Managing Your Sales Pipeline

Sales “pipeline” and prospect list management is one of the most critical areas advisors overlook in their business development efforts.


Because prospects you identify are often in different stages in the process of learning about your capabilities, it is very important to classify them in a way that allows you to best communicate with them and move them down the “sales funnel” until they ultimately become a client.


Many advisors report a very high closing rate once they personally get in front of a motivated and qualified prospect.  The challenge is to create more of these “at bats” by managing your prospect list and continuing to build the relationship to this point. 


The first step is to develop a simple spreadsheet or list to classify each prospect by stage.  (As you get better at this you can start leveraging your CRM software to accomplish this task.)


For example, a straightforward classification may be to assign a prospect a number representing their stage in the sales funnel, such as a “3” being “above the funnel” someone who is just learning about you or who you are interested in working with.   A “2” would identify someone you have spoken to via phone, in-person or a referral and has engaged with your firm in some manner, thus being “in the funnel”.  Lastly someone who has expressed solid interest, is qualified for your firm minimums and style and has an immediate need to invest (money in motion) would be a “1” or “best few.”  This process can be defined in more detail through Miller Heiman1, an independent sales performance management firm that TD AMERITRADE Institutional has developed a strategic relationship with to help advisors build their sales skills.


When you have this list in place, it becomes an easy matter to communicate differently and pro-actively move them down the funnel.  For example, for your list of  3’s you may consider adding them to your mailing list and sending them your newsletter and continue to touch them over time to maintain the relationship, perhaps making offers for a complimentary portfolio review, attending a webinar or other activity.  When the prospect positively reacts to these actions they may be moved into the funnel and classified as a “2”.  As they move through each stage the probability of them becoming a client becomes greater.


For your 2’s, you may invite them to a client event so they can learn about your firm and get insight and feedback from talking to your existing clients.  Lastly, for your 1’s you would provide a high level of focus, drilling down on their immediate financial and investment planning issues, scheduling in person meetings, facilitating any paperwork and proactively asking for their business.


Following these simple steps and creating a process supported by software tools to keep track and manage your sales pipeline can go a long way toward capturing the tremendous opportunity for independent advisors.



By George Tamer and Bob Campione


George Tamer, Director, Strategic Relationships, TD AMERITRADE Institutional

George can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Bob Campione, Manager, Strategic Relationships, TD AMERITRADE Institutional

Bob can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



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TD AMERITRADE, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC. This is not an offer or solicitation in any jurisdiction where we are not authorized to do business. Past performance of a security does not guarantee future results. All investments are subject to investment risk, including possible loss of the principal invested.





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