A healthy sales funnel is sustainably scalable and consistently full. It’s easy to let the health of your sales funnel slip when sales are rolling in regularly, which in turn, hurts your organization when sales aren’t coming in as often.
The questions below are an acid test to determine the health of your sales funnel.
Do you have ideal client profiles clearly identified and documented?
All business isn’t good business; however, without clearly defined ideal client profiles, you and your employees will spend, or waste, time with any buyer who agrees to talk resulting in “lots of good conversations” and few ideal opportunities entering the top of the sales funnel.
Because there is no one ideal client for an organization, have 3 – 5 ideal client profiles created that everyone within your organization, whether directly in sales or not, understands and can spot in public. Every team member could be lead generating if they know who an ideal client is for your business.
Are you focused on weekly lead generation?
Think of lead generation as the fertilizer that will eventually help the seeds you and your team are planting grow and flourish.
A guest on an episode of the Full Funnel Freedom podcast shared that between 92% to 98% of potential buyers are currently not looking for your product at any time. Having a focused lead generation strategy to be on those buyers’ radar when they are ready to buy, and bringing the 2-8% who are ready to buy now to your business, ultimately helps you sell more with less effort.
If you notice that most net new clients were attracted solely through your efforts, your lead generation is likely in need of love.
Are you proactively prospecting weekly?
“Proactive” meaning that you or a member of your team could have a conversation with a buyer during that activity, whether a prospecting call, networking event, quarterly review meeting with an existing client or speaking engagement.
Blasting out 100s or 1000s of emails is not a proactive strategy. Text-based communications can be part of a prospecting cadence; however, humans buy from humans (at least for now) so you and your employees should be proactively reaching out to buyers through modes that facilitate a human-to-human connection.
Data from the North American Sales Institute shows it typically takes 8-12 touches before a prospect will even engage with a seller to discuss buying, yet according to the same data 67% of sellers give up after the first touch and 92% give up after touch three.
Creating proactive prospecting plans with monthly targets that are tracked weekly provides an early, leading indicator if your business is going to make or miss the target for the month, quarter or year.
Do you have a clearly defined sales process?
“Talk to prospect,” “submit quote, “hope” is not a sales process.
A true sales process identifies what information we want to gather to determine if a buyer is qualified. At the latter stages of the process, what your business needs to do to successfully deliver to your client. It’s like a series of check boxes that, should we check them, will create a long-term mutually profitable relationship with a buyer.
A recurring theme with clients is “professional sellers get paid on the information they gather not the information they give”.
By documenting your sales process, it takes pressure off you and your employees because they know what boxes they need to check and ensures that they don’t unintentionally damage rapport with a new client by fumbling their first order.
Do I hold my employees accountable for following a selling system?
When employees follow the same selling system, it’s easier to coach and support them because you all speak the same language.
Do my employees have an ‘always be advancing the sale’ mindset?
“Always Be Closing” is a disgusting phrase that doesn’t create buyer safety and reduces our credibility.
An “always be advancing the sale,” mindset means that employees never leave an interaction with a qualified buyer without getting a clear, mutually agreed next step in both calendars.
When you look at your funnel and see a bunch of “opportunities” that have hung out way too long, it’s because your employees are accepting “I’ll call you in two weeks” from their buyers and chasing instead of maintaining (gentle) control of the sale.
Another way to put “always be advancing the sale” is BAMFAM – book a meeting from a meeting. “Did you bamfam?” is a great question to ask an employee who is pontificating about an opportunity that might not be real.
Bonus – do you know your true sales cycle?
The common belief is a sales cycle begins when we say “hello” to a buyer and ends when they sign an agreement or make their first order.
Our true sales cycle ends when we get paid. For some, this means that the opportunities in their funnel in April are the ones who will actually deliver cash by December 31.
Understanding your true sales cycle helps plan your lead generation programs and the weekly proactive prospecting for your employees so you can be confident that you will hit your targets for the year.
Reading this article might have made you slightly uncomfortable. That’s normal. To shift that discomfort into action that will make your funnel sustainably scalable and keep it consistently full, pick the one question that would provide the biggest payoff to you personally and take a single, small step toward answering it. Then take another and another until that question is answered. Being “better than zero” daily creates sustainably growth instead of “peak then crash.”
Until next time… go lead.