An Insider’s Guide to Sales Funnel Management

by | May 2, 2016 | Sales Strategy, Sales Tips

Unlike a real funnel, sales funnel management takes more than gravity to move leads. Defined stages and effective processes are required to push deals through. As a sales insider, I’ve encountered sales processes that work – and those that don’t. In this article, I’ll share my experience, offering tips on how to make your sales funnel management predictable and manageable.

For starters, your team needs to craft a funnel with defined stages and clarity on when a lead moves from one stage to the next.

Sample Funnel Stages

  • Potential – This stage is about asking questions. Identify influencers and potential champions, setting up meetings with each. At your meetings, provide a product overview and discover what the prospect has and what they need. It is NOT the time to do a sales pitch. Build a sense of understanding, emphasizing you are there to meet their needs.
  • Warm – Some leads may jump in here, bypassing potential. This is a critical stage, where you can lose a prospect. Provide a product demo, establish ROI, and share case studies, making the case for your company. Establish a timeline for next steps in the purchasing process. Continue to build a relationship with regular contact. Be genuine. Position yourself as a trusted partner with a high quality product, working towards their success.
  • Hot– This is when proposal and pricing come into play. Confirm with the prospect that you’re one of two or three final choices, firmly establishing yourself. Bring in the rest of your team, introducing decision makers and champions to your I.T., customer service, and project management team members. Confirm final pricing and timeline for coming back. You want to leave the prospect asking: how can we carry on without this product/service?
  • Commit – Don’t get too confident too soon. Despite the name of this phase, there is still work to be done before closing the deal. Commitment is established when there is a definite close window (i.e. 30 days). And once you close, you’ll need to continue to build the relationship, delivering on your promises and staying connected. New clients can easily turn into referrals, lifetime clients, and brand advocates.

A good looking funnel is just one part of the management puzzle.  The best performing sales funnels I’ve seen have:

Unity and clarity

Each member of your sales team should be able to define your funnel stages, and the steps to move a prospect from one to the next.

Differentiated content

Three out of four customers look for targeted content as part of the sales process.  They want a take-away that speaks to their needs.

Connection to marketing

According to Barney Cohen, President of Business 360 Northwest, “A well-run company would have a robust marketing department working side by side with the sales department.” The sales/marketing connection produces better-qualified leads and improves your content targeting.

The right questions

Especially in your beginning stages, the right questions can be the lynchpin in your forward motion. Focus on gathering information about who makes decisions and what your prospect is looking for (i.e. who is influenced by this service/product? Or why would you switch to a new provider?)

Know your stats

The best sales teams are on top of how they’re doing. This is best reflected in knowing your sales funnel numbers: close ratio, number of deals in each phase, average size of deal, and sales velocity, just to name a few.

…and how to improve them

Just knowing your numbers isn’t enough – your team needs to pay attention to whether or not they’re improving. If you’re not getting the results you’re looking for, switch things up. Add in new content. Take out or adjust steps. Rearrange your sales team. The dedication to continuous improvement is your most valuable asset.

It takes serious commitment to move from point A to B in your sales funnel. As you build experience and hone techniques the process will be easier to implement, but you will still need sales endurance to close the deal.

At NuGrowth Solutions, we are in the trenches with our clients and know the hard work required to make the sale. Help us help you: contact us for more great sales resources, tips, and training.

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Author: Kyle Tillar

Kyle Tillar works to ensure that clients’ target goals are reached and that the inside sales team is meeting objectives. Kyle is able to leverage his sales expertise and extensive training to help inside sales executives advance their career development and achieve client commitments.

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