 

Additionally, it reduces the resources needed for onboarding new team members since your standardized pipeline will help them adapt to your company’s expectations, timeline, and goals.

3. Automate as much as possible

Some tasks in your pipeline can be achieved quickly through automation. 

For example, Nutshell CRM allows you to customize your sales pipelines to automate sales admin tasks, such as advancing leads through the pipeline and sending email drip sequences. 

Nutshell automated emails screenshot for how to manage a sales pipeline for a consulting firm article

This takes the busywork off the plate of your sales team and lets them focus on big-picture, human-driven tasks, such as building relationships with your potential clients.

4. Regularly observe, review, and improve your sales pipeline

You can boost your sales performance with regular, scheduled reviews of your sales pipeline. Regular observation helps you make continuous data-backed improvements, ultimately benefiting your bottom line. 

You can closely monitor key metrics such as the average time to close, the average cost of client acquisition, and the rate of incoming sales-qualified leads (SQLs) to make decisions on improving your sales pipeline.

Nutshell reporting and analytics screenshot for how to manage a sales pipeline for a consulting firm

5. Maintain communication with leads and follow up consistently

Since consulting firms often generate a low number of clients, you can tip the odds in your favor to generate referrals by maintaining your existing customer relationships. 

Follow up consistently with clients using automated reminders and follow-up protocols in your sales pipeline. 

6. Use a CRM to keep your sales pipeline running efficiently

While you can tackle all these practices manually, a good CRM will help you accomplish everything you need to create and maintain a well-managed sales pipeline for your consulting business. 

Choosing the right CRM is critical to getting efficiency out of your sales pipeline. Nutshell CRM comes with robust features at an affordable price to help you make more sales for your consulting firm. Learn more about how we help professional services companies, like consulting services, achieve their sales goals with stress-free sales and marketing automation.

Ready to build your ideal sales pipeline?

Try Nutshell for your consulting business for free, with no obligation, for 14 days. Or contact us today to learn more about Nutshell contact and pipeline management software.

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The post How to Manage a Sales Pipeline for a Consulting Firm appeared first on Nutshell.