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Keep Your Business Thriving - Fill Your Sales Pipeline

sales funnel graphic, showing Awareness, Engagement, Conversion, and Retention
Find ways to keep your sales pipeline full

Let’s face it - we’re badass business owners! We build, market, execute, maintain, deliver, and account for our product (ourselves)...and it's a lot. It’s a machine that needs constant fuel, in the form of a reliable income stream. But voice over is hardly reliable, as clients come and go with each new job, and we must find ways to keep that income stream flowing. Using a sales pipeline can be a great way to keep that stream going by tracking and managing engagement with prospects, leads, customers, and repeat clients. As we build successful voiceover businesses, a constantly-full sales pipeline is key. Here's an overview of how a sales pipeline can help your business thrive...

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What’s a sales pipeline?

You’re probably familiar with the concept of a sales funnel, where leads move along a sales cycle, ever closer to becoming a customer. Well, a sales pipeline enhances that process by adding time as a measured component and showing how leads move from one stage to the next, sometimes remaining in an “inactive” state before progression. A sales pipeline displays this progression all the way from lead generation to purchase, and can help visualize your sales process with snapshots of exactly what happens through the conversion and retention journies.

A sale pipeline helps to illustrate the process by creating a realistic representation of a client life cycle…

CRM = Customer Relationship Management

Capture leads with a good CRM

The first step in creating an effective sales pipeline is the management of prospective client data. Whether you’re using an online form to collect data, or are accessing a vetted email list, you’ll need a way to collect, organize, and interact with clients at each stage in your cycle. You need a CRM (Customer Relationship Management), which becomes the hub of your marketing and grows as you build relationships. Of course, there are plenty of great CRM options out there, and you’ll need to spend a bit of time deciding which works best for you. Definitely don’t skip this step, and do take your time considering your business and its specific needs.

Attract an audience and build your reputation

Once you’ve got somewhere to track and manage clients, you can start actively seeking new ones - a process known as prospecting. Every business owner will use a slightly different methodology to find potential customers, and it’s up to you to determine effective ways to get yourself noticed. From strengthening your online presence through SEO, promoting your social media profiles, writing a blog, running ads, or accessing email marketing lists & building campaigns, your options are limited only by your creativity and marketing budget. Take the time to find out where your potential clients are, and meet them there. Work on building a reputation that will attract those seeking your services. The idea is to get people interested in what you’ve got to offer, so authenticity becomes a key element of this process. Take time to determine who you are and exactly what you provide. Get comfortable with your online presence and learn to use it strategically.

Generate awareness & trust by interacting with your audience in a real, believable way.

Directly target people who can hire you

Putting money and effort into marketing can be an important step, but it’s just as important to make sure you’re marketing to the right people. Sure, we all love to market to each other, share posts and links, and raise our inter-industry profiles, but it takes more than that to position ourselves so that clients will find our voices. This means making sure that any leads that enter your CRM are qualified. To determine if someone is a qualified lead, ask the following questions:

1 - Can this client afford my services?

Honestly consider if this client has the budget to hire a voice actor. Many times we forget this all-important question and instead spend hours building relationships with people who are unlikely to become real customers. Giving away your services at low rates does nothing to keep your sales pipeline flowing with a steady income stream, and can end up causing that stream to become a constant, slow trickle instead. Before adding someone to your pipeline, ask if they can afford your rates.

2 - Am I connecting with the right person?

When marketing directly, it’s important to reach out to someone with the power to hire you or recommend you to someone who can. For example, if you’re marketing yourself to a video production company, and you’re building a relationship with the video editor, there’s a possibility they won’t be making the hiring decisions. Think in terms of job titles and company size, and take time to find the right person to add to your pipeline, rather than adding multiple people from the same organization. Who does the hiring of voice actors? That's the contact you want.

3 - Is this person in the business of hiring voice actors?

Throwing spaghetti at the wall and hoping it sticks isn't really the best way to form long-lasting connections. For example, it may seem ideal to reach out to universities with your eLearning demo, but it is unlikely that their marketing department directly hires voice actors for their projects. Likewise, forming strong relationships with people in the HR or Marketing departments within many industries can be a similar uphill battle. Odds are, if a company or department has never hired a voice actor before, there's going to be a lot of extra work on your part to snag them as a client. Don't waste time trying to convert someone into a potential client; use your time & resources to guide true prospects into your pipeline.

Building relationships - for real

If you’ve answered the questions above, then it’s time to connect with your prospective clients! There’s a distinct difference between the basic concept of networking and the process of actively building client relationships. It takes a lot of time and effort to establish yourself as a reputable creative entrepreneur while drawing leads toward your services, and you shouldn't expect it to happen overnight. You’ll send emails, actively engage on social media, interact with prospective clients' content, and compliment their work in ways that elevate them. It may seem obvious, but how you behave in online spaces can affect how potential clients see you, so make sure that what you're putting out there aligns with your professional goals. The result should be that once you’ve connected, your relationship grows in an organic way that has them thinking of you at just the right moment - when they need a voice actor. Need ideas on how to engage? Learn more here >>

Success - now what?

Once all that lead generation and relationship-building pays off, and your prospective client becomes an actual client, it’s tempting to consider the whole cycle closed. But if you're leaning toward stamping it "done" and moving on to the next hustle, here’s the deal: just because you were hired once doesn’t mean someone will hire you again, and nothing can really keep any client from disappearing into the abyss. It's all about staying on top of things. A sales pipeline focuses your attention on remaining in touch with people after they’ve hired you, because previous clients already know how awesome you are! Send “touching base” emails, follow up on the project, and continue to engage with their online content - whatever it takes to keep your voice in mind for future projects. Landing a client is certainly not the final step when it comes to your sales pipeline - far from it. Instead, each new hiring begins another cycle of connection, engagement, and relationship building that significantly improves your ability to maintain that all-important steady income stream.

Putting it all together

A sales pipeline is a graphical or visual representation of the amount of revenue at each stage of a client’s journey through your sales funnel, and can help you maintain connections with your clients. While creating your sales pipeline, make sure it accurately conveys the important details your business needs, and choose an excellent CRM. Ask questions about your prospective clients before targeting them, and work hard to build good relationships using every tool at your disposal. Create your own sales pipeline and become more efficient at converting leads into clients!


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About Anne:

Anne Ganguzza is a professional voice actor and award-winning director & producer who works with students to develop their voiceover and business skills through Coaching and Genre-based Demo Production. She specializes in conversational Commercial & Narration styles, including Corporate, eLearning, Technology, and On-Hold Messaging. Located in Orange County, California, Anne offers private coaching and mentoring services to students via ipDTL and Zoom.


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