What is a Sales Funnel and its Implications for Marketers
The sales funnel is a concept that is used to visually describe the sales process from initial leads to final closure. It uses the image of a funnel where the opportunities are dropped into the funnel and go through the sieve towards each stage.
The opportunities that do not make it to the final stage are described as the leaky funnel where they are removed from the funnel and fall by the wayside.
On the other hand, the opportunities that are converted pass through the funnel and into the container.
The sales funnel is a useful representation of the probability of the leads being converted and hence, it has become quite popular among managers and sales and marketing personnel.
Mechanics of the Sales Funnel
The mechanics of the sales funnel denotes the process of the sale progressing through the funnel in steps and at each step, certain actions have to be taken to actualize the sale. This means that organizations have to handhold each stage of the funnel and this entails targeting clients appropriately and removing the barriers that prevent the opportunity from progressing into the next stage.
It is for this reason that organizations develop sales metrics which signify the percentage completion at each stage and which can be used to refine and fine-tune the sales and marketing process through each phase of the funnel.
Indeed, the originators of the sales funnel concept recommend organizations to develop their own sales funnels so that instead of relying on the established pattern, which might or might not work for them, they can customize the funnel according to the specific needs of their business.
Stages in the Sales Funnel
The stages in the sales funnel are Lead, Prospect, Qualified Prospect, Committed, and Transacted which when taken together represent the progress of potential sales opportunities through each phase and which might result in actual deals being made.
The Leaky Funnel
We have seen how opportunities can be converted into actual sales and how the stages of the sales funnel indicate the process of the sales leads and their actualization into real deals.
However, not all opportunities are converted into actual deals and if a particular opportunity does not move down the funnel and the sale is not fructified, and then it is known as a leaky funnel opportunity and therefore, must be discarded from the funnel. Of course, this means that the conversion rate takes a hit, which can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on how the organization views that opportunity.
For instance, for many organizations, approaching potential clients is a fact of business and this is done through cold calling, which denotes the approach even at the prospect of being rejected. This does not really bother the company since all that their sales and marketing personnel are interested in is to approach clients who can be converted into opportunities at a later point in time.
Moreover, once the leaky funnel manifests and the opportunity is removed from the funnel, it gives the organization a chance to focus on potentially profitable leads instead of wasting time in chasing dead ends.
- Sales Management - Introduction
- Sales Management Strategies
- Sales Operation
- Motivating the Sales Team
- Responsibilities of a Sales Manager
Authorship/Referencing - About the Author(s)
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