A survey revealed that while most salespeople believe their sales funnel is “good enough,” they are struggling with closing sales in their prospected time frame–which signals a breakdown in their funnel management and pipeline review process. Bob Apollo tackles this issue in a recent article for CustomerThink.com, reporting that “less than 50% of forecasted sales opportunities close as expected.” To help salespeople better qualify their leads and improve their funnels’ flow, he shares easy questions to ask oneself to determine whether or not a prospect is worth pursuing.

  • Where is the prospect in his/her own process? It’s important to first uncover at what stage of the decision-making process your prospect currently is in–not where he or she has been. “If you are still basing your pipeline stages primarily on what your salesperson has done, then good luck to you, because you’ll struggle to predict anything with any accuracy,” Apollo writes. Instead, focus on where he or she is at in the decision-making process at the moment to better forecast where he or she is going next in the journey.
  • Where do you stand in their ranking? It’s vital to differentiate your value proposition compared to other vendors they are considering; doing so establishes you above those who are merely the cheapest or most convenient option. He adds, “claiming that you add value in ways that are not directly relevant to them simply makes you look more expensive than you ought to be. Don’t do it.” Take a moment to evaluate your relative ranking to other vendors before pushing the prospect further through the funnel.
  • Can you really do business together? While prospects buy to solve an issue, they base much of their vendor selection on having a shared vision. Don’t just sell based on your product or service’s capability but also how well you understand and can support the prospect’s vision: Whether you are able to share this vision will have an impact on the sales process.

Bring your funnel from “good enough” to amazing by taking time to consider Apollo’s initiatives and taking the time to examine -and tweak- your funnel management.