A sales funnel resembles an inverted pyramid. It gives you a clear view of the steps that potential customers take in a typical sales process. You can also use it to visualize how they transform from being leads to loyal customers. Just as the name suggests, a sales funnel resembles an ordinary funnel where it is wide at the top and starts narrowing down as you go towards the bottom.
The funnel is divided into different levels of engagement. For instance, the bottom segment hosts the most active leads and their likelihood to make conversions. The goal of the sales funnel management is to find quality leads that are likely to become loyal customers. Let’s highlight the key factors that entail an effective sales funnel management.
The Composition of a Sales Funnel
Before you even begin to manage a sales funnel, you need to understand its composition. A sales funnel is segmented into three different sections which are:
- Top section: This is a wide section that receives everyone who has developed some interest in your product. The method of marketing and sales promotion determines the size of the funnel at this level. Apparently, no filtering method is deployed here. Everyone is free to explore the product.
- Middle section of the funnel: At this stage, a prospect has gone beyond gathering general information about the product. Due to the interest that they have earned, they graduate to being sales lead. They have been impressed by some features of the products and are showing their willingness to take further action. However, it is important to note that, at this stage, the prospects are yet to add any value to your business. As a marketer, you need to be careful with the leads that you choose will dictate the success rate of your sales funnel.
- Bottom section: Any prospect that is at this stage is ready to purchase your product. Their behavior is enough to tell whether they belong to this segment or not. Those who keep making inquiries about the product belong here. You, therefore, need to prepare a killer pitch for them so that they make a final commitment to your products.
Managing a Sales Funnel
A well-managed funnel should flow smoothly right from top to bottom. In doing so, it helps a business to realize its marketing targets. However, a slow and complicated sales channel can be a principal impediment to the growth of your company. It prevents other processes from taking place.
Marketing experts advise that a sales funnel should be long enough so that it can be more accurate in filtering the leads. However, it should not be too long as this can make it more complicated hence slowing it. A long sales funnel also encourages leakages as prospects may begin opting out. Here are some of the management activities that you can do to improve the efficiency of your sales funnel:
Get rid of Clogs/ Roadblocks
Since the funnel is like a vertical pipe, everything should move downwards and not horizontally. The presence of clogs and roadblocks may make the leads to begin moving sideways or even upwards. This can happen when the leads start raising concerns about the product or even the company behind it.
It is important to address all the issues that are causing the delays. If it is due to the presence of unnecessary steps within the funnel, try to eliminate them intelligently. For example, an action requiring leads to submit their email addresses before proceeding to the next level can cause unwanted delays. If it is due to factors outside the funnel, ensure they are adequately addressed.
Focus on Qualified Leads
This is another critical factor in sales funnel management. Ensure that you assess the qualifications of the leads before allowing them to the next stage. Failure to do so can make you spend your time and resources on the wrong prospects who will not buy anything. Intensive scrutiny of the leads should be done both at the top and middle sections of the funnel.
Incorporate a CRM
Use a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) application to complement the work of a sales funnel. A good CRM can help you with the processing and storage of data. You can also use it to automate various processes. In overall, a CRM improves the efficiency and accuracy of using a sales funnel.
However, having a CRM does not mean that you should delegate all the tasks to it. Take your time to review the data in the funnel manually.