A sales rep once said to me that getting sales is not like turning on a tap. There is no instant gratification. It takes patience, finesse, a process and, of course, a joie de vivre to gain business growth.
Once your business has its advantage in the marketplace, and the promotional plan is in place, visualize the sales coming in through a funnel, which is wider at the top where all the unqualified leads come in, and narrower at the bottom where the sales come out.
Speeding up your selling cycle and business growth takes understanding what is slowing it down. It requires some tracking and analysis of sales as they move through the funnel
Of course, the speed of the selling cycle depends on the value of a sale or how crucial the product is to the customer. A million dollar product safety product takes longer to buy than a one dollar’s worth of peanuts. Still, it is very possible to speed the sales process by understanding what is slowing sales progression through the funnel.\
Your sales funnel can be divided into sections, from the start to the end. Usually four or five sections is easy to work with. As mentioned, the top, widest section contains the business leads. These are unqualified leads from the promotional efforts. A second section can be the qualified leads. Then it moves onto categories that make sense for your business, say, leads with interest in your product or service. Next, say, leads who have signaled they want to buy. Finally, leads who have bought.
It is normal for the number of leads at each stage to drop as we move through the funnel. However, it’s important to track the number at each stage, how long it takes to move from one stage to another, the percentage that move to the next stage, and to understand the reasons the leads move forward and don’t move forward.
Knowing what the company can do to move the leads through the funnel is important to increasing the speed of business growth. Often customers speed through the funnel when they see high value. However, companies’ sales issues can encompass promoting in the right places, the company’s response to leads, etc.
The information gleaned from the funnel is golden. It can point the marketing department in the right direction for further investigation with customer and market surveys. Focusing on the pipeline, will increase sales productivity, and accelerate business growth!
Tove Rasmussen, Business Coach and CEO of Partners Creating Growth, offers business expertise worldwide to help organizations grow, and disadvantaged regions thrive.
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