Posted by Nick in Sales Training To Improve Sales Results | 0 Comments
Advice On How To Manage A Sales Funnel
By, Nick Moreno
You can tell a lot about a salesperson by understanding how they manage their sales funnel. We strive to generate a steady stream of prospects that eventually become clients. This sounds easy but it’s not easy. I have some advice for you on how to successfully manage a sales funnel.
Sales funnels were once called “sales pipelines”. Someone decided that “pipeline” wasn’t appropriate because you put more prospects in than you get out in the form of clients. Funnels are larger at the top and smaller at the bottom, so “funnel” was adopted as the standard. I wonder how much money the “funnel” consultant made with this concept? I have a funnel and everything I pour in it eventually comes out of the other end. In any event, “sales funnel” is now accepted as the standard term for describing, a sales pipeline.
Sales funnels track prospects as they travel through the sales process. Some never make it through the entire sales process and that number is used to calculate a “close rate”. All this is very basic but here is where it gets complicated.
How To Properly Manage A Sales Funnel
Too many sales funnels are packed with prospects that go nowhere. These prospects just linger in the sales funnel for months or even quarters.
Here is the dilemma. Sales Managers demand that every rep maintain large and robust sales funnels so salespeople are reluctant to remove “dead” prospects from their sales funnel. I guess they manage their sales funnels with the “hope” that some of these “dead” prospects will get resuscitated some day. That’s no way to successfully manage a sales funnel because there is no room for the word “hope” in business.
How To Successfully Manage A Sales Funnel
The only way to successfully manage a sales funnel is by staying honest about the quality of the prospects in the sales funnel. The only way to get that honesty is by focusing on the “close rate”. Numbers lie and this is very evident in sales funnels that are not properly managed.
Joe’s Sales Manager compliments him on the size of his sales funnel. In fact, Joe is considered the model for excellence when it comes to building a large sales funnel. His numbers look great but only on reports. Mary, on the other hand, maintains a lean sales funnel but Mary always closes more sales than Joe at the end of the month. The Sales Manager should be complimenting Mary for being the model for excellence as it relates to sales funnel management. Obviously, Mary only works with qualified prospects that can and will buy from her.
Manage A Sales Funnel With An Eye On Closing
Manage sales funnels with an eye on quality and not quantity. What good is a sales funnel packed with unqualified prospects that will never buy anything. Manage sales funnels by focusing on “close rates”. Manage sales funnels by cleaning them up and removing all those “dead” prospects.
The Real Problem About Sales Funnels And Managing Them
In the final analysis, sales reps that are not properly managing their sales funnels are also poor sales forecasters. If you manage your sales funnel on hope, you’ll manage your sales forecast on hope and that can only lead to a train wreck.
The problem with these sales reps has nothing to do with their funnel management or forecasting skills. Those are just symptoms of a much larger and more serious problem. The problem is with their sales prospecting skills. These salespeople are simply not generating enough qualified prospects. Improve their sales prospecting skills and suddenly “hope” is removed from the equation.
Prospecting Video To Help You Manage Your Sales Funnel
You may also download our free sales tracking tool to help you better manage your sales funnel.
To your sales success!
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