The one big tool that helps sales representatives turn cold prospects into hot leads is the sales funnel. As a matter of fact, improving sales funnel efficiency is generally among the top priorities in order to boost sales performance. It makes sense because a great sales funnel gives salespeople an insight into their potential customer’s thought process, challenges, and decisions. However, a large number of companies have not identified or attempted to measure a sales funnel. Surveys have shown that most of the marketing leads are never converted into paying customers. It is certain that without solid sales funnel management, it is almost impossible to convert leads into sales efficiently and grow sales and revenue over time.
What is a sales funnel?
Broadly understood, a sales funnel is a visual representation of the journey from one’s prospect’s first contact with them until a completed purchase. It helps the sales team understand where they need to follow up or alter the sales process due to drop off in the funnel.
As the name suggests, a sales funnel is the widest at the top and the narrowest at its bottom. Each stage of the funnel pushes one’s most qualified prospects into the next stage and drops those that are not a fit for their offer.
A sales funnel is directly connected to the customer’s journey phases, which can be bifurcated into three parts: top, middle, and bottom.
This can translate into the sales funnel structure on one’s part as prospects going through Untouched > Contact made (Leads) > Qualified > Proposal presented > Negotiation > Won.
Top-performing sales representatives know the steps of their sales funnel inside out, from cold calling to finalizing the sale. There are two key reasons for this:
- They can address their customer’s key needs and deliver the right message at the right time, and
- They can scale their sales process, forecast their sales and revenue, and meet their goals.
In other words, a well-defined sales funnel improves the customer’s journey as well as company’s overall health.
Stages of a sales funnel
In order to fully answer “what is a sales funnel?” it is essential to review the different steps of the funnel. While each organization has its own way of managing the sales process and customer touchpoints towards a purchase, these are structured into three distinct stages:
- Top of the sales funnel, which is the stage of awareness and discovery
- Middle of the sales funnel, which is the stage of researching solutions, and
- Bottom of the sales funnel, where one makes an educated purchase decision
Take action with your sales funnel now!
With one’s potential customer’s pain points and questions in mind, one can really map out and implement a start-to-finish sales funnel by way of well-defined funnel management policy that will make them a more efficient sales person and allow them to make the most of their sales process and build lasting relationships with their future customers.