What is an opportunity pipeline?


Okay - I'll be honest, I've changed the name on this one. This is essentially a sales pipeline but because we're working for cause-focused organisations, I think the term opportunity pipeline is more fitting.

Creating an opportunity pipeline is an essential process for not-for-profit's or social enterprise looking to grow their partnership program. An opportunity pipeline is a visual representation of the partnership process, which helps you and your team track their progress towards securing partners and identifies any areas that need improvement. By establishing an opportunity pipeline, organisations can streamline their process, boost productivity, and increase their chances of securing more partners.

Here are the steps to creating an opportunity pipeline:

Step 1: Define your partnership stages

The first step to creating a pipeline is to define your partnership stages. This involves identifying the different steps in your process, from prospecting to closing the deal. Your stages should align with your partners journey, and each stage should have specific actions and outcomes.

Step 2: Set measurable goals

Once you have defined your stages, the next step is to set measurable goals for each stage. This involves identifying the key performance indicators (KPIs) that you will use to track your progress towards closing deals. Some common KPIs include the number of leads generated, conversion rates, and revenue generated.

Step 3: Identify your target audience

To create an effective pipeline, you need to know who your target audience is. This involves identifying your ideal customer profile and understanding their pain points, challenges, and motivations. By understanding your target audience, you can tailor your approach to meet their needs and increase your chances of securing more partners.

Step 4: Develop a lead generation strategy

Once you know who your target audience is, you need to develop a lead generation strategy. This involves identifying the channels you will use to reach your target audience, such as PR, events, social media, or content marketing. Your lead generation strategy should align with your partnership stages and help you move opportunities through the pipeline.

Step 5: Qualify your leads

Once you have generated leads, the next step is to qualify them. This involves determining whether a lead is a good fit for your business and has a high likelihood of converting into a customer. Qualifying leads helps you focus your efforts on leads that are most likely to close and can help you prioritise your partnership activities.

Step 6: Nurture your leads

After qualifying your leads, the next step is to nurture them. This involves building relationships with your leads, educating them about your organisation's impact and addressing any concerns or objections they may have. By nurturing your leads, you can increase their interest in your organisation and increase your chances of securing a partnership

Step 7: Confirm the partnership

The final step in the opportunity pipeline is to confirm the partnership. This involves presenting your proposal to your prospect, addressing any final questions, and asking them to partner. By following your defined partnership stages and focusing on your KPIs, you can increase your chances of securing more partners.

In conclusion, creating an opportunity pipeline is a critical process for any organisation looking to increase partners and partnership income to achieve a greater impact for the community you serve. By defining your stages, setting measurable goals, identifying your target audience, developing a lead generation strategy, qualifying and nurturing your leads, and securing the partnership, you can streamline your process and increase your impact. Remember that creating an opportunity pipeline is an iterative process, and you should continuously monitor and adjust your pipeline to ensure you are meeting your sales goals.