To be successful in sales requires understanding how all your sales activities fit into achieving your ultimate goals. You can't count on achieving success while acting without purpose. The sale funnel, or pipeline, is intended to provide the sales professional with a structured, methodical, method of approaching their sales activity.
A well maintained sales pipeline also provides visibility into the number of contacts, leads and deals that are being worked on as well as the likelihood of each of them closing. By offering this kind of visibility, the funnel becomes a valuable tool for representatives and managers alike to understand and forecast how sales activity is affecting the company.
At the very top of the funnel, prospects are added to the sales pipeline through a variety of channels including social media, advertising and email marketing, cold calling, and web forms.
Prospects that engage with marketing campaigns are considered to be marketing qualified and are passed on to the sales team to be further engaged and qualified. This is often where a sales development rep is utilized.
Once a prospect enters the deal stage, they are sales qualified. At this point, they are being actively pitched with the intention of closing the sale.
Once a sale is closed, there are a number of actions that need to be taken to onboard the client and ensure a successful business relationship moving forward. For many companies, this is also where a ownership is transitioned from sales to account management.
MQL- Marketing Qualified Lead. A prospect is handed off from marketing to sales once it's been qualified by a marketing campaign. An example of this is a prospect opting into receive a newsletter. The basic criteria at this point is that the lead is worth a sales follow up.
SQL- Sales Qualified Lead indicates a higher level of qualification. A prospect becomes sales qualified when a prospect is actively engaged with a sales representative.
Measuring your sales activity and results is an important part of a successful sales pipeline. In the PipelineDeals CRM, it is easy to track your entire sales pipeline. Measure and report on the quantity and size of deals and understand your close ratio and the length of your sales cycle.
Number of deals in your funnel
Average size of a deal in your funnel
Close ratio - average percentage of deals that get won
Average deal lifetime before it's won - or sales velocity