These days, converting website visitors into leads is just the first step of the sales process. Then, you have to ensure your leads are moving seamlessly down a series of steps — which is also known as lead nurturing.
However, nurturing leads requires management to maintain success. Various methods to achieve this are by continuing to build trust, ensuring your business is at the top of prospects’ minds, offering valuable information and solutions — and tool utilization.
To ensure you’re maximizing conversions, consider using these funnel management strategies. Doing so will help you guide those prospects to the top of the funnel.
What Is Sales Funnel Management?
A sales funnel represents customers’ thought processes and decisions made through each point of their journey to becoming a customer. It assists the marketing and sales department to understand customers’ thoughts and behaviors.
But to ensure your sales funnel works successfully, you must manage and maintain it. That’s where funnel management comes into play. The process refers to organizing, tracking and prioritizing the different interactions that happen simultaneously within a sales funnel.
Yet, it’s worth noting that customers don’t always funnel through the process as neatly as you would imagine. That’s why a strong sales funnel management system is crucial.
In addition to tracking, qualifying and prioritizing leads through sales funnel management — marketing and sales also understand how to target prospects in each funnel stage.
What Are the Stages of a Sales Funnel Management?
The first step to sales funnel management involves having a clear picture of each funnel stage. Most companies follow the Awareness > Interest > Decision > Action framework. However, you can always tweak it to your buyer’s journey.
Here’s a breakdown of each stage of funnel management.
In the Awareness stage, the prospect has just discovered your brand or product.
The goal for marketers or sales reps is to help the prospect understand the benefits of your product. This stage is more about educating the potential customer than making a flashy sales pitch.
At this stage, you can leverage the following strategies appropriately:
- Print advertising
- Articles and blog posts
- Cold calls and emails
- Social media marketing
- Paid digital advertising
The goal of this stage is to encourage the prospect to return for more.
Prospects at this stage are certain they need a solution to their problem. Therefore, they’re ready to learn more about your product. Now that you’ve captured their attention, the salesperson can do everything they can to learn about their goals and desires.
To achieve this, you can try to get their contact information and send highly-targeted content. Yet, no one is willing to hand over their data without receiving something in return.
With this in mind, you’ll need to create a lead magnet that can offer value, including:
- Case studies
- Product comparisons
- Long-form blog posts
Keeping track of metrics can help you tweak your strategy at this stage.
In the Decision stage, prospects turn from cold to warm. Yet, this is part of the funnel many companies take for granted and don’t manage well.
At the decision stage, prospects truly like your offering and are eager to find a solution. Your goal here is to give them a good reason to say yes. Therefore, you can make it easy by providing testimonials, product discounts, promotional offers, free trials and compelling case studies.
Keep in mind that you want to avoid being too pushy on your end. Take a no-pressure approach and allow the buyer to feel like they’re in control.
This is the last stage of the funnel and an exciting one for your sales team. The Action stage means they’re at the bottom of the funnel and ready to commit.
This part is where the salesperson must close the deal and pivot them to a positive onboarding experience. However, one mistake sellers make is neglecting to ask for the sale. Many sales reps assume it’s an automatic yes.
Yet, you’d be surprised how many of these deals turn into an almost or maybe. So ensure you close it by asking.
Furthermore, the Action stage involves planning an outstanding onboarding experience. Some companies have this dedicated to the seller, while others have a specialized onboarding and customer success team.
Regardless, ensure the transition process is seamless and helpful to the customer.
Winning Sales Funnel Management Strategies
1. Use Tools to Manage Your Sales or Lead Funnel
Using the best tools for the job can make all the difference in your funnel management. A few great tools to help you maintain sales funnel success include:
- Customer Relationship Management Software: Using a good CRM will help you effectively track your customers throughout the stages of your funnel with tasks and reminders.
- Email Tracking Software: Tracking your email open and click rates gives you the ability to structure your content appropriately.
- Scheduling Software: It’s easier to keep track of and schedule meetings with a click of a button.
2. Reduce the Friction in Your Sales Funnel
If you find your prospects are dropping out of your sales funnel, you might be wondering what you did wrong.
The best way to handle this is by assessing where the drop-offs occur in the funnel. By gathering this information, you can determine which strategies to improve to ensure you’re transitioning leads to the next stages.
For example, suppose you have your leads fill out a contact form to have a sales rep contact them to schedule a meeting.
Rather than adding an extra step with contacting, you could minimize friction by redirecting the lead to book a time in the calendar.
3. Measure and Adjust Your Stages of the Funnel
The key to having a successful sales funnel is measuring every stage of it. That way, you can identify where the problems lie in your pipeline by analyzing the conversion rates. In addition, you can find out where your leads are becoming stagnant.
Rather than allowing this issue to happen, you can coach your sales team to deploy outreach once the lead crosses a certain threshold of zero contact. For example, if it’s been 30 days or more without contact, your team can create reminders to take a specific action.
Keeping your pipeline unclogged leads to better communication with qualified leads and accurate sales forecasts.
4. Stay Focused on Key Tasks
If your business brings in hundreds of leads each day, you could be drowning in emails and other tasks. As a result, your sales process slows down and you could be losing qualified leads.
The best way to keep on top of your priorities is to set up reminders and task automation. Automating tasks ensures your team is following up with prospects more efficiently. Therefore, they complete their tasks quicker and continue to find valuable opportunities for your business.
5. Align Your Marketing and Sales Funnels
Marketing and sales go hand-in-hand — and it’s critical to ensure your teams are communicating effectively to drive revenue.
Ensure you’re aligning your marketing and sales funnels by:
- Specifying the metrics that matter.
- Holding teams accountable for achieving goals.
- Meeting regularly to address changes and share new information relevant to customer behavior.
6. Use Targeted Messaging Based on Funnel Stages
Your sales team can target their messaging appropriately when they know what stage they’re at in the sales funnel.
To be sure your messaging works well, your team needs to have access to content aligned with each funnel stage. Using this technique will help your team members communicate variously based on your leads’ locations.
In turn, you provide a steady stream of communication at every stage.
Implement Funnel Management Success
Streamlining your sales process may take time, but it’s worth the effort. Use these tips to manage your sales funnel successfully. By doing so, you maintain organization within your team and close more business deals in less time.