Results under control - managing the sales funnel

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Have you ever looked at your calendar with the feeling that you don’t know what to do and where you stand? If your boss asks you how much you’ll sell this month, do you just make up a number? Do you have the impression that your sales happen accidentally? Do you feel that you devote too much time to some clients, and that not much comes out of it? If you answered yes to these questions, don’t worry - it’s not just you.

The best solution in a situation where you don’t fully control your sales activities is to analyse your sales funnel. In this way, you’ll gain information about the entire sales process and take control over it. You’ll be able to determine your strengths and weaknesses, organize your activities, take steps that will increase your sales and answer your boss’s difficult questions about your end-of-the-month results.

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A sales funnel is nothing but a division of the sales process into stages, presented in a visual form, so you know where your client - and more than that, your money - is located. Organizations approach the funnel concept differently. Some companies have their sales funnels integrated with their CRM system. This enables them to analyse many different indicators, which in turn facilitates both the acquisition of information and the sales work itself. There are also companies (even large ones) that don’t use sales funnels at all.

Regardless of where you work, to have a real impact on your results, you need to know where you stand. The first thing you should do after reading this article is to think about what your sales funnel looks like. You can approach it from the general, organizational level (from obtaining a lead to closing the sale or providing after-sales service) or only in the compartment you deal with personally and for which you are responsible.

The sales funnel can be divided into three main elements:

1. TOFU (Top of the Funnel)

This is the stage where the client learns about you and your product or service. If you work in direct sales, this will be your first visit to the client. In a call centre, it’s your first ‘cold call’, while in online sales, it’s when a user accesses your blog or reads your newsletter. At this stage of the funnel you build the client’s awareness of the existence of your brand, product, or service - you don’t sell!

Actions you can take at this stage:

  • making the first visit to the client,
  • making a ‘cold call’,
  • acting as a speaker at an industry conference,
  • publishing an article in the industry press,
  • participating in an industry fair as an exhibitor or as a participant,
  • networking,
  • blogging,
  • creating a presence in social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and others).

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