The sales process is a crucial one for any small business. In order to stay afloat and ensure you’re working to your greatest potential, you need to have a solid base of clients to work with. Building, and ultimately maintaining, a pipeline of contacts and clients is the most important aspect in securing those sales. Here are the top tips that will help you get started on your own. 

1. Use a CRM software
A Customer Relationship Management software, or CRM for short, is the online organizational system that facilitates the creation of your pipeline. HubSpot for example, allows you to plug in everything from your lead’s name and role within their company, to personal reminders on when to follow up. Leveraging the power of CRM ensures you stay on the right track, keep your productivity high, and maintain organization between leads and clients with ease.

2. Leverage personal contacts and attend networking events
When your small business is first starting out, it may be daunting trying to land that list of clients. Start simple; who do you know in your personal network that may be able to connect you with a decision maker at their company? Who do you know that runs their own business and has expressed the need for help in the past? This isn’t cheating – it’s using your network to your advantage. When those options have been exhausted, put yourself out there via networking events and remember to bring plenty of business cards.

3. Categorize targets and contact based on priority
Outside of personal connections and networking opportunities, create a target list of companies and brands you would like to work for. Categorize those brands by their needs, budget, location, and anything else that may help you build your pitch. Once you have a comprehensive target list of potential leads, start reaching out based on the categories you used to organize them, keeping in mind which of those will be the most beneficial to you at the outset.

4. Request informational meetings
Based on who the lead is and where their needs are (from what you know), it is sometimes beneficial to request a simple informational meeting as a way of introduction and learning more about the company at hand before any sort of pitch is created. Going in blind when there is a possibility of creating a targeted approach will not result in that push down the pipeline that you are looking to achieve.

5. Follow up!
A simple way of ensuring leads are being moved down the pipeline from contact to sale is to keep following up. Constantly reaching out to people can feel awkward, especially in the beginning, but the payoff is big. Do not let your company’s products or services slip from the minds of your potential clients. Try following up at different times of day and by both email and phone. Keep in mind however, that too much contact can drum up negative feelings. Think of your personal limit when others are contacting you, and work around that.