The sales funnel can be defined as the buying process that companies guide customers through when they purchase a product or service.It’s critical that the sales funnel and lead generation activities are perfectly aligned, this ensures a smooth buying journey for the prospect, maximising conversion and minimising any loss of sales and time.
Related: What are sales qualified leads?
Stages of the sales funnel
The stages of a sales funnel can be different depending on the product/service or structure of the company but generally speaking, they’ll follow this formula:
Stage 1. Prospecting for leads
This first stage is about identifying, reaching, and qualifying the right potential client and opportunities for your business. It is critical to the whole process because the quality of leads that enter the funnel will affect and define the whole sales process in terms of conversion, results and revenue. You’re going to need good customer relationship management software to track prospects at this stage.
Stage 2. Cultivating a relationship
At this stage referred leads who are qualified and interested in your product or service are pased to the sales team. It’s now all about scheduling initial meetings, building a relationship between the lead and the sales team, whilst identifying their exact needs and requirements in relation to your product or service.
Stage 3. Demonstrating value
At this stage the sales team is demonstrating the value of the product/service to a lead based on their needs and requirements which were identified during the cultivation stage. It’s critical at this stage that the sales team has a clear understanding of the customer. This stage is often where many leads are lost and we find there is the most room for optimisation.
Stage 4. Closing a sale
This stage is all about delivering a proposal and closing the client. If the whole process has been done correctly, there should be no reason for the prospect to stray away at this point and you should be near the end of the road in closing a sale.
Related: How to manage a sales pipeline