For today, tomorrow, next month, next quarter and beyond…the sales funnel is the start of the whole sales process.
Filling the sales funnel with good quality, highly qualified prospects on a regular basis, and pro-actively working the sales funnel should be a part of any sales persons activity…but rarely is this task given the priority it deserves.
When questioning over 100 sales people, it seems the main reason for this was that they could see no direct relationship between effort and reward (which is a major issue as this is typically how sales people are wired), instead prospecting in order to fill the sales funnel was seen to be a little too ‘random’ and ‘hit and miss’.
Interestingly, these are the last two phrases that should be applied to filling the sales pipeline. It is a scientific process.
When the sales teams were challenged about their inability to discuss how their Sales Funnel worked, I realised that they saw this activity as equating to a long run with no end – so understandably interest, engagement and commitment to the activity is minimal.
It may be wiser to look at this activity as a series of small sprints – where there is a direct relationship between the number of people prospected and the number of qualified leads obtained, that are progressed through each stage in the sales funnel – where the conversions are known, tried and tested at each stage.
Giving tested numbers/conversion rates at each stage of the sales funnel allows the sales person to take control of a very simple, but necessary process.
The numbers will be different for every company, and probably even for different sales people within each company. It probably matters less what the conversion rates are, but more that they are simply being measured, Improvement comes later.
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