Funnel steps, how to manage? Tips, Strategies and more!
The stages of the sales funnel are strategic and need to be focused on, with each contact, generating value for the customer. Assembling them well and, more than that, managing them with a focus on your customer is strategic for your company to sell more, better and, of course, grow every day. A complete and effective sales pipeline simplifies your entire business process. And, more than that, it allows your team to visualize where all the potential customers are during the purchase process. Therefore, keeping it healthy and controlled, of course, will speed up your sales and, consequently, your revenue results. Think about this: If it takes 3 weeks for a particular contact to reach your pipeline – instead of 4 – you will have closed, at the end of any period, 33% more sales. So the key is: Build funnel steps smartly and manage consistently and mindfully. While there are quirks in each company, in this article, we’ll cover the basics of how to manage the funnel steps and how you can be strategic in increasing your sales. Let’s check it out? Good reading!
Understanding the pipeline and funnel steps
First of all, let’s get back to basics. What is a sales funnel, or sales pipeline? Well, this is nothing more than the sequence of steps by which you lead a prospect from the beginning to the end of a sale. And the pipeline helps you visualize where your prospects are throughout this sales process, increasing control over the customer journey.
A good pipeline with well-assembled funnel steps helps to identify, for example, which stages need the most attention. This is so that your sales team can focus on improving them, thus increasing the conversion rate step by step. A good pipeline, by the way, also helps you find the so-called predictable revenue, something essential to have security and assertiveness in managing a company. In this way, you can also see which steps of the funnel you are more assertive in and how long it takes to move from one to the other.
What are the steps in the funnel and how to generate value for the customer?
A pipeline helps your sales team identify which stages need more attention. But to better understand this, we need to talk about the main steps of the funnel:
Next, we’ll talk about each of them. We will cover concepts, tips and also on how to generate value for your customer and leave him delighted with your company – something essential to actually get the sale.
The first step in the funnel is prospecting. Or in other terms (if you so prefer) lead generation. Prospecting is the process of identifying potential customers that your product or service will benefit. And after that, systematically communicate with them. Here’s the first good practice to generate value: direct your marketing strategies to the persona of your business.
The ideal customer profile (ICP) must be clearly defined your company to, then yes, be assertive in the task of prospecting. The attraction can be through content marketing, for example, talking about relevant subjects, with authority, about what are the pains that your potential customer has. Do this in an attractive way, stimulating interaction. Invest in good articles, rich materials (eBook, infographics, surveys), videos, podcasts and more! Set up an attractive landing page to get this person in contact and, of course, integrate with your sales system to start that relationship with them.
Before going through the funnel steps with the prospect – you need to know if he is not a suspect. That is, check if he has adherence with your business. It’s time, then, for your SDR team to take action. It is he who will establish a connection with the client, being consultative in the call. The purpose of the contact is to find out what pain he has, as well as your knowledge about the product or service and, of course if what you sell makes sense to him. One of the techniques – although many currently dispute them – used to qualify leads is BANT Sales. This “formula” is used to determine if it is the right time to sell or if it takes a little more time and maturation of this contact.
Showtime! This is where the seller (closer) demonstrates the product or service to the potential customer. And it must do this in a consultative way. There are many sales techniques that can be applied at this time. One of them, for example, is to apply rapport to initially be able to adhere to your pitch. It is necessary, here, to be much more a listener. Listen to the customer’s pain and, whenever intervening, do it in a positive way and showing how the company helps them. Knowing how to get around objections is equally important – and a big advantage for those who want to have an ever-increasing power of persuasion. Therefore, many companies have in the sales playbook a very important ally to know what and how to do with each type of customer different.
After qualifying the customer and demonstrating your solution, it will be easier to customize and adapt your business proposal. Even more when you, within your sales system, have templates and electronic signatures – which make the process much faster, intuitive and accurate. Your proposal dives into the details of your solution, as well as price and duration, remaining personalized and directed to the customer’s pain. And, of course, always making it clear why your product or service is essential to give what your customer needs. Be clear when communicating (avoid dubious texts), position the elements well and make the business conditions clear – plan, duration, payment, etc.
If the potential customer becomes a customer – or if you lose the business – it is important to close in both cases. In case of success, transfer the client to the financial sector and provide all the necessary support for him to continue having a positive experience. Keep following up and talking to the customer. He may still have questions and needs you to be there to help him. If not directly, directing him to the sector and/or the right person within the company that will give him what he needs. But, in case of loss, it is important to record the reasons for gaining insights into improvement. Ask for feedback to understand why. And besides, don’t discard this contact. Put it, for example, on a list to keep receiving your newsletter. So, you keep a relationship, you keep generating value and… well, nobody knows what tomorrow is, right?
Best Practices for Managing Funnel Steps
The sales routine is often cumbersome, but that doesn’t mean we can ignore good practices when managing the steps in the funnel. Each customer is unique and deserves attention. Therefore, it is always necessary to pay attention to details to ensure not only the sale but also the good reputation of the company. With this in mind, we have separated 5 best practice tips so you can always be generating value for those who are interested in what you sell. Look:
1 – Keep a healthy pipeline
Always check if your pipeline is healthy. It must always be growing (but it cannot overwhelm the salesperson) or at least remain consistent, with new opportunities coming in and out simultaneously. Here’s an addendum: it’s up to the manager to monitor the relevant sales metrics and know if a salesperson is overloaded or idle – and make a decision based on the analyzed numbers. Another important indicator of a healthy funnel is having a clear perspective at all stages. In other words, make sure no opportunities are stagnant from lack of action and that the customer is having everything they need to keep moving forward. That’s why it’s so important to follow upin all steps of the funnel. After all, you know he’s also talking to the competition, right?
2 – Prioritize the main opportunities
Tracking the duration of each opportunity is important to measuring your business’ sales cycle. But, it is necessary to scrutinize. If you notice that the same type of customer tends to take longer to actually buy, it might be better to prioritize other types. After all, your CAC, with it, will be bigger. And it will be necessary, therefore, to be worthwhile, to sell a lot more than you normally sell. Certain transactions pass through your sales pipeline differently than others. So, already in the qualification stage, you will know which opportunity you can prioritize as you will immediately identify a pattern of behavior already known by your team.
3 – Discard and/or freeze opportunities that do not advance
Opportunities that are not moving and have stopped at some specific step in the funnel need to “clean up” the pipeline. So there are two things to do (both actually, and both require follow-up). Get in touch with the prospect and understand if he has closed with the competition and discard the opportunity – putting him on a newsletter list. Or, if he says that he is not able to buy for the time being, freeze this opportunity and schedule an alert to contact him later and resume trading.
4 – Monitor Funnel Metrics
Monitoring metrics is a key indicator of the growth and progress of all your actions. So focus on those that indicate pipeline integrity, such as number of open opportunities, close cycle, average ticket, conversion rate, and more. It is also important to monitor the funnel to identify opportunities or areas in the sales process that need improvement. It is, then, up to the commercial manager to carry out this mission and this more strategic vision – always, of course, talking to those who work on a daily basis, in the operational area.
5 – Establish a culture of constant improvement
Which trading techniques are working best and which aren’t? At which stage of the funnel do prospects take the longest time? The analysis needs to take place constantly and, for that, use your CRM reports to understand your reality. Constantly invest in training and feedback to have a culture of constant improvement. This way, you will always be ready to work around objections, generate value and, of course, sell more and better. So, how can we help you? If you have questions about the content or want to know better about how to structure funnel steps within your CRM, talk to a consultant.
Enjoy and read two articles that will help you increase sales within your business. The first talks about some sales tips valuable for you to apply in your company. The second brings sales books for you to increasingly improve your routine and knowledge in your day-to-day! Good sales!
The stages of the sales funnel are strategic and need to be focused on, with each contact, generating value for the customer. Assembling them well and, more than that, managing them with a focus on your customer is strategic for your company to sell more, better and, of course, grow every day. A complete and effective…