A common visual used by salespeople is the “funnel”. Simply put, this sales funnel helps determine how many leads you need to generate through marketing, networking and other prospecting activities, to eventually have the desired number of buyers actually make purchases. A larger number of leads enter at the top of the funnel, some of them fall out at each stage of the sale process, and a smaller number of paying customers come out of the bottom.
There are three major advantages to having a well-designed sales funnel:
1. It helps to identify the amount of marketing you need to do to have the inputs – leads, required to achieve the desired outputs – paying customers. How successful do you expect yourself to be at moving buyers:
- from one level to another
- from suspects to leads from leads to opportunities (proposals)
- from opportunities to actual revenue? Where do you suspect the most people will drop-off?
There are various additional stages and terms that could be used for your specific sales funnel – sales books and website are a great source of sample sales funnels.
2. It allows you to take control of your own sales processes. Clients typically want the seller to be the expert in delivering the product or service; you have the opportunity to guide them through the sales funnel. What action do you want the buyer to take? What can you say or do to advance the buyer through the stages? What materials do you need to support your sales calls?
3. It allows you to evaluate marketing tactics and messages from one campaign to another to decide which ones were effective and should be continued, and which should be abandoned or improved. When you successfully close a sale, there is an important opportunity to look back through the path you took to get through the phases. Analyze what you did at each step of the process that could have made the difference between a win and a loss.
Small businesses typically have only a limited about of time, energy and money to devote to marketing and sales efforts. The purpose of any planning, research or evaluation exercise is to come to one of three decisions:
- to continue
- to change or
- to stop what you are doing.
A well planned sales process will allow you to focus that precious time, energy and money only on the most effective tactics, messages, and campaigns.
Did you know? You can access knowledgeable business consultants at your library! Business consultants will be available at the Georgetown Branch and Milton Library to meet with you. In partnership with Halton Hills Public Library and Milton Public Library, Halton’s Small Business Centre is offering a new program for business owners and entrepreneurs. Learn more.