Sales Funnel Development: Thinking With a Sales Pipeline
Sometimes it’s helpful to visualize the sales process: a sales funnel and a sales pipeline are two visualization strategies to help you understand how clients move through your sales procedure. After all, with so many steps to keep track of, it’s useful to have a metric to categorize where each prospect is within the sales process.
Using sales funnels and sales pipelines is a great way to organize your sales team and to gain perspective on the overall sales health of your company. In order to develop your sales funnel, it’s important to understand the component parts that create a successful strategy.
Not sure where to start? Here are some suggestions for refining your sales pipeline and creating a comprehensive start-to-finish system.
What is a Sales Funnel?
First things first, let’s define the term “sales funnel.” Think of a sales funnel as an illustration of client relationships. Just like a funnel you use in the kitchen, the sales funnel illustrates the concept that you start with a large number of prospects, and as they move through your sales process (i.e. pipeline), the range of clients narrows. In other words, “a sales funnel represents the quantity and conversion rates of prospects through your pipeline stages. It’s called a “funnel” because of its shape: wide at the top as prospects enter, then increasingly narrow as they are disqualified or decide not to buy” (nutshell.com).
Your sales funnel is a summarization of the quantity of clients that move through your sales process. In order to develop and optimize your sales funnel, you need to start thinking about your sales pipeline, and the path your reps take to close a sale.
What is a Sales Pipeline?
A sales pipeline is a set of steps your sales reps follow to close a sale. Think of the pipeline as a more granular version of the sales funnel: “a sales pipeline is an organized, visual way of tracking multiple potential buyers as they progress through different stages in the purchasing process” (pipedrive.com).
Setting up a successful pipeline entails understanding your sales goals, identifying your target audience, and selecting strategies to gain new clients.
Components of a Successful Sales Funnel or Pipeline
It’s time to organize your sales pipeline! Remember that designing a pipeline is about organizing separate sales components, which means identifying a timeline that works for your sales team: “Understanding these benchmarks will help when forecasting which deals are most likely to close, as well as picking out prospects that could use some more attention” (learn.g2.com). According to Pipe Drive, here are a few basic steps to consider as you create your sales pipeline.
Start with identifying your target audience and creating a list of prospective clients to pursue. Remember that “every organization prospects differently, depending on its clients, products and the structure of its organization” (pipedrive.com). There are numerous ways to identify potential clients, whether you utilize cold calling strategies, work with a lead generation service, or assemble a team of sales development reps.
There are many reasons to favor qualified leads over unqualified leads. Qualified leads have shown previous interest in your product, and will therefore be more likely to follow through with a sale. To qualify a lead, determine whether or not your product is the right fit for the client, whether they have actual use for the product, and whether they show genuine interest in pursuing a sales relationship.
Build a Relationship with Prospects
The current market is more focused on long-term buyer relationships rather than aggressive, deal-based sales strategies. With this in mind, it’s a great idea to foster personal relationships with your prospective clients. By sharing educational resources over time, maintaining an open line of communication, and following up regularly, you’ll be more likely to maintain stronger customer loyalty and gain long-term profits.
Close with Ease
Once qualified prospects have decided to invest in your product, it’s time for your reps to close the deal. Be ready to negotiate with the client, and outline a list of expectations ahead of time. Hopefully, everything will run smoothly and it will be easy as pie!
If a client seems hesitant, be prepared to let go of a deal, “if someone loses interest, don’t run after them” (learn.g2.com). Use your time and effort pursuing leads who express consistent interest.
Maintain Your Sales Funnel
To get started accumulating prospects, consider employing a lead generation service like LeadJen. LeadJen assists businesses in assembling a list of qualified leads that are handpicked to fit their customer base. With month-to-month payment options and full or part-time SDR services, it’s easy to fit LeadJen into you budget.
Remember that your sales funnel will need periodic maintenance. Keep reviewing the various components of your pipeline to make sure that each one is working for you. Over time, your new sales pipeline will become the backbone of your sales strategy, and you’ll be primed to continue expanding your company’s prospects.