Sales funnel is a basic concept in sales and marketing. But changing customer expectations means that a funnel sales strategy must be developed.
The sales funnel metaphor is somewhat misleading; In real life, the process is never as simple as the liquid under the funnel. Over the past decade, digital marketing, artificial intelligence (AI), and CRMA have revolutionized the process of converting new leads into customers. Given this, it is increasingly important that business-to-business (B2B) sales and marketing teams are aligned in their opinions based on their sales team strategy and full pay-per-view.
Sales Funnel represents the ideal path companies hope customers become customers. Most companies use funnel imagery as a way to go through sales phases and explore the future potential to align marketing and sales goals, activities, and processes. (Some may also refer to this as the purchase funnel or conversion funnel.)
Sales funnels are one of the most basic concepts in sales and marketing. The top of the funnel shows each goal – to generate as many leads as possible – while the narrow bottom reflects how many of those leads are converted into customers by the end of the sales process.
Why is the B2B sales funnel still important?
Sales funnels have been used by companies to manage internal sales phases for over 100 years. On top of the funnel, the prospects won’t even be close to buying. However, they may be “eligible” depending on the actions they take – such as registering for a webinar, participating in an event, or downloading an e-book.
As prospects become aware of your products or services through sales representatives or interactions with marketing and sales content, they progress into a funnel and increase their interest – until, some customers convert and become customers.
Having a well-defined sales funnel helps you understand your prospects and your interest in your products or services. That’s why the probabilities of tracking through the funnel can determine how to approach each time (what products or services they should create or what content you should direct them to).
Getting this time right prevents you from losing changes by bombing with too much information or giving them a hard sell as soon as possible. This is why the possibility of moving through the funnel is often called “care”. Seventy percent of business buyers seek out salespeople who act as trusted advisors with their needs and knowledge of the industry. Prospects should ideally receive information and sales support only when they are needed.
The future position in the funnel can help frame the type and frequency of campaigns needed to stimulate or maintain their interest. It can also help the sales team prioritize leads or suggest the most appropriate answers to potential questions or concerns.
First, a common language needs to be set up to ensure when a lead should move out of the control of marketing, and put into sales flow. “Marketing-Qualified Lead” (MQL) and “Sales-Qualified Lead” (SQL) or “Sales-Accepted-Lead,” are two terms that must adapt to all sales funnels to keep both teams aligned. When there is a leader in marketing to talk to sales, the lead should be marked as MQL, i.e. in marketing, it has achieved the position where they believe sales should be occupied. If the seller agrees that the lead is sale-ready, they accept the lead and move it from MQL to SQL (or SAL), and the handoff is complete. If not, the lead goes back to marketing.
The Service Level Agreement (SLA) must contain the spelling and agreement of the definitions of MQL and SQL (SL). SLA outlines the terms of how sales and marketing will work together. The SLA should determine what the MQL and SQL look like, as well as state the time frame and have an essential process for each team to follow. For example, MQL content has reached a score of 75 through a combination of engagement and web engagement and ideally matches the customer profile. It must be accepted by the seller or returned to the market within 24 hours. The SLA should be formulated simultaneously by both marketing and sales leadership and signed by both parties.
Beyond the terms and process, one of the best ways brands can align both sales and marketing is through shared programs such as Account-Based Marketing (ABM) and Lead Nutrition. In 2018, Salesforce Research is expected to use 1.5x higher performance marketing organizations and 1.9x more lead nutrition than potential marketing organizations to use ABM methods. They are “shared programs” because both marketing and sales must work together to create them. Handles marketing techniques and setup while selecting sales goals and helping to create content. Sharing in the design of programs allows sales to increase the sense of ownership of programs, their use, and overall effectiveness.
How is the sales funnel changing?
The changing nature of marketing and selling means that the funnel of sales must be constantly adapted.
If you would like to speak to an expert in Sales Funnel, then don’t hesitate to get in touch with Mobloggy. Their friendly and professional team will be more than happy to help.