The traditional concept of the sales funnel involves sales representatives—with the help of the marketing department—cramming as many leads into the top of the funnel as they can. Their job under this framework is to turn those leads into real opportunities and move them down through the various stages of the funnel as effectively as they can until they close the deal.
As sales representatives move their leads stage by stage through the funnel, the number of opportunities gets smaller and smaller. The challenge near the bottom of the sales funnel is turning as many of the remaining opportunities into closed deals. While managing all of this, sales representatives must also focus on keeping the top of the sales funnel full of new prospects.
To close lots of deals under the traditional model, it is essential that sales representatives have a great deal of opportunities at the top of the funnel. Unfortunately, this model isn’t as effective as it should be for every organization. That’s why smart organizations are shifting to the more effective account-based selling model.
The Shift Towards Account-Based Selling Model
Of course, it is essential to have a healthy sales funnel. However, it is important to understand what a healthy sales funnel is. A healthy sales funnel is not a bigger funnel. A healthy funnel is a strategically targeted sales funnel.
Consider this common situation. Organization A takes a non-strategic approach to filling the sales funnel. In addition to buying lists, they use gated content, Google ads, and pay-per-click advertising to cast a wide net. Then, they tell their sales representatives to turn as many of those leads as possible into closed deals, with the goal of generating $500,000 in the next quarter. It’s likely that they will need to close hundreds of deals to get to that goal. Moreover, reaching that goal requires a great deal of time and energy to be expended by a large number of sales representatives. Ultimately, the process of moving those leads down through the funnel is a lot of wasted motion.
Across the street, Organization B has a different plan. They have deployed a strategic outbound approach that targets their ideal customer. As a result, they can reach their quarterly goal of $500,000 by closing a small fraction of the deals that Organization A needs to close. And, Organization B can do this by using fewer sales representatives while expending less time and less energy.
The key is the be very targeted about which leads you pursue and how you pursue them. The result of such a targeted approach is that your sales funnel will be filled with highly qualified opportunities that are easier to close.
It Takes the Right Team to Fill the Funnel
Understanding that it takes the right team to fill the sales funnel and close deals, many organizations are moving to an account-based selling model. Utilizing this model, they take the time to identify their ideal client profile and hand over customers to the appropriate sales function as the customers move through the sales funnel.
Again, under the traditional approach, organizations spend lots of money to hire “rock star” sales people who would then go out and find leads, pitch the product or service, close the deal, and then manage the customer. Today, the world of sales is moving toward a more segmented approach to sales that involves sales development representatives who reach out to highly qualified leads, get them engaged in conversation, and turn them over to the sales representatives to complete the funnel process and close the deal.
It Takes the Right Processes to Fill the Funnel
It’s unfortunate when organizations don’t have the right processes in place. That’s because they hire sales representatives who just wing it. Those representatives approach filling the sales funnel by doing their own thing without a proven plan of attack.
To truly scale a business and achieve measurable growth, your organization must have well-defined and repeatable sales processes that everyone follows. One area that is often a weakness for organizations is their CRM. For instance, Salesforce.com is an excellent example of how working with a CRM can be unwieldy. It is a very complex system in which a sales representative can spend an inordinate amount of administrative time that could better be spent selling. In this case, it is up to management to carefully and closely manage CRM usage, and other inefficiencies, so that their sales representatives are engaged in processes that fill the sales funnel.
It Takes the Right Partner to Fill the Funnel
Stop wasting time, energy, and money on filling your sales funnel with the type of leads that are either unqualified or poorly targeted. It’s time to fill your sales pipeline with highly qualified, and highly targeted, leads that have greater chance of becoming customers. Accomplishing this with maximum efficiency means that you need the right partner. To help you reach your sales goals, Acquirent builds the right team and applies the right processes so you don’t have to. As your partner, Acquirent can help you generate results instead of just filling the sales funnel.