What’s coming your way, what’s it worth, when will it pay out, and how likely is it to come good? If you needed a handy definition of a sales pipeline, you probably couldn’t do better than this.
But like any pipe, it’s susceptible to two common problems: it can easily become too full of stuff that sinks to the bottom and doesn’t make the distance, or too empty of the stuff that flows through healthily.
Both these are growth-killers for any business – so what can be done to prevent local companies falling prey to them?
This is where we at Bedfordshire Chamber of Commerce can pipe up proudly on behalf of our members.
Meet the Buyer: building pipeline right
Google “sales pipeline” and you’ll get results telling you it’s a tool to create a snapshot of current clients and prospects and the position they are in in the sales process. And so it is – but even a bad pipeline can do that.
It’s just as important to focus on the quality and quantity of prospects entering the pipeline, as on analysing where they all are relative to each other - and it’s for this reason that making sure your business is networking in the right places and to the right audiences is critical.
At the Chamber, quality networking and quality pipeline go hand in hand for our members, and we’re constantly working to bring prospects and suppliers together, face-to-face.
One excellent example is our Meet the Buyer events, where our team matches our members’ businesses to specific prospective buyers based on procurement needs and helps set up scheduled meetings between them on the day.
These are hugely popular events amongst our membership, and it’s not difficult to see why, They are an opportunity to connect face-to-face with key decision makers from some of the County’s biggest corporate buyers, giving you the opportunity to wow them with the products and services you can offer, and articulate exactly how you can address their needs.
Literally hundreds of new business opportunities have resulted from these meetings – evidence, if any were needed, that quality pipeline is about quality engagement.
A pipeline all year round
We work all year round to help our members create a healthy pipeline, by giving them access to a myriad of networking events, outside of Meet the Buyer, to ensure that the invaluable benefit to their pipeline of face-to-face prospecting is a regular opportunity, not just an occasional effort.
Every event is an opportunity to network and at the Chamber we run our highly successful ‘Connect over Coffee’ events each month, which are often held at our members’ stunning locations across the county. What’s more, our calendar also contains events run by our partners, extending members’ networking activities even further – and many of both our and our partners’ events are open to non-member visitors, maximising pipeline reach. View our upcoming events here.
Advertising: the pipeline in the background
Whilst networking is essential to building a pipeline, it’s important for your business to be visible in ways that prospects can easily engage with even when you’re focused on other activities. (You can’t network 24/7 – you’ve got a business to run!)
So we support our members further by enabling them to advertise and publicise their businesses, products, and services through listings in our online directory, coverage in our quarterly Focus magazine, and Member 2 Member special offers.
After all, if prospects can’t see you and find you, you’re missing a chance to constantly build the pipeline in the background!
For more information on how joining Bedfordshire Chamber of Commerce can help you build and maintain a healthy pipeline, visit www.chamber-business.com, or call 01582 522448.