The traditional sales funnel is a stage-based approach to turning prospective leads into buyers. Picture a real funnel into which you pour liquid; capturing a lot of material on top in order to direct it into a narrow, specified location at the bottom. This is a perfect analogy to what actually occurs in the sales process, where information starts out broad in the beginning and gets incredibly granular towards the end.
Implementing a sales funnel helps business development leaders understand its entire sales cycle. Through consistent processes, leaders derive quick insights on how its sales organization attacks their market. In turn, small insights inherently uncover areas for incremental improvements within the process. This goes for everything from tactical approaches to business development research to the underlying characteristics that make said prospects qualified enough to engage in the first place. The revealed trends, both good and bad, equip leaders to identify effective tactics and expose inefficiencies.
Yet, despite obvious benefits, 68% of businesses fail to clearly identify its sales funnels, let alone measure success. Ultimately, the absence of proper guidelines for engaging leads and prospects makes it difficult, if not impossible, to clearly understand the levers that determine what turns them into actual paying customers.
For most organizations, the problems behind launching a sales funnel are central to data management. Think about how much contact and account data your sales team needs just to prospect. Then, from a managerial perspective, think about whether the actual activity and outreach happening from the sales floor is captured to measure effectiveness. As valuable as the sales funnel is, it’s only useful when paired with reliable data pertaining to each stage of the sales cycle.