Sales Funnel Guide: How to Manage Each Stage to Generate Revenue

Understanding the funnel is half the battle

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Are you looking for ways to gain more qualified leads, win more deals, and increase revenue at every stage of your sales funnel? Then, you’ve come to the right place.

In this article, we’ll walk you through the traditional B2B sales funnel, why it doesn’t work anymore, and how to build a sales funnel that will actually help you get closer to your potential customers and generate more revenue for your business.

A Traditional Sales Funnel: What Is a Sales Funnel?

A sales funnel is a tool for visualizing the journey from the moment a prospect contacts you to when they buy your product or use your service. As this prospect moves through the sales funnel, they become more familiar with your business and offerings.

Traditionally, a sales funnel includes four stages: awareness, interest, desire, and action. But this approach doesn’t work anymore.

How Is the Sales Funnel Evolving?

Covid-19 has changed many things, and one of them is consumer behaviors. Previously, a buyer may want to meet a seller face-to-face to seek information about a product and then ask for a proposal via post. But now, more and more people use email, social media, videos, and other digital channels to interact with a business.

According to McKinsey, over 75% of buyers and sellers say they now prefer digital self-service and remote human engagement over in-person interactions. This finding is also aligned with Gartner’s research, showing that B2B buyers spend only 17% of the total purchase journey with sales reps.

In another study, Kearney suggested that businesses have to update their sales funnel to deal with challenges like increased customer expectations on products and services, demanding omnichannel communications, new entrants with alternative offerings, unconventional business models, and more.

So, how can you keep up with these changes and successfully adapt to them? The answer is adopting technology to segment audiences, create innovative value packages, send personalized email campaigns, track sales opportunities, and more. Kearney emphasized that companies that apply technological solutions about revenues and sales productivity will grow faster than others.

Sales Funnel vs Revenue Funnel: What’s the Difference?

A sales funnel isn’t the same as a revenue funnel.

While a sales funnel represents stages that a prospect goes through toward becoming a customer, a revenue funnel focuses more on activities that help shorten the sales cycle and close more deals. In other words, when it comes to a revenue funnel, it’s all about how to have more customers and more revenue in the shortest time possible.

How to Build Your Sales Funnel in Salesforce?

Here are four steps for building a successful revenue-focused sales funnel:

Step 1: Ensure your sales team and marketing team are on the same page. Involve them in the process of making business decisions, building sales processes, lead generation strategies, workflows, and others.

Also, invest in the right revenue intelligence platform and provide your teams with proper training so they can know how to take advantage of the technology to do their job better.

Step 2: Create your sales cloud CRM objects based on Salesforce’s standard sales core objects, i.e., leads, contacts, accounts, and opportunities.

Step 3: Determine your Salesforce lead and opportunity stages, including persons in charge, the inputs, and outputs of each stage. More on this later.

Step 4: Define and create your reports. Ensure your reports give you insights into new leads over a period of time, conversion rates, how much time it takes to convert a lead, and how long someone has been in a lead or opportunity status.

How to Manage Your Sales Funnel Stages for Revenue Generation?

Every business may have different sales funnels for revenue generation. But most of the time, a typical sales funnel can have the following stages:

1. Prospecting

In this stage, sales reps use email, social media, public relations, and other promotional activities to deliver messages to the target market. From that, they identify and contact potential sales leads. Some businesses might call this stage lead generation.

2. Nurturing

In this stage, sales reps develop and strengthen relationships with potential sales leads through marketing and communication efforts. They try to identify what those prospects want, what their problems are, and provide helpful information.

A successful lead nurturing program should help build trust, build brand awareness, and maintain a good connection with prospects until they purchase.

3. Identifying Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL)

This stage aims to identify marketing-qualified leads who show interest in your business and engage in your communication campaigns. These leads may download a free trial of your product, contact you for a demo, subscribe to your monthly newsletter, or click your Facebook ad.

4. Identifying Sales Qualified Lead (SQL)

In this stage, sales reps determine MQLs who are more likely to become customers (a.k.a. sales qualified leads). These prospects show signs that they’re ready to talk with your sales reps to get more information about your product that helps inform their buying decision.

5. Determining Opportunity

The opportunity stage is where you start forming a deal. In this stage, it’s important to adopt sales funnel tools like Revenue Grid as it’ll give you actionable insights into your SQLs and how you can convert them quickly.

For example, Revenue Grid provides signals and deal guidance that provides your reps with recommendations and an actionable list of next steps to move deals forward. These suggestions are powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and updated in real-time, so you’ll always stay on top of your sales funnel and never miss any opportunities.

Revenue Grid’s team analytics is another tool you can use to improve sales performance. It allows you to track what your sales reps are doing, who are the top performers, and how you can use sales coaching to help your reps work more effectively.

6. Closing Deals (Closed-won Opportunity)

A closed-won opportunity means you win a deal; in other words, a prospect fulfills the payment and starts using your product. You then should provide great onboarding experiences, customer support, and other services you mention in your proposal.

Note that if a lead isn’t ready to purchase, you should recycle the lead. This means you bring them back to the lead nurturing stage and continue to nurture them until they’re sales-ready. If there is no chance to convert this lead, you should move them to a disqualified or deferred status.

Now that you’ve understood how to create a sales funnel for revenue generation. Contact us for a Revenue Grid demo, and we’ll show you how it can become a game-changer for your sales team and your business.

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