By Henry Mueller
Henry Mueller is Vice President-Eastern Region Sales at AchieveGlobal. Henry has an extensive track record of major success in new business development, sales, and relationship management in diverse industries. He is highly adept creating and refining value propositions for new business development; developing and optimizing the right resources for new business growth; achieving hard-to-reach growth objectives; building new business relationships that endure; and coaching sales leadership to develop enduring, high-performing teams.
If your nightly news weather-person was 100 percent wrong, 100 percent of the time, you’d likely switch to another network to get a preview of your weather for the week ahead. On the other hand, a consistently reliable meteorologist will more likely win your confidence and viewership night after night, and might even help you figure out what to wear tomorrow.
The same thinking applies in the sales organization. Salespeople who are able to achieve predictive funnel management gain the trust of their business associates and can often help leaders make better-informed decisions.
A series of articles posted by Miller Heiman offer great perspective on the ideas behind effective funnel management and building a systematic approach to managing opportunities that are currently available to your company.
The sales funnel is recognized for its role in helping companies make – or even break – revenue and sales goals. Time and again, research shows companies that effectively use sales funnel management are more likely to achieve sales success. But what are the key components of a sales funnel, and what are the steps in achieving reliable predictions through funnel management?
A sales funnel should provide a visual representation of how many prospects there are at each stage of your company’s sales cycle, and include conversions rates for each stage.
For many companies, breaking free from the plague of “short-termism” seems overwhelming. It may seem difficult enough to achieve short term goals, let alone plan for the long-term. But by standardizing how the sales team defines an opportunity and encouraging transparency throughout the sales process, companies are better able to plan strategically and predict more accurately their successes.
It can help to focus on three distinct stages in the funnel management process:
- Define and agree upon a common definition of the stages in the sales funnel.
- Come to common agreement on what steps are required for an opportunity to move through the sales funnel.
- Make transparent the identification of opportunities and progress of those opportunities through the funnel.
Like the weather, the sales climate is always changing. Keeping tuned into the signs of change and to reliable forecasts can help one weather these changes, and even thrive.