To begin with, to be simpler, let's consider that our sales funnel has 4 steps: prospecting, qualification, negotiation and closing.
O seller's goal when using the Sales Funnel technique is to feed the top with new accounts and carry funnel below in a structured and consistent manner.
Much is said about how to set up a productive funnel; however, equally important is to have techniques and procedures to keep track of the evolution of each business within the funnel.
Setting Time Priorities
Managing the time dedicated to each step is not an easy task and should be practiced to exhaustion, until each one finds the method that suits him best.
Most marketers, when they set their work priorities, place short-term closures first. They then focus on the new negotiations and finally turn to the business prospecting.
This is the fastest route to falling results in the medium term.
To maintain the sales level it is important that all steps are treated with the same intensity. You can not make a closing if there is no negotiation in progress because the prospecting is not being performed in the right way.
When the seller does not give due importance to the prospecting work, from the moment that deals are closed, or lost, he runs out of new accounts to work on and the risk of panicking is huge. They then pass the lance at the top of the funnel, without any criterion, to all kinds of customers.
This is counterproductive and will bring problems!
When prospecting is done without planning, the seller goes over some important items, such as Ideal Customer Profile and this will only be perceived in the front when, when analyzing the low number of closures, it is verified that the adhesion assessment was poor.
It's hard to do smart prospecting when you're desperate for new business. Developing a negotiation thinking that you can not lose generates insecurity and fatally leads to loss of business because the customer realizes that he is in charge and starts to demand what the seller can not meet or if he does, he will enter the losing-win quadrant that leads to enormous financial and institutional losses.
Establishing the Order
The seller must have the discipline to follow all the Sales Funnel phases and ensure a steady stream of business movement.
An interesting sequence is to take care of the locks, then look at the prospecting and qualification without forgetting to develop the negotiations of the interior of the funnel to arrive at new closings.
Reasoning in terms of time, we can divide the month into 4 weeks:
- In the last week the focus will be the closures;
- In the first week it is important to think about prospecting;
- In the middle of the month, second and third weeks, we will take care of what is in negotiation aiming to lead to closing.
Of course this is not static, no one will fail to close a deal early in the month because they have prospecting to do, common sense should always prevail.
The rule that does not fail: at each closed customer, ask for 3 indications to feed the top of the funnel. It is emphasized that 3 would be the minimum, but obviously, the more the better.
This distribution of workload is the main factor in sales goals, but there are some variables that will also influence this division and often force the salesperson out of this planning.
Among these variables, we can list a few, but for sure each seller will identify others that are equally important within the way they manage the portfolio.
Let's look at some of these variables:
- Business value: Any business that represents a large amount of commission will receive special attention. It makes sense to spend more time on accounts that involve lots of money. The seller can not leave the others alone;
- Amount of effort to be dedicated to the business: if an important business that is in the closing stages, where all the steps have already been overcome and there are still bureaucratic demands, it is justified to dedicate more time not to jeopardize all the work done;
- Customer Buying Cycle: each company has its own rules and procedures. Your purchase cycles. So the seller, during the qualification, has to discover how these cycles work. They can not be ignored, on the contrary, they must be respected and carry out the sale following these principles;
- Beads that move very slowly inside the funnel: these accounts are, as a rule, very large and difficult to access to purchase influences. But we should keep them at the top of the funnel and allocate some time in their follow-up until the time comes to develop them. Some contact face-to-face or should not be done periodically.
The movement of the beads inside the funnel is directly linked to the correct evaluation and execution of each stage.
For example, an account that has been in "close" for a long time may not have been properly worked on in purchasing influences and until this is resolved, the customer will not "hit the hammer". This account, then, is erroneously positioned in "Closing" when in fact it should be in "Negotiation". In the same way, if an account has been in the funnel top, your qualification is not being well made and so it does not move.
When the salesperson effectively manages his time and uses the sales funnel correctly, he can see what has happened, fix any misunderstandings, and be able to plan the future, thus ensuring consistent and regular business.