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Sales funnels span from low tech post-it notes to sophisticated automated systems that process thousands of leads a day. Depending on your needs there is a perfect tool for the job. In the early days most entrepreneurs can get really far with simply using excel and a google calendar to create their sales funnels. However, if you are a business to consumer company where you will be processing multiple orders a day, such as an e-commerce site, your sales funnel is going to need to be a little more sophisticated.
A point of confusion is if a sales funnel is a sales tool or a marketing tool. At the end of the day, WHO CARES. Sales funnels can be managed by an internal sales/marketing team or if you have an external sales force each sale representative will have their own sales funnel. The key is to use one. Sales funnels vary greatly based on who is managing them and implement them. Marketing teams that manage sales funnels tend to rely on technology platforms, landing pages, automated e-mail responses to move their prospective leads to a buying decision. Internal and external sales representatives tend to use less sophisticated systems as they use a sales funnel to keep track of and rank opportunities.
When deciding how to create your sales funnel you should just think about how best to move a potential customer from the top of the funnel to the bottom where the sale is completed.
PRO-TIP: One of the best ways to increase sales is to identify potential customers that have stalled somewhere in your sales funnel and re-engage with them. Follow-up is the key to meeting your sales goals.
A point of confusion for many is the difference between a sales funnel and a CRM (Customer Resource Management) system. Sales funnels are for customer acquisition, CRM's are for customer management and ongoing contact. CRM's might lead back to the top of the sales funnel for a second or third sale.
- Keeps your team laser focused.
- Can be used to rank priority of opportunities.
- Gets it out of your head so you can delegate to others or build a team.
- Drastically lessens the probability of a missed follow up.
- Can be time consuming to setup.
- Usually requires some amount of data entry and management.
- Requires a commitment from the whole team to use it.
- Can be unnecessarily complicated.