If your company is like most B2B firms, you’ve probably defined your sales process in terms of what your staff do.
First, you reach out to prospects with a variety of marketing materials. When prospects become contacts—these days, usually by filling out some sort of online form—you probably qualify them in some way to determine whether or not they are leads.
Next, you begin the process of nurturing your leads, maybe through an automated email campaign, direct mail and/or in-person calls. As things progress,
you might conduct a demo or deliver a quote.
And eventually, hopefully, you make the sale.
This is all fine as a sales process—but your sales process is fundamentally different than your sales funnel. Your
sales process defines what your marketing and salespeople do, but your sales funnel defines what your prospects, leads, and customers do.
Why does it matter?
When sales persons are talking about the sales funnel, they are often considering the metrics / KPI’s that tell them which prospects are becoming leads and which leads are ready to become customers. And if you’re a sales practitioner focused on improvements, you’re probably also looking for ways to optimise that sales funnel process to make it more efficient and effective.
If you’re monitoring metrics that are based on actions your sales team have taken, you may have a good idea of whether or not your sales
team is following your sales process, but you don’t really know if your prospects are moving through the buying process.
“In order to measure the buying process, you need to look at prospect actions—not salesperson actions”.
To make it a little more clear, here are some examples of each:
Examples of prospect actions
- visiting the website
- reading a blog
- researching the company on social media
- completing a contact form and downloading a whitepaper
- attending a webinar
- signing up for a newsletter
- contacting the sales department
- asking for a demo
- asking for a quote
- sending out an RFP
- filling out a credit application
- making a purchase
Examples of salesperson actions
- sending an email
- making a phone call
- contacting a prospect through social media
- sending sales materials
- doing an in-person visit
- conducting a demo
- delivering a quote
Of course, this list is far from comprehensive, but you get the idea.
I recently had a client ask, “Can we use our existing sales funnel stages for optimisation purposes?” The answer, in a nutshell, is that it depends. If your existing sales funnel consists primarily of salesperson actions, it’s not going to be very helpful for optimisation purposes.
But if you’ve defined your sales funnel in terms of your prospect’s actions, you’re in good shape for the next step—optimising the sales funnel.
If you would like to know a little more "About Mark", please follow the link for a brief profile view.https://www.predictablesuccess.com.au/lp/mark-lenthall
Predictable Success can examine your sales processes and deliver an accurate road-map after determining where you’re on track and where you need a course correction. Predictable Success can provide a cost/benefit analysis and expert recommendations to improve your sales performance on every level.