Sales Pipeline Management- 7 Pro-Tips for Sales Leaders

Sales Pipeline Management

Sales Pipeline Management- 7 Pro-Tips for Sales Leaders

In the wise words of W. Edwards Deming, “If you can’t describe what you are doing as a process, you don’t know what you’re doing.” More often than not, you’d find this quote often being shared with sales teams. In the hustle and bustle of meeting targets and getting conversions, sales professionals often don’t keep processes high on their priority list.

As a result, when each salesperson on your team is getting work done in their own way, chaos takes over in terms of managing the sales pipeline. There’d be days when your sales pipeline is overflowing with leads and your sales team is overwhelmed and there’d be days where there’s a shortage of people to reach out to. Not just that, in most likelihood, several quality leads might go unnoticed because of your messy sales pipeline.

That’s why you need a well-defined sales pipeline management process in place to make sure there are no missed opportunities and lost prospects. While you could also leave the pipeline management to an efficient sales management software, there is some nitty-gritty that you too need to take care of.

In this article, we’ll talk about some best practices that you could follow to manage your sales pipeline better. However, before we go down that road, do know that sales pipeline management is not the same as sales funnel management.

sales funnel and sales pipeline

Source:  Engage Bay

Even though some of these tips would definitely help you strengthen your sales funnel, we’ll try to focus more on how you can maintain a free-flowing sales pipeline.

Sales Pipeline Management- Best Practices and Tips

Tip 1: Well-Qualified is Half Done

A common blunder most teams make in pipeline management is that they get their sales team busy a little too early in the process. Most of the time, they’re caught sharing information about the brand and informing the leads, nurturing them instead of actually nudging them towards conversion.

A lead should be handed over to the sales team, only after it has been qualified by the marketing folks. Your marketing team should not only collect relevant information about the lead but also share content about the brand so as to inform the prospect about what’s in store for them. The interested folks who are in the consideration stage of the sales process can then be dealt with by the sales team to close. That way, you not only reduce the pressure on the sales pipeline but also ensure that your sales team is able to communicate well and prioritize the leads based on their qualification. In fact, 60% of the prospects prefer being contacted by a salesperson in the consideration stage where they’ve already researched their options and are analyzing a shortlist of choices.

Qualifying leads is a part of the sales funnel management process where you place your leads in the funnel based on how close they’re to conversion and their persona. We’ve discussed it in detail here.

Tip 2: No one likes a Bumpy Road

Imagine you’re trying to buy a product online and you are asked to share the product with 5 friends before you can add it to your cart? Not just that, you also have to follow the brand on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter before you can purchase the product. With so many unnecessary steps involved in the process, you’d probably opt-out and not purchase the product.

When you’re setting up different communication content that you’d use to convince your leads to become your paying customers, you also have to keep in mind the channels. If you can gather a piece of information over email, or club two emails in one, do that. Don’t use calls for every communication. This not only keeps your sales team occupied but also perturbs the lead.

sales pipeline management

©Seth Phillips/Dude With Sign

Avoid any unnecessary steps and hurdles in the process and keep your sales flow as clean as possible.

Tip 3: Where do I Pay

The Worldpay Global Payments Report states that the preferred payment method of global online shoppers is eWallets with 36% of them preferring it. Credit cards (23%) and debit cards (12%) come next on the preference list. At present, every business is moving towards digital transactions.

However, most businesses set up payment options that suit their needs and convenience oblivious to the preferred payment mode of their customers leading to cart abandonment in e-commerce or spoilt customer experience for B2B businesses.

While it is good to keep payment options that you can monitor and use easily, your priority should be the convenience of the customers. The more conveniently a customer can pay, the better chances are that they’d complete the transaction instead of getting flustered and moving elsewhere.

At the same time, it is equally important for you to ensure that the mode of payment has fewer chances of failure or downtime. It is okay to avoid a payment mode or disable it temporarily if it is experiencing a lot of failures. Businesses also now add a pop-up to inform their user that a particular payment mode is experiencing a lot of failures and recommend users to choose an alternate option.

Tip 4: Be the Remedy

You’d probably have come across Seth Godin’s famous saying, “Don’t find customers for your products, find products for your customers.” Well, that should be the motto of any salesperson when dealing with the leads in your sales pipeline. Every customer has a different pain-point, a different concern, you’ve got to talk about their language and present your brand as a solution.

quote by seth godin

Source:  Fit Small Business

Not just with respect to leads, when it comes to the stages of your sales pipeline, you’ve got to offer a different remedy at each stage. A person in the prospecting stage just wants information, while one at the closing stage needs qualifying reasons to choose your brand. So, prepare and plan communication such that you deliver the right ‘talk’ at each stage.

Tip 5: Don’t give up on Follow-ups

Here are a few data points for you:

Do you see the disparity between the first two points and the third one? When it comes to sales pipeline management, salespeople feel that moving leads quickly into the dead or no-response list keeps the pipeline clean. However, the truth is, you are merely adding more leads to the pipe without actually working through with the leads that you’ve already got.

With the right amount of follow-ups and perseverance, a significant share of your unresponsive or cold leads might warm-up. The shortcoming, however, is that most sales pipelines only include one round of follow-ups. Once there’s no response, those leads are completely forgotten, when in fact, they need about 3-4 more follow-up touchpoints to get interested in your offering. Effective pipeline management is not just about moving new leads through the sales process but also managing leads that are already in the pipeline through regular follow-ups.

Tip 6: Prioritize and Deprioritize

A crucial part of pipeline management is picking your battles. You’ve got to put your best foot forward with high-value, most sales-ready leads and let go of the ones that are clearly uninterested in your brand.

Prioritizing leads means choosing the ones that would push the needle for your business over those which are highly unlikely to convert. While all salespeople take pride in cracking a difficult customer and converting a cold lead, such leads should not be prioritized over the ones that are interested and can bring in revenue. After all, as much as we like it, sales are not about romanticizing struggles, it’s about churning customers quickly, and that should be the focus.

sales opportunities

Source:  Manage Your Leads

A part of deprioritizing is also to let go completely of dead leads. While we emphasize the need for follow-ups, there’s no use in watering dead plants, right? If a lead has clearly stated that they’re not interested even after multiple calls, let go. You don’t want to spend time, energy, and efforts sowing life into leads that will never buy from you.

Tip 7: Make Documentation a Habit

The biggest challenge about managing a sales pipeline is that it is constantly evolving. There are new leads flooding in, and leads moving from one stage to another. If you want to prevent your pipeline from getting messy and confusing, you’ve got to document everything. Every touchpoint, every conversation, and every communication needs to be recorded.

While you can easily invest in sales management software, cultivating a habit of immediately recording the updates from a call, and moving leads from one stage to another takes time and effort. You’ve got to constantly remind salespeople to update the CRM or the tool you’re using as soon as a call is over or communication is made. Only then can you keep your entire team on the same page and avoid any unwanted or repetitive communication to the same lead.

Why Should You Care?

To conclude this, we’d just like to bring forth why it is important to manage your sales pipeline well. The answer is simple–revenue growth. An HBR study revealed that there was an 18% revenue growth difference between companies with an established sales process and pipeline and those without.

Sales pipeline management is often taken for granted and left to the sales folks to handle on their own. If only the leaders take out some time to standardize the process, businesses can achieve tremendous growth.

How To Build A Foolproof Sales Funnel That Actually Works?

building sales funnel

How To Build A Foolproof Sales Funnel That Actually Works?

One word that you’d find in any conversation with a salesperson or a marketer is ‘funnel’. While every marketing and sales professional understands that their sales process needs a funnel, only a few are able to build a successful sales funnel. More often than not, people are unable to put in the right time, effort, and most importantly, research needed to build the funnel. As a result, they end up with a funnel that may meet all the theoretical requirements but is rarely effective.

We’ve already covered the basics of sales funnel management and its stages in one of the earlier articles. So, we’d get straight to the point here and talk about how you can build a sales funnel for your business.

Steps to build a successful sales funnel

An effective sales funnel can be built in 6 key steps. However, note that these steps may overlap at times as sales is an ongoing and cyclical process. Let’s dive deeper into what these steps are to understand this better.

Step 1: Know your audience

Often overlooked, any sales funnel begins with an understanding of the audience you want to target. One of the major reasons why most marketing leads don’t convert to sales is because the leads don’t match the target audience. As a result, they are not relevant for the salespeople to pursue. A fallout of this is that your sales team spends a major part of their team sorting out the suitable leads from the bogus ones.

Their work becomes a little easier if they have a clear description of the audience. They know the demographics of the audience enough to separate out the irrelevant ones from the basic information provided by them, instead of spending hours on calls to know if they’re a prospect to pursue.

Target audience

Source: BKA Content

Researching about your audience also helps you understand their pain points, their interests, and expectations. Using such information, you are able to find the right channels to reach them and the right position for your business.

Step 2: Organize leads entering the funnel

Once you know your audience, you need to categorize them into buyer personas. For instance, if your product is a kids learning tool, your audience is not only the child but also their parents, as they are the final decision-makers. That being said, you can’t target both of them with the same message, right?

While the kid needs to know that your tool is fun and exciting for them, the parents need to understand that the tool would help their child learn and grow. This is where you divide your audience and target them accordingly.

Similarly, in a business, you build your personas based on the designation of the person, their job role, the business function they work in. Based on that, you can mark and assign your leads better. For instance, a founder could be engaged by a sales leader for a business decision. A junior HR could be targeted by any sales team member.

Building a buyers persona

Source: Hubspot

Step 3: Qualify leads in the funnel

Once you’ve your personas figured out, you can qualify your leads based on different factors like relevance, likelihood to convert, behavior. This is where you use a lead scoring system. This is the process of ranking your leads depending on how valuable they are to the business. The higher the score, the more their value.

Ideally, you need to divide leads into hot, warm, and cold and then match them to different buyer personas. The more relevant personas would get a higher score.

Let’s break it down for you. Hot, warm, and cold leads come under behavioral scoring that lets to put leads into the top, middle, and bottom of the funnel. Hot leads are the ones that are eagerly looking to purchase what you offer and know about your business, so they come at the bottom of the funnel. A warm lead knows about you but is not as eager to purchase, hence, they’re somewhere in the middle of the funnel. Lastly, a cold lead is completely uninterested in purchasing at the moment and barely knows about you, so they are at the top of your funnel. So, a hot lead would have a higher value than a cold one as they need to be engaged soon to convert. However, it gets tricky once your buyer personas come into the picture.

Here you take into account their demographics, behavior, etc. For instance, if you’re trying to sell a sourcing tool, here’s how the scores would play out. A director or a VP from the company would have a higher value than a manager or entry-level professional. More importantly, the Director of Procurement or Sourcing would get a higher value than the VP of Marketing as they’re more relevant to your product. Here’s how a lead scoring system would look like:

Lead Score system

Source: Out Funnel

Even though a seasoned sales professional would be able to gauge this value by looking at the lead’s information, it is a rather challenging task for most sales team folks. They’ve got to consider which factors to include in the score, how many points to allot to each factor, and then work on all possible permutations and combinations to assign an apt score for each persona.

This is where a sales funnel management software or a CRM could really come to your business’ rescue. They’ve got templates and automated tools to help you set up an efficient scoring system quickly and easily.

Step 4: Engage leads through the right channels and message

A study revealed that online leads are nine times more likely to convert if you follow-up with them within 5 minutes after they make contact. This means if someone lands on your website and fills in a simple form, if you’re able to reach them out within 5 minutes, you shoot up your chances of getting a new customer.

However, practically, you’ve got to have a massive sales team to be able to call up each person that fills any and every online form or lead generation data. Also, this would not be the optimum utilization of your sales team’s time and efforts. Instead, once you get a lead, you organize and qualify them with a score, and based on the score, you decide whether to call them or not. This way, you filter a large chunk and focus your sales team’s efforts on the most adequate leads.

This, however, does not mean that you don’t engage with the rest of the leads. You just engage with them differently. Your sales team immediately engages with the high-value leads through a call, you send an automated email to others, or engage them through relevant social media campaigns depending on their score and persona.

Step 5: Automatically move leads down the funnel

Every time you make a contact with a lead, their relationship with the brand changes. A simple social media ad that a lead engages with leads to awareness, an action on an email shows interest and a detailed call with a sales rep can reflect a decision. You not only have to engage actively with a lead through the funnel, but you also need to tag them based on the stage they’re at in the funnel.

Your funnel should be designed such that each and every touchpoint helps you move the lead down the funnel automatically. This means tracking every communication and contact made with the lead so that if another salesperson looks at it, they’re able to make relevant communication instead of repeating what’s already been shared. The key is to plan your funnel communication such that every effort pushes the lead to the next stage, from awareness to interest, to decision, and finally towards action.

Step 6: Nurture leads in the funnel

While in the previous step you actively push the leads down the funnel, what happens to those leads who don’t engage or want to convert immediately? Do you let them go? Not really. You nurture those leads with informative content, that keeps your brand fresh in their minds. That way, as and when they do get interested, they consider you over your competition.

Lead nurturing

Source: Gist

Why is this needed, you may ask? Just because a lead is not engaging or converting presently, doesn’t mean that they’d never want to become your customer. Maybe they’d reconsider over time, or they would have a demand later. For instance, if you’re an insurance company and you get a lead. By the time your sales rep contacts them, they’ve already bought another policy. So, do you delete that lead forever? No, they’d need a renewal next year, right? That’d be the time for you to make a move. So, for such leads, you create engaging blog posts, videos, and social media posts to keep them aware of your brand. Always keep in mind that once you’re out of sight, you’re out of mind. Hence, it’s imperative to regularly jog your lead’s memory.

In the end

There’s no denying the fact that building a sales funnel is not everyone’s cup of tea. In fact, only a small group is able to get it right. The key is to deal with each lead strategically. In the present times, sales are more about smart work than hard work.

Your best aid in the process can be a sales funnel management software or CRM. They’ve got a lot of automation to help you carry out most of these steps smoothly with the least effort so that your team can focus more on strategic actions than rigorous tagging and scoring. If you’re planning to invest in funnel management software, then we’ve combined a list of features to look for, and the best funnel management software out there.

Sales Funnel Management Software for 2021- How to Make the Right Choice

Sales Funnel Management Software for 2021- How to Make the Right Choice

Automation–you probably come across this word quite often in the present times. From the coffee maker that now can automatically make your favorite brew at your command, to Tesla’s self-driven cars, automation is everywhere. Including sales and marketing.

We recently covered all about sales funnel management and why it matters. However, while you could create an amazing sales funnel for your business, you’d need automation to make it work better and actually get results. In fact, according to an Adsetra report, level players from different companies found that automation saves time (74%), increases customer engagement (68%), ensures timely communications (58%), and increases opportunities including up-selling (58%).

Needless to say, automating your sales funnel management, goes a long way in boosting your growth. A sales funnel management software is what you need to get there.

What is a sales funnel management software?

A sales funnel management software or sales funnel software essentially is a tool that provides you with features to automate and create collaterals that you’d need in your sales funnel. These could include landing pages, follow-up emails, and payment gateways. Not just that, it also provides you with an end-to-end overview of your sales funnel.

More often than not, softwares are considered as a replacement for human effort and the value they bring. That’s not actually the case, though. Using sales funnel software does not take away the need of a marketer or a salesperson from the funnel. It just enables them to do their job better. For instance, if your sales funnel is a car that needs to be fixed, then the software becomes the tools you’d use as a mechanic to fix it. The tools don’t replace the mechanic, do they?

Sales automation quotes

Source: Sales Flare

Another thing to note is that companies often use a Customer Relationship Management Software (CRM) for sales funnel management, as it has all the tools and features they need to convert leads into paying customers and are more holistic in nature. More often than not, you’d find a CRM and Sales Funnel Software being used interchangeably.

Now that we’re clear that sales funnel software is an aid to the sales team and you are keen on investing in one, the bigger elephant in the room is, which software to choose. Before we answer that for you, here are some common features that any software you choose must have to make it worth your dime.

Must-Have Features of a Sales Funnel Software

Lead Management Capabilities

A sales funnel software or a CRM must help you collect, store and manage leads so that they can be moved and nurtured through the sales funnel. This translates to capabilities of generation campaign landing pages, and forms that automatically collect lead information to add to the system.

Once the lead data is stored, the software must assist you in scoring the lead based on how quickly they need to be contacted and then assigning it to a relevant salesperson to take ahead. Your sales funnel management software should help you track all your leads at all times so that no one gets missed out and they’re engaged in a timely and organized fashion.

Real-Time Tracking and Analysis

Along with tracking your leads, you need a lot of information regarding your sales funnel to improve it. With real-time tracking and auto-generated reports, you get to know which sales channel is working the best, which team member needs help in conversion, how close you are to your monthly, quarterly, and yearly goal, and much more.

This enables you to deploy corrective measures wherever necessary. For instance, if you see that leads from a particular city are converting actively, you’d engage them faster and get more customers.

 

Integrations

Real-Time Tracking and Analysis

Source: FreePik

In the present times, none of your business functions can work in isolation, so you’d want your CRM or sales funnel software to have as many integrations to your existing business tools as possible to help get work done faster and in a more hassle-free manner. For instance, the tool should integrate with social media and advertising channels so that you don’t have to add leads generated there manually.

Similarly, it should integrate with some sort of calendaring tool so that your sales team can easily scheduling meetings with different leads without any overlap. The list of the number of integrations is endless. The key is to find a tool that integrates well with your existing software palette.

Email Automation

It’s no news that almost 90% of sales and marketing people prefer to communicate with leads using email as they reach the target directly. So, you need a tool to automate the emails that are sent out to make their work easier. While you could always go for a tool that integrates with your email marketing tool, you’d find that follow-up emails and nurture campaigns for leads are often built well, if that happens on the same tool. You’re able to plan your sales funnel and add necessary automated emails at each step more holistically.

In fact, email automation becomes one of the most crucial features of the sales funnel as it lets you build a pipeline where

Email Automation

Source: Mail Munch

you can manage to convert a lead without much human involvement. It not only lets you set an email trigger to a classified lead but also ensures that it’s sent at the time you decide. That way, even if your sales team is caught up, your communication bridge with the lead is maintained.

Intuitive Interface

Keep in mind that the tool you’d invest in would be used by all your sales team members. In fact, if you choose a comprehensive tool like a CRM, then your marketing, sales, and customer team would need to use the tool at some point in the customer journey.

The goal of the sales funnel software here is to enable your sales team, right? So, the tool must be easy enough for them to set up and use. It should not become an added hassle that they have to deal with while trying to convert your leads into paying customers.

You’d find that most CRM or sales funnel management softwares come with a trial version for you to explore before making the purchase. If not, there’s definitely a demo shared. Always make some of your sales team members experience the trial or the demo version before going for a software, as they are the ones who have to use it at the end of the day.

How to Make the Right Choice– A Checklist

Keeping the above features in mind, here’s a checklist we’ve made that you can use while finding the right sales funnel software for your business:

 

  • Matches all your business requirements in terms of sales.
  • Integrates with several existing tools you need.
  • Has features that allow process automation as you scale.
  • Is mobile-friendly.
  • Your sales team likes the demo/trial version.

We’ll go a step further and help you with the top 4 sales funnel management software for 2021 that you can choose from as per your business needs.

4 Best Sales Funnel Software Tools for 2021

Hubspot Growth Platform

Hubspot Growth Platform has a comprehensive set of tools that your marketing, sales, services, and customers team can use throughout a customer’s journey. From lead generation to conversion to thereafter, the platform has tools that will cover and automate the process.

The good thing here is that it also allows you to choose parts of the platforms depending on your needs. You could choose the marketing plan, or the CRM sales plan or the services plan in isolation or purchase the whole set.

In addition to this, it has a free version with restricted features for each of these tools that you can use to explore the platform before making a decision.

Hubspot growth platform

Source: Hubspot

Systeme.io

Syteme.io is a great choice for companies who’re starting out their online sales management. You may be a big corp or a startup, if you’re looking for an affordable tool to start your sales through online channels, Systeme.io is a good catch.

While it has several features like business automation, autoresponders, your sales team would need their sales funnel builder that lets you create funnel and landing pages almost instantly. You can set up automated emails, and campaigns on it too.

Systeme.io

Source: Systeme.io

Copper

Copper is the best choice to go for if you’re using the G-Suite for your business. It’s only the CRM that offers a complete G-Suite integration. Not just that, it is completely comprehensive in its features and integrates with most of the common business tools like Slack and Zendesk.

It has lead management, sales tracking, sales funnel automation, and whatnot. In fact, it also has great predictive analysis features that let you forecast your sales and manage opportunities well.

copper software

Source: Copper

ClickFunnels

ClickFunnels is for the ones who like to keep things simple. It’s known in the market as one of the easiest sales funnel software tools to work with. It’s got the email and social media automation, along with an easy landing page creator too.

Though what stands out about ClickFunnels is the upselling tool that lets you automatically upsell to any shopper who’s bought something from your website earlier, making it a great choice for e-commerce businesses.

clicksfunnel software

Source: ClickFunnels

To Sum Up

There are plenty of sales funnel management tools and CRM software to help you enable your sales team. Our aim here is to help you make an informed decision by highlighting features to look for and some of the tools that stood out to us.

As long as you keep your sales team in the loop and make a choice that works for them while keeping in mind the essentials, your decision would definitely be correct. Just don’t forget to try before you buy!

Beginning With The Basics: Introduction To Sales Funnel Management

Sales Funnel Management

Beginning With The Basics: Introduction To Sales Funnel Management

Your marketing team burns the midnight oil to come up with engaging campaigns and attract your target audience to get you prospects that are interested in your brand through lead generation. That’s where your marketing team’s toil ends and your sales team takes over.

What happens next? Your sales team engages with the prospects and you get a new customer. Wish it was that easy! In fact, according to Salesforce, a shocking 79% of the marketing leads never turn into sales. That means out of every 10 leads you generate, merely 2 of them are likely to become your customers.

Where’s the gap, you may ask? It is the lack of a well-thought-out sales funnel. In this article, we’ll introduce you to the world of sales funnel management beginning with what a sales funnel actually is.

What is a Sales Funnel and Sales Funnel Management?

A quick and dirty version would be that a sales funnel is the journey your prospect takes to convert into a paying customer. Essentially, a sales funnel identifies how close a lead is getting towards a purchase depending on their interaction with the brand. More often than not, it is just a visual representation of the interested target’s journey through the sales pipeline (we’ll cover this in a bit!). Since, during the course of the journey, many of the leads drop out, and only the interested ones move ahead, the funnel, too, gets narrower.

You probably would have put two and two together by now to know what Sales Funnel Management is. You are right. It is the process of overseeing the prospects’ journey through the sales funnel.

Sales Funnel Management

Source: Clodura.ai

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of Sales Funnel Management, let us tell you why you should give a hoot about it in the first place.

Why Sales Funnel Management Matters?

More often than not, we get so focused on the goal that we forget to look at the journey. While it’s clear that you want your lead to convert into a customer, shooting arrows in the dark with no direction to it, might not get you the desired results. A Sales Funnel becomes the pathway you need to follow to get your leads to conversion, in a more organized fashion. There are four reasons why sales funnel management makes a huge difference to your business.

1. Focused Efforts

Depending on the stage of the funnel where your leads or prospects are, you can focus your efforts to push them towards the goal. If you don’t know where the loose ends lie, you’d be busy spending time and money on the stage which doesn’t really need that input.

3. Easy filtering

Once you have a streamlined way of knowing about your leads and their behavior journey, you are also able to identify leads that are cold or irrelevant. You’re able to filter out the window shoppers from those who actually want to buy what you offer. Then, you can devote your resources to the ones who matter.

2. Better strategy

Gone are the days where you could go for a one-size-fits-all strategy for all your leads and expect them to convert. Depending on how far a prospect is in their journey, you get to prepare a marketing strategy that caters to that section. That way, you’re more likely to see progress.

4. Accurate forecasting

When you know how many leads are closer to conversion than those who’re not, you are able to accurately predict your sales for the month, quarter, and even the year. With that clarity, you’re able to allot budgets more efficaciously.

The next question to get to is that how does the sales funnel manage to do all that we just stated. The answer is simple–by dividing the journey into stages. Let’s see what these stages are.

Stages of the Sales Funnel

Depending on the level of engagement a person has with your brand, the stages of the sales funnel are defined. They are four in total.

Stage 1: Awareness

Any lead at this stage knows that you exist. They have some cognition about your business and what you offer. That’s about it. Since this stage includes anyone and everyone who has remotely heard of your business, this is a pretty wide bucket.

When you’ve got a bunch of leads in this bucket, there are two major actions that you have to take. First of all, you need to analyze the channel through which these people are getting to know your company. Is it Google search or social media? Depending on what’s working, you need to pump in more time, effort, and money to attract more people into this bucket. You need to ensure that this bucket is always filled with targets.

Secondly, you need to focus on getting these targets further on the sales funnel journey. To do so, you need to send out

Stages of the Sales Funnel

Source: MailMunch

communication and informational content to know if they’re interested to know more about your offering.

Stage 2: Interest

Your task at this stage is to figure out what these people seek. When a person shows interest in a brand or offering, they’re basically trying to find a solution to one of their pain points. If you’re able to pitch yourself as a solution to that pain point, your prospect would move ahead in the funnel journey.

At this stage, sharing information like your customer testimonials and data to support how your brand provides a certain solution could get your prospect closer to conversion.

Stage 3: Decision

At this stage, your customer has decided to purchase but they just want to make an informed and accurate decision. This is where you need to support them with all the required information about your offering.

This is a crucial phase for your business. The customer is high intent–they’re requesting you for quotes and questioning you about terms and conditions. So, you know they want to make the purchase. But they’ve not decided whether to go for you or for one of your competitors. They’re weighing in all of their options and looking for a solution that gives them the most benefit at the least price.

Here you offer instant purchase discounts or highlight your USPs that your competitors may not be able to offer.

Stage 4: Action

At this stage, your prospect has made the decision to become your customer and is ready to make a purchase. However, that does not mean your work is over. In fact, you need to be there to ensure that their purchase experience is smooth.

Not just that, you need to continuously nurture your relationship with the customer to ensure they stick with you. They need to feel valued and heard. Lest you’d lose the customer much faster than you got it.

That’s how your prospect moves through the sales funnel. Having said that, how does your action change with the progress of your prospect? That’s where the sales pipeline comes into the picture.

Sales Pipeline and its Stages

A sales pipeline has 6 stages:

 

  • Prospecting: You find prospects and generate leads.
  • Qualification: You qualify leads to filter out the ones who’re interested in your offering.
  • Proposal: You make them an offer to become a paying customer.
  • Negotiation: You deliberate with them to close the deal.
  • Closing: You get them to make a purchase.
  • Retention: You continue to provide support and value to retain them.
Sales Pipeline and its Stages

Source: Clodura.ai

Bring it all together

Both sales funnel and sales pipeline have their own part to play in aiding your conversions. While one tracks your prospect’s actions, the other monitor your efforts. However, both of them are interlinked. Through prospecting, you get targets into the awareness stage. Then, you qualify them based on their interest in the brand. After that, you extend a proposal and negotiate on it in the decision stage. Finally, you close the deal and focus on retention when they’re in the action stage.

Sales Funnel Management

Source: ActiveCampaign

It all boils down to how well you’re able to communicate with them and handle them at each of the funnel stages–only that takes you closer to the conversions. All in all, you need to spend some time and set up your sales pipeline as well as a sales funnel to ensure that your efforts don’t go in vain.