Rosettam Lopez Sales funnel blog

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We\'ve been told that getting more sales is all about your \"activity,\" but is it?

Our job as salespeople is to move as many qualified prospects through the sales funnel as quickly as possible"leading to more sales, better clients, and more income.

The traditional sales funnel to attract new business has maintained the same structure for years. There\'s a wide opening at the top and a skinny tube at the bottom. The traditional prospecting method crams as many prospects into the top of the funnel as possible, hoping that new clients will magically pop out of the other end. The only thing that mattered was sheer activity.

Today, I\'m going to debunk the myth that sheer activity is the ONLY thing that matters along with two other myths that are holding you back from getting more clients now.

3 Sales Lead Generation Myths That Will Hold You Back From Closing More Sales

Myth #1 Sheer Activity is the Only Thing That Matters in Sales

Wrong! Of course, activity is still important, but what really matters is that you feed the right people into the funnel in the first place and nurture those prospects who have been referred to you. Then hasten their passage through the sales funnel. This will decrease the amount of time it takes to you close your sale.

Picture the funnel from the traditional \"olden\" days. If you just stuff as much as you can into the top of the funnel, it\'s more likely that weeds, rocks, sand, and other debris will clog the opening and prevent the steady entry and flow of good business. Try pouring water in a funnel that is filled with debris. The water backs up and nothing moves through. Not a pleasing picture, and not functional business model. It\'s certainly not one that fosters an environment for attracting new business.

Myth #2 Sales 2.0 Leads are Qualified

There\'s so much that\'s wrong about the traditional sales funnel, and it\'s gotten worse in the Sales 2.0 world. It\'s not a referral-marketing funnel. In the past, we were schooled to throw as many prospects in the funnel as we could find. For example, we were taught to get so-called leads from mailings, trade shows, advertising, networking, newsletters, and speaking. Now in the 2.0 world, we are taught to get so-called leads from blogging, videos, eBooks, free reports, press releases, eZines, affiliate traffic, RSS feeds, and email lists. We can now choose to waste our time by following up on these so-called leads.

I call the leads above \"So-called leads\" because these aren\'t really leads.

They\'re inquiries, possibly names"or people just interested in free stuff. Everyone likes free stuff. If we take the time to weed through all this trash, we might actually find a prospect. These people are just prospects. They\'re not business referrals. And, they\'re still not leads.

Myth #3 It\'s Important to Sort \"Leads\"

We have to change how we talk about leads. Inquiries are not leads. People wanting free stuff are not leads. Neither are those \"coveted\" lists or files of names. Calling these \"leads\" borders on insulting.

Leads are people who:

- Are truly interested in talking directly to you about your products and services to see how you can help them

- Match the profile of your ideal client

- Have a budget

- Have a need that you can fulfill

- Are open to pursuing how you can help them attract new business.

Now that\'s a qualified business referral.

The best leads are those you have received through a referral. When you receive a qualified referral, you are pre-sold. You have credibility and trust. Your sales time shortens. And, you ace out the competition. When you\'ve been referred, you get a new client more than 50 percent of the time. Get more referrals and get these results.

So stop calling everyone and everything a lead. It\'s is a waste of your valuable sales time. I\'m not just splitting hairs over terminology. It is downright misrepresentation when companies position themselves as lead-generation experts. It sounds so good (so easy), so we jump. And that\'s when we get our sales funnel clogged with trash instead of getting more referrals

In this lagging and volatile economyPsychology Articles, it\'s easy to be lured by business which clogs our sales funnel. We can\'t afford to attract the wrong kind of clients to our business. It\'s like dumping trash in our sales funnel. A full funnel is only valuable if it\'s filled with the kind of clients that are right for you " clients that are qualified and referred.
Increasing sales performance has a lot to do with working on the right things. Applying sales activity to the right sales opportunities and leads. However, without a consistent sales process and lead metrics prioritizing your sales pipeline can be nearly impossible.

Often sales pipeline management is crippled by this lack of measurements and prioritization.

If you want to get your sales pipeline back into shape and pumping out closed deals, tune your process with these 5 simple hints:

1. Start managing the pipeline: Start managing your sales leads. Crazy as it might sound, most sales teams have nothing resembling lead management in their sales process. Leads are distributed and worked haphazardly with little or no tracking of results. Whether you are managing debt leads or enterprise software leads there should be a defined process. Sales agents should be following a consistent sales process. Otherwise, measuring and analyzing results to improve sales output is going to be impossible.

Managing your pipeline should begin by highlighting categories, marketing sources, and sales processes that are most effective. These top performing lead types, marketing campaigns, and processed should get top priority.

2. Discrete dispositions on every opportunity: Common mistake number two, bad data. Define lead dispositions and then annotate (consistently) every lead, every time it is touched. This will immediately assist your lead management program. You will understand what happened to every sales opportunity, how long it took, and when it turned into a deal or death.

Prioritization starts with sales statuses. The classic sale funnel is still one of the best prioritization mechanisms, but you have to track the status.

3. Analyze contact rates: There is no clearer path to closing a deal than contacting a prospect. If you don\'t get the opportunity to talk to someone you certainly won\'t close a deal. So, track and analyze contact rates. If you can increase conversations you will increase sales. If you improve your sales to contact rate you will have the top sales team. However, you have to start by tracking and measuring contact rates.

Contact rates can help you to focus on the most responsive marketing channels first, speeding overall sales velocity and increasing sale motivation.

4. Analyze velocity: Time is the number one killer of sales. If you let an opportunity age or wander you will lose. Track your call back periods and create a rhythm that works. Use these tracking metrics to analyze overall sales velocity.

Sales velocity is critical to pushing more revenue through your sales organization. Tracking and prioritizing the fastest converting lead types can help apply sale pressure to the right places in your pipeline.

5. Analyze revenue concentration: This is probably the most logical of the 5 steps, but least applied. Sales activity should be concentrated on the top revenue producing lead sources or marketing channels. Whether this is sorted by opportunity attributes, product typePsychology Articles, or marketing channel identify the top correlations between category and revenue. Then work them in that order.

Prioritization is critical to maximizing your marketing ROI and sales production. Your sales and marketing processes should be organized to help you prioritize a healthy increase in your revenue.
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while back, I wrote an article titled “Taking Control Of A Volatile Sales Flow”; downloads/ where I laid out a sales pipeline management plan unlike anything you may have seen. It was in this article where I expounded on the importance of defining phases of the sales cycle (A " in closing position, C " Important transitional background work required, or B " unknown prospect position), and the best practice methodology required in order to manage the efforts and devotion of time by the sales team.

Now let’s expand management and coordination of marketing and sales by defining specific qualifiers that should be used to analyze revenue phases as it relates to the schedule required for the business plan (assuming you have a plan).

Over the years within my own companies and as a “Strategist” consultant, creating ‘profit’ plans with clients; I developed a revenue phase model, beginning with marketing to prospect discovery and progressing through the sales process, to secured revenue and beyond.

I have analyzed companies that use very basic revenue phase qualifiers to those that model very sophisticated qualifying data. No matter if you use CRM software or a yellow pad, proper analysis results in only 3 phase categories of when and where revenue can become part of the ‘business plan’. Even if you add sub-phases within each category, and many will, these three phase categories correlate to the proper management of the pipeline.

1. Genesis Phases: Strictly to avoid the proverbial ‘wild-goose chase’, this phase can have as many qualifiers as necessary, but essentially serves as a filter.

For example: Your company can only provide products and services to companies with more than 25 employees or companies with > $10 MM in sales, etc. (add as many zeros as needed). When an opportunity qualifies to be in the Genesis Phase, the lead is moved into the funnel and to the next Genesis Phase or to the appropriate Nurturing Phase.

2. Nurturing Phases: The Nurturing Phases have no time parameters, and it’s where leads are developed into solid relationships. After all, statistics indicate that it can take 8+ exposures / contacts just to get a meeting with a potential customer. These are leads that are nurtured with varied interactions until sales-ready, i.e. collateral materials, social network marketing, presentations, demos, etc.

3. Delta Phases: The delta phases apply when there is a definite amount of time in which closing the sale is formalized, i.e. overcoming objections, contract presentation, bid proposal, simply asking for the sale, etc. Upon reaching the final delta phase, which is the post close attempt [stall] position, the customer opportunity needs to be evaluated, determining if they should be returned to a Nurturing Phase, setting a ‘fish or cut bait’ time parameter, or moved out of the pipeline altogether.

For example: When a customer is determined to be “Delta ready,” the assigned sales representative / team, has X days to achieve closing the sale. The result of that action determines the next.

Designing a best practice revenue phase model is based on 2 basic assumptions:

a. Sales Cost Money: The Delta Phase should be reserved for those that have ‘earned’ the right to be there, e.g. sales reps should not engage with prospects until prospects are prepped. This includes even the smallest of companies where the sales rep, wearing multiple hats, is the only contact through all phases. However, sales engagement is down low in the pipeline, where customers have passed through lower cost phases, i.e. marketing and relationship development.

b. Decide And Act: Management must make sure customers / opportunities are moving forward (down the pipeline), being cycled back, or removed from the funnel.

I recommend that you have a minimal number of nurturing phases and perhaps only one related to marketing, to ensure that there are no places for customers to hide or be forgotten.

A key benefit to the development of a revenue phase analysis model is that it establishes a common code throughout the organization, providing a common status interpretation of any customer opportunity and a defined set of subsequent actions, and quantifying the results of any marketing or sales program effort.
Take time to practice your presentation many times before using it in a real live sales situation. You should know your presentation backwards and forwards, word for word. Never take notes to a sales presentation and refer to or read from them. That is so unprofessional.

Customize your presentation for each individual prospect. One of the worst things you can do is give a presentation that appears to the prospect has been given to every other person you sell to.

Sales Presentation Tip #2 - Build Rapport and Qualify

Make sure you build rapport, and qualified the prospect thoroughly before you dive in to your presentation. People purchase from people they like and trust, so spend adequate time on rapport building.

The same goes for qualifying. Make sure you\'re clear as to what the prospects problem is before presenting your product or service as the solution. The problems you uncover will determine how you customize your presentation and how your product or service solves their problems.

Sales Presentation Tip #3 - Be Friendly, Enthusiastic and Professional Looking

Remember, people are more likely to buy from a friend than a salesperson. So spend lots of time becoming their friend. Don\'t rush through the sales process. Step back and develop a relationship with them. It will pay huge benefits.

One way to show your enthusiasm is to truly believe your product or service is the best thing to solve their problem. So having an understanding of how your product has helped others is critical.

Being professional looking includes many different areas. Your clothes for one. Make sure your wardrobe is up to date and doesn\'t include suits you bought in the nineties. Polish your shoes, cut your nails, shave, get an up to date hair style. There are many ways you can look the part of a successful person.

People want to buy from winners, so look like a winner.

Also make sure your presentation visuals are up to date and professional looking. Don\'t use articles or testimonials that were written years ago. Get some new ones. Use the latest technology to show prospects you\'re on the cutting edge. I guarantee you most of your competitors aren\'t.

Sales Presentation Tip #4 - Use Visual Aids

Your company may all ready have visual aids for you to use. Some things to include are media articles about you and your company. Testimonials you\'ve received from satisfied clients. Tell stories about how you\'ve helped another customer, especially ones that are similar to the current prospect.

Sales Presentation Tip #5 - Get the Prospect Involved

Using handouts is a great way to get a prospect following along with your presentation. You could play a game during the presentation or have them take a test. Ask them opened ended questions such as:

* Do you see how easy this is to use?
* What are the features you like the best?
* How do you think this will benefit you/your company?

Get creative ...    Continue

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