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3 Questions to Ask When Building a Sales Pipeline

April 6, 2023

If you haven't already, this is a sign to build a sales pipeline. This will help your sales team know exactly what they need to do to push a lead through the pipeline. Going from point A to point B is much easier when you know exactly what road marks you need to be seeing along the way.

When building a sales pipeline, it's essential to consider several key factors to ensure your pipeline is effective and aligned to your business goals. Here are three questions you should be asking yourself as you get started: 

1. What stages do I need in my sales process?

Write down the critical steps in your sales process that you know so far, from the initial contact to closing a deal. This will help you establish a clear framework for your sales pipeline and allow you to track the progress of each lead accurately.

For example, if you know that a lead needs to see a demo of your product before they can purchase your product and need executive buy in, your stages might look like this:

  1. Discovery call to see if our product is a good fit for the prospective company.
  2. A demo with the prospective company so they can see the value of your product.
  3. A call with the lead and the person that has the executive purchasing power.
  4. Close win the deal.

Try to cut out anything you don't absolutely need in your sales stages. The more fluff you add in your stages, the more friction it will cause in closing a deal. These stage are your pipeline!

Pipelines will vary per company and usually include more stages.

*Note: in your pipeline you always want a "Closed Lost" stage. You will place deals/leads that you lose in to that stage if at any point they decide not to move forward with you.

2. How can I qualify leads effectively? 

Establish criteria for qualifying leads so that your sales team can focus their time and efforts on the most promising leads. To do this, evaluate who has purchased your product so far. Ask things like: 

  • What is their job title?
  • How big is the company?
  • How big was their budget?
  • Why did they purchase our product? 

By determining who has previously purchased your product and why, you can look for leads that follow the same criteria, giving you a much higher probability of success. You can also ask these questions to leads in the first initial call you have with your leads, and if they don't "qualify" you can prevent them from moving forward in your sales pipeline. Making it so your pipeline is only full of prospects that will actually purchase your product.

3. How can I measure and improve my pipeline performance?

Now that you know your pipeline stages, and the questions to ask your leads that qualify them for your sales team's time an attention, you need to measure and adjust.

To do this, first you need to implement metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) to evaluate your sales pipeline's success. You'll want to look at things like conversion rates, deal velocity, and average deal size. By regularly reviewing this data you can identify areas for improvement to optimize your pipeline, by refining your lead qualification process or by adjusting your sales stages.

Taking the time to thoughtfully address these questions will help you create a solid foundation for an effective, well-structured sales pipeline that will drive better results for your business.

Visit to learn more about how you can qualify your leads before they enter your sales pipeline.