Top 5 Reasons to Manage Your Idea Pipeline Alongside Your Sales Pipeline

What goals do you and your colleagues in management have for your company? If you’re serious about growing your business, ideation shouldn’t be something you do by the by. Brainstorming every now and then is not a recipe for refining your offering and attaining creative success. Idea generation should be a consistent and formalised part of back-end operations. 

Even if you don’t have the resources to dedicate a team solely to innovation, ideation should be built into the work week and relevant employee schedules. When this happens and teams actively apply themselves to exploring new markets and improving and developing systems, products and services, companies realize satisfying outcomes like the ones listed below.

Increased Profitability

Your idea funnel is as important as your marketing funnel. Too often, good ideas never get the chance to reach fruition because they stagnate in the initial stages of development. Or even worse, they’re forgotten by the brain that conceived them before they ever see the light of day! And yet a good idea can increase profitability through efficiencies. It can open up more revenue streams by filling a gap in the market. 

Aim to increase both the quantity and quality of new, fleshed out ideas. When you prioritize ideation, more workable concepts will flow through your idea pipeline and they’ll do so with intent. They have timelines attached to them. They have deadlines for testing viability and prototypes. They have a greater chance of becoming the things that make your company more money.

Increased Profitability

Competitive Advantage

Competitive Advantage

Originality sets companies apart from their competitors. Many companies are not willing to pursue originality because it involves some level of risk. It involves resource allocation to something with an unconfirmed ROI. It could mean developing new products or processes that compromise the profitability of existing products. 

But ideation done with thorough research and collaboration can help mitigate these risks. And the rewards are a distinct brand and a healthier bottom line. 

Positive Organizational Culture

Formalizing idea generation requires a shift in organizational culture. You have to be able to physically sell the new idea so managing the sales pipeline alongside your idea pipeline is fundamental to execution. Having individuals from sales, distribution and other departments on innovation teams can bring potential obstacles to the fore before more time and investment is put into an idea. 

Innovative companies also attract bright minds. They nurture an esprit de corps. Employees at all levels feel like their ideas are valued and like they are contributing to a company that is constantly trying to raise its level.

In addition, diversity is best practice for a reason. Having a range of employees from different backgrounds usually means a broader scope for fresh perspectives and plausible, value-creating ideas.  It increases what’s sometimes referred to as corporate imagination.

Positive Organisation Culture

Problem Solving

Problem Solving

There’s nothing stopping you from casting your net wider to tackle focus areas and identified issues. Problem solving is all about empathizing and addressing pain points. You can generate ideas to do that by engaging with stakeholders like customers and partners.

Where appropriate, extend your investigation to the general public and to parts of your supply chain. Ask what you can do better or do more of, both within your organization and externally. This way, innovation is not just bottom-up, but lateral.

It’s worth noting that innovation doesn’t need to be radical. Disruption is all good and well but it’s rare and it doesn’t account for the bread and butter of most successful companies. Simple ideas executed well are the intangibles that yield results. 

Looking at trends that can be leveraged to meet the needs of customers or to address their ethical concerns is a good place to start. How can you make your product as user-friendly as possible so that it becomes a preferred brand? How can your company become more friendly to the environment and consequently ensure its long term sustainability? 

More Customers and Brand Loyalty

Good ideas are often copied and pasted by other companies. But customers are astute. Don’t underestimate their ability to know and remember which company started a new phenomenon, or helped drive positive change in an industry. This knowledge can foster brand loyalty.

More importantly, innovation attracts new customers and creates better experiences for existing customers. Idea pipelines can help brands become top of mind, or elevate them to becoming part of a considered set of brands when customers require a particular product or service.

More Customers and Brand Loyalty

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