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What is a B2B Sales Pipeline?

A B2B sales pipeline is a visual representation of the steps that sales need to complete in order to convert a lead into a customer. All members of sales teams are involved in moving leads through the sales pipeline including sales development representatives (SDRs). Also, the sales pipeline applies to both inbound sales and outbound sales activities. Sales teams should be aware that the progress of a lead in the sales pipeline is dependent on the lead’s buyer journey. Buyer’s journey steps typically include awareness of a problem, consideration of options to fix the problem, and a decision to fix the problem. The stages in a sales pipeline differ depending on the seller’s products and/or services and it’s customer’s buying journey.

Example Stages in a B2B Sales Pipeline

Common stages in a sales pipeline include qualification, consultation, proposal, and closing.

Qualification Stage

At this stage, sales prospect and research leads in order to decide if leads could be a good fit for the company.

Consultation Stage

Sales further qualifies leads by acting as a consultant acting as a guide through this process. Sales needs to understand pain points and decide whether or not they have a solution.

Proposal Stage

Sales matches the buyer’s requirements with their company’s products and services and sends the buyer a proposal that outlines how the seller will help fix the buyer’s problem.

Closing Stage

The buyer has considered possible solutions to their problem and makes a decision on their proposal. Sales completes the closing stage if the buyer accepts the terms of the proposal.

Key Performance Indicators in a B2B Sales Pipeline

  1. The number of leads in each step of the pipeline.
  2. The average size of a deal in each step of the pipeline.
  3. The sales conversion rate from step-to-step in the sales pipeline. This includes the overall sales conversion rate from beginning to end in the sales pipeline.
  4. The overall sales velocity of the sales pipeline; the average amount of time it takes to close a deal. The sales velocity of leads moving from step-to-step in the sales funnel should also be considered.

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