How to Build a Sales Pipeline from Scratch

sales manager meeting with team building out sales pipeline

It might be difficult to build a sales pipeline from the beginning, especially if you have no sales expertise. However, with the right tools and training, any business professional can build a successful sales pipeline that generates recurring revenue.

A sales pipeline is essential for every company that wants to make money because it shows the stages a potential client takes before committing to a purchase. 

Below you will find a step-by-step guide on how to build a sales funnel from scratch and improve your conversion rates.

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Define your Ideal Customer

Determining your ideal customer is a critical component of creating a sales pipeline from scratch, as it helps identify the individuals or companies who are most likely to benefit from your product or service, and it directs your lead generation and sales efforts. Here are some supplementary factors to remember when defining your ideal customer:

  1. Demographics: Start by identifying the demographic characteristics of your ideal customer. This can include age, gender, location, income, education, and more.
  1. Pain points: It’s important to understand the pain points of your ideal customer. What problems or challenges do they face that your product or service can help solve?
  1. Buying habits: Consider the buying habits of your ideal customer. How do they typically make purchasing decisions?
  1. Communication preferences: Finally, think about the communication preferences of your ideal customer. Do they prefer phone calls, emails, or in-person meetings? Are they more likely to respond to social media messages or direct mail?
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Generate leads

Generating leads is a crucial component of constructing a sales pipeline from the beginning, as without a consistent stream of prospective customers, meeting sales targets can be challenging for your sales team. Here are some extra aspects to keep in mind while generating leads:

  1. Use multiple channels: To reach a wider audience, it’s important to use multiple lead generation channels. This can include email marketing, social media, search engine optimization, paid advertising, and more.
  1. Create content: Content marketing is an effective way to generate leads. Create valuable content that solves a problem or addresses a pain point.  
  1. Attend events: Attending industry events and conferences is a great way to generate leads. By interacting with attendees and sharing your knowledge and expertise, you can build relationships and generate interest in your product or service.
  1. Offer incentives: Incentives can be a powerful way to generate leads. This can include offering a free trial, a discount code, or a free consultation.
  1. Qualifying leads: Each lead is unique, and not all have the same probability of conversion. To improve the utilization of your resources, it is essential to filter leads and concentrate on those with a higher likelihood of transforming into paying customers. You can achieve this by posing qualifying inquiries and assessing the percentage of their interest in your product or service.

Qualify leads

The process of lead qualification is a crucial stage in the sales pipeline as it guarantees that your sales team is allocating their time and resources to the most promising prospects. Here are some supplementary factors to remember during the lead qualification phase:

  1. Identify the decision-makers: When qualifying leads, it’s important to identify the decision-makers within the organization. These are the people who have the power to make purchasing decisions, and who are most likely to be interested in your product or service.
  1. Determine budget: Another key consideration when qualifying leads is budget. You need to understand whether the prospect has the budget to afford your product or service.
  1. Assess level of interest: When qualifying leads, it’s important to assess the level of interest in your product or service. You can do this by asking questions about their pain points and needs, and by gauging their level of engagement with your sales pitch.
  1. Determine timeline: Understanding the timeline for making a purchasing decision is also important when qualifying leads. You need to know whether the prospect is ready to buy now, or whether they are just researching their options.
  1. Evaluate fit: Finally, when qualifying leads, it’s important to evaluate whether the prospect is a good fit for your product or service. Do they have the right use case? Do they align with your ideal customer profile?
Sales assistant pitching to shareholders in meeting

Develop a sales strategy

In constructing a sales pipeline from scratch, creating a sales strategy is a vital stage. A sales strategy is a blueprint that outlines the methods you will use to attract and engage prospective customers, and how you will conclude deals and generate revenue. Here are some supplementary factors to contemplate while developing a sales strategy:

  1. Define your target market: To develop an effective sales strategy, you need to understand your target market. This includes identifying your ideal customer profile, understanding their pain points and needs, and knowing how to reach them.
  1. Determine your unique value proposition: To stand out from the competition, you need to have an offer that’s completely different from everyone else. This is the reason customers should choose your product or service over others.
  1. Set clear goals and targets: To measure the success of your sales strategy, you need to set clear goals and targets. This includes setting revenue targets, identifying the number of deals you need to close, and setting other key performance indicators (KPIs) to track your progress.
  1. Develop a sales process: A sales process is a step-by-step plan for how you will engage with potential customers and close deals. Your sales process should include stages for lead generation, lead qualification, pitching your product or service, negotiating, and closing deals, and following up with customers.
  1. Build a strong sales team: To execute your sales strategy, you need a strong sales team. This includes hiring and training sales reps, setting clear expectations and goals, and providing the tools and resources they need to succeed.

Create a sales process

Creating a sales process is crucial because it lays the foundation of a detailed plan that describes how you will interact with potential customers and complete deals. Here are some supplementary factors to contemplate when designing a sales process:

  1. Define your stages: Start by dividing the sales process into clear stages, such as lead generation, lead qualification, pitching your product or service, negotiating, and closing deals, and following up with customers.
  1. Develop a clear timeline: Each stage of your sales process should have a clear timeline. For example, you might give yourself one week to follow up with a lead after they ask about your product or service.
  1. Determine your sales tools and resources: To execute your sales process, you need the right tools and resources. This might include CRM software to track your leads and customers, sales scripts and templates, and marketing materials to support your sales efforts.
  1. Develop a clear communication strategy: Communication is key in any sales process. It is crucial to communicate efficiently with potential customers and furnish them with the necessary information to enable them to make informed purchase decisions.
  1. Train your sales team: Finally, it’s important to train your sales team on your sales process. This includes providing them with clear guidelines and expectations, teaching them how to use your sales tools and resources, and coaching them on effective communication strategies.
Sales executive holding speech in front of live audience

Build a sales pipeline

Building a sales pipeline is an essential process for any business aiming to create additional sources of revenue. Here are some supplementary factors to keep in mind when constructing a sales pipeline:

  1. Define your sales pipeline stages: Before you can start building your sales pipeline, you need to define the stages that leads will go through as they move towards becoming paying customers. Common stages include lead generation, lead qualification, proposal or pitch, negotiation, and closing.
  1. Set up lead generation channels: A key part of building a sales pipeline is generating new leads. You can do this through a variety of channels, such as email marketing, social media, content marketing, and paid advertising.
  1. Collect and organize contact information: To build a strong sales pipeline, you need to have a way to collect and organize contact information for potential customers. This might include their name, email address, phone number, company name, and other key information.
  1. How to find the right leads: Not all leads are created equal. To avoid wasting time and resources on leads that are unlikely to convert, you need to qualify your leads based on their level of interest, budget, timeline, and other factors.

Monitor conversion rate

Observing your conversion rate is a crucial aspect of constructing a thriving sales pipeline. To further guide you in tracking your conversion rate, here are a few more factors to consider:

  1. Define your conversion rate: Before you can monitor your conversion rate, you need to define what it is. A conversion rate is the percentage of leads that move from one stage of your sales pipeline to the next. For example, if you have 100 leads in your pipeline and 20 of them convert to paying customers, your conversion rate is 20%.
  1. Set conversion rate benchmarks: Once you have defined your conversion rate, you can set benchmarks for each stage of your sales pipeline. This will help you track your progress and identify areas where you may need to make improvements. For example, if your current conversion rate for lead generation is 5%, you might set a benchmark of 10% and work to improve your lead generation efforts.
  1. Track your conversion rate over time: To get a complete picture of your sales pipeline, you need to track your conversion rate. This will help you identify trends and make informed decisions about your sales strategy.
  1. Identify areas for improvement: Observing your conversion rate allows you to pinpoint areas of your sales pipeline that may require enhancement.
  1. Experiment with new strategies: Monitoring your conversion rate gives you the opportunity to experiment with new sales strategies. For example, you might try testing different messaging or marketing channels to see if you can improve your conversion rate at a specific stage of your sales pipeline.

Collaborate with your marketing team

In building a successful sales pipeline, collaborating with your marketing team is a crucial stage. Here are some supplementary factors to keep in mind when working together with your marketing team:

  • Define shared goals
  • Share customer insights
  • Work together to develop lead generation strategies
  • Develop shared messaging and content
  • Measure and optimize performance


In conclusion, building a sales pipeline can seem complicated, but it’s an essential part of any successful sales strategy. 

By defining your ideal customer, generating, and qualifying leads, developing a sales strategy and process, building a sales pipeline, and monitoring your conversion rates, you can create a strong sales pipeline that will drive revenue and grow your business.

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By Alex Vetter

Alex Vetter is the product marketing manager at DYL. With a Masters from College de Paris, he runs the marketing department and helps with product management at DYL.