What is a sales pipeline? Not to be confused with a sales funnel, a sales pipeline details the steps on the buyer's journey from lead to customer, and describes what actions reps should take at each stage.
The sales pipeline stages allow reps to track their deals and manage their pipeline so they always know what their prospects need. The pipeline stages also help reps estimate when a deal might close.
For examples, if the average prospect spends 10 days in the "Sales accepted lead" stage, and 14 days in the following stages, you know that a prospect five days into the "Sales accepted lead" stage will likely close in approximately two and a half weeks.
Let's take a closer look at the stages of a sales pipeline, below.
Sales Pipeline Stages
Sales pipeline stages represent each step a prospect takes through your sales process, from becoming a lead to becoming a customer. The stages are lead generation, lead nurturing, marketing qualified lead, sales accepted lead, sales qualified lead, closed deal, post-sale.
The following infographic from Technology Advice provides an overview of seven basic sales pipeline stages.
- Lead generation
- Lead nurturing
- Marketing qualified lead
- Sales accepted lead
- Sales qualified lead
- Closed deal
If you're just getting started out in sales, or need a sales pipeline step-by-step guide to systematize your process, consider printing this infographic out and keeping it on hand. After all, when it comes to sales, a well-defined process always beats flying by the seat of your pants.