The 1 Reason Why Your Sales Pipeline Conversion Rate Is so Low

9 min read
Jun 27, 2022

Despite working harder than ever, most sales professionals have sales pipeline conversion rates so low you would think they were not doing anything.

Also known as win rate or closed-won rate, pipeline conversion is the percentage of prospects who enter the sales pipeline as prospects and exit as closed deals.

Unfortunately, most entrepreneurs do not realize there's a single factor between where they are now and a near 100% pipeline conversion rate.

Because they don’t understand the importance of this factor, their conversion rate is pitifully low.

That said, I’m sharing the 1 factor that explains why entrepreneurs have such low sales pipeline conversion rates!

You can work as hard as you want, but your conversion rate will ALWAYS be below its potential unless you hone in on this one factor.


Why Sales Reps (Incorrectly) THINK They Have a Low Conversion Rate


Many salespeople suspect their conversion rates are low and then make incorrect assumptions about why they are so low.

Unfortunately, this only makes things worse!

Here are some of the most common reasons salespeople incorrectly believe their pipeline rates are low.


Prospects Are Difficult and Indecisive

Many salespeople assume their rate is low because prospects are difficult and indecisive.

Moreover, they don’t have the proper decision-making knowledge to make purchasing decisions that would benefit them.

As a result, they spend a long period in the pipeline before converting.  Or, the prospect never converts into a customer.

Indeed, prospects can sometimes be difficult and indecisive, but that isn‘t the real reason why pipeline conversion rates are low.

True sales professionals don’t let difficult prospects hurt their pipeline metrics.


Timing Isn’t Right

Second, many sales professionals think their rates are low because of bad timing.

Specifically, it is not the right time for prospects to make a purchase.

Ultimately, prospects spend a long time at the top of the funnel before making their way to the bottom.

However, bad timing is an excuse salespeople make to deflect accountability for their low conversion rates.

Instead of blaming themselves for the poor rates, they push the blame onto timing.

It’s an easy scapegoat!

However, top sales professionals never blame timing for poor results.


The Sales Team Isn’t Working Hard Enough.

Many sales managers and business owners often blame their sales team members for low pipeline rates.

While it is possible the sales team isn’t working hard enough, it usually isn’t the case.

Typically, the sales team is working extremely hard!

Similarly to how top sales professionals wouldn’t blame timing for poor results, they also wouldn’t blame their sales team for poor outcomes.


Low Conversion Rates Are Supposedly Normal

Finally, and worst of all, many salespeople think their conversion rates are low because they’re supposed to be that way!

Moreover, they believe their rates are low because it’s supposedly normal and okay to have low rates.

While low conversion rates are average for most sales teams, that DOES NOT mean that low rates are normal.

Average and normal are not the same thing!

For example, the average American has a high level of consumer debt, but that doesn’t mean it’s normal or healthy to have high consumer debt!

That said, while low rates are average amongst sales teams, they ARE NOT normal and shouldn’t be normalized.

The truth is that low pipeline metrics are the farthest thing from normal.


What is a good B2B sales conversion rate?


What Is a Good Sales Pipeline Conversion Rate?


Before going any further, what is a solid conversion rate?

Or better yet, what is not a solid rate?

If you do 5 minutes of online research, everyone will give you different answers regarding the acceptable conversion rate.

They will also spew out statistics on average conversion rates and other KPIs for different industries.

However, NONE of these average sales metrics matters unless you want to be AVERAGE.

Being average rarely did anyone well.

Think about it - the average American is unhappy, while the average business owner struggles to close deals regularly to keep the lights on.

Do you want to fall within the average, or do you want to be above average?

That said, a good, non-average sales pipeline conversion rate is 100%.

I am not saying you will be 100% 100% the time! 

But I am saying you should shoot for it.

Every qualified lead who enters your pipeline should convert into a paying customer in a short period of time.

Think about it: If a lead is qualified to make a purchase and you believe your product/service will improve their life, why should they not convert into a paying customer?


The REAL Reason Why Your Sales Funnel Conversion Rate Is Low


The real reason why 99% of sales professionals have low conversion rates comes down to this 1 factor: time.

Time KILLS more deals than any other factor!

More specifically, the more time a potential new customer spends in the sales pipeline, the less likely they will convert into a new paying customer.

Another way of putting this is the slower your sales velocity, the less likely new leads are to make a purchase.

The key to a higher conversion rate is getting prospects in and out of the pipeline FASTER.

Not only will increasing sales velocity lead to higher conversion rates, but it also is the magic sauce to closing more new deals in less time. 

AKA, a higher velocity helps increase the number of leads that convert into paying customers in shorter time periods.

You have everything to gain by speeding up sales velocity.

Remember, time kills more deals than any other factor.


Time KILLS Sales Deals

Time is the most important metric in sales.

No, not SEO, subscriber count, SQL, or another fancy saas term!

Instead, it is the average time period a qualified lead spends in the pipeline before converting into a paying customer.

The shorter that period, the more likely a potential customer will convert!

AKA, the higher the sales velocity, the higher the lead conversion rate!

What makes sales velocity and time so important?

The more time a lead spends in the pipeline, the more time they have to

  • Rethink their decision
  • Come up with excuses to not buy from you
  • Check out your competitors
  • Get cold feet
  • Talk themselves out of the deal
  • Lose their sense of urgency

Moreover, the more time a lead spends in the pipeline, the more likely they will look away from you!

Consider this- Have you ever walked into a clothing store, seen something you loved, but then put it down for a minute? During that minute, you talked yourself out of it and walked away empty-handed.

The same thing happens in B2B sales all the time!

Fortunately, you can prevent time from sabotaging sales conversions by simply increasing sales velocity.


what is a good pipeline conversion rate?


How to Increase Sales Velocity to Increase Pipeline Conversion Rate


Don’t let time kill another deal.

Here is how to speed up sales velocity to increase pipeline conversion.  

AKA, this is how to close more deals in less time than ever!

With these techniques, leads will go through your pipeline faster than ever.

As a result, your pipeline conversion rate and overall sales performance will immensely improve (and you’ll have fewer headaches throughout the sales process!)


Immediately Cut Down Your Sales Process

The first way to increase sales velocity is by cutting down your sales process/sales cycle.

Specifically, removing any step from your process that isn’t necessary.

The more steps in the process, the longer it takes to get prospects through the pipeline to convert into customers.

Most sales processes have six, seven, or even eight steps. 

But the truth is that effective processes have a maximum of four.

Contrary to popular belief, the shorter and sweeter your process is, the more effective it is.

That said, follow my straightforward sales process outline to cut your process in half.


Optimize Lead Generation By Making Cold Calls Like a Boss

Most sales teams waste tons of time at the top of the funnel by bungling the lead generation process.

Unfortunately, lead gen is the kickstarter of the entire pipeline.

So if lead gen does not go well, the rest of the pipeline slows to a snail's pace.

Therefore, optimize your lead gen process by optimizing your cold outreach process.

Specifically, by upping your cold email game to make sales calls like a boss!

Cold calling is the most effective method to optimize your funnel because it is the most assertive lead gen strategy.

Cold calls get you in front of your leads in real-time to siphon them into the pipeline.

While you or your top sales rep makes calls, delegate other lead gen methods, including inbound marketing campaigns, to other team members.

I am not saying that the marketing strategy is not crucial to success! 

Instead, I am saying that marketing and other lead gen strategies are supplemental to cold calling.

Do not fumble your pipeline before you even have the chance to put it to use.  

Optimize lead gen to optimize the entire pipeline.


Carry Yourself As the Expert You Are

Most salespeople carry themselves as if they are vendors even though they want to be treated by prospects as experts.

For example, they act like vendors instead of experts by:

  • Giving away free value
  • Negotiating their price tag
  • Comparing themselves to their competitors

The more they carry themselves as vendors, the slower the pipeline and lower the conversion rate.

That said, the best sales strategy in the world is to carry yourself as an expert in your field.

Unlike vendors who are easily replaceable, experts are irreplaceable.

People do not deny experts; what the expert says goes!

For example, patients do not deny what an expert surgeon has to say because the surgeon carries themself as the expert they are.

As a result, the doctor gets the patient to comply with what is necessary in little time.

Similarly, carry yourself as an expert to siphon prospects through the pipeline in little to no time.


sales conversion rate benchmark


Follow-Up Until You Get a Response

How often do prospects cancel sales meetings last minute and subsequently drag out the sales timeline?

Even worse, how often do you have to make dozens of cold calls to prospects and leave countless voicemails before they pick up?

Most salespeople can relate to this on a spiritual level!

In any case, do not allow a potential customer's timeline to dictate yours.

Instead, follow up with them until you get clear responses.

Unless you follow up quickly and consistently, getting prospects into the next stage will drag on forever.

Remember, prospects are busy people with other priorities.

If you do not push yourself to the top of their priority list, you will never become a priority.

As a result, you will live according to their (slow) timeline forever.


Prevent Negotiations and Objections

How often do you make it to the bottom of the pipeline, make your final sales pitch, and then get hounded with objections?

Worse than that, does the prospect say, ‘We will have to think about it and get back to you’ only to drag out the process for several days or weeks?

Unfortunately, many salespeople set themselves up for objections and negotiations at the bitter end of the pipeline.  This brings their pipeline velocity to a screeching halt.

Instead of being objected to and requested to negotiate, prevent negotiations and objections altogether by:

  • Carrying yourself as an expert
  • Never sending sales proposals
  • Making sales pitches like the 1%

Getting hit with objections and calls for negotiation is almost 100% preventable.

Do not knock your pipeline out of the park only for it to come to a screeching halt.


Kick Unqualified Leads to the Curb.

Many sales professionals have everything they need for a high sales velocity.

However, they also have a lot of what they DO NOT NEED.

By that, I mean they fill their pipeline with tons of qualified AND unqualified leads.

Unfortunately, having unqualified leads in the pipeline slows pipeline velocity even for qualified leads.

You only have so much time on your hands, and if you devote tons of time to unqualified leads, then there is less time for qualified ones.

From now on, stop wasting time on unqualified leads and focus on the hottest ones!

For example, focus on lead referrals and those who fit your ideal customer profile.

Do not allow unqualified leads who are very unlikely to purchase to sabotage your entire pipeline.


Make Sales Pitches As If Your Life Depends on It

Prospects will hesitate to move down the pipeline if they think they do not need you.

Unfortunately, most prospects do not think they need you at all!

If they did, they would have knocked on your door instead of you having to reach out to them first.

That said, sales pitches are your single-best opportunity to show prospects that they NEED you to survive!

Pitches are the chance to show prospects you have a solution that will get them to their desired outcome.

Specifically, your product or service will knock down the barriers standing between where they are now and where they want to be in the future.

If you can show prospects you will get problems out of their way, so they have a clear pathway ahead, they will certainly buy from you.

Not only will they buy from you, but they will instantly buy from you.

Pitching like a boss will speed up your pipeline more than anything else.

Are you ready to pitch as if your life depends on it?


Final Thoughts on Why Your B2B Sales Conversion Rate Is so Low


There is likely only one factor standing between where you are now and a near 100% conversion rate: time.

The more time leads spend in your pipeline, the less likely they will convert into paying customers.

You can do everything else right, but allowing time to slip away sabotages everything!

Win more deals. Grow your business.

Get more prospects, more sales, and higher-paying clients fast, so you can take your business to the next level.

See How It Works 

Become an Insider