Getting to grips with sales can be tricky, there’s jargon thrown about like confetti and metaphors for everything. But does anyone actually know what it all means?
You’d like to think so, as on average, sales teams must hear about their pipeline and funnel at least 20 times a day. Although how are they even distinguished and why are they sometimes used interchangeably?
The bottom line is, they shouldn’t be. If you think about an actual pipe and a funnel, they’re shaped very differently. So why would sales be any different? One is designed with precision and focus in mind, the other acts as a guide. You start to see my point?
Let’s take a better look.
What is a sales pipeline?
Let’s start where all sales processes start, with the pipeline. A sales pipeline begins when a lead starts showing interest in your business, right through to them converting to a paying customer.
Ultimately, a pipeline is a visual tracker of your sales process, allowing your sales team to determine which prospects need their attention and what they need to do to achieve their goals. How? Lead management tools like CANDDi can help. Our clever mix of IP Lookup + cookie tracking + our own algorithms = tracking and identification of individual visitors on your website. This means you can monitor your pipeline at all stages.
Differing from business to business, a typical sales pipeline is made up of five stages:
Prospecting: the identification of potential customers that could be a good fit for your business.
Qualification: Determining if your prospect has the characteristics to be a potential customer. This usually includes identifying their needs, budget and genuity. If you need help knowing where to focus, CANDDi has the ability to segment and filter your list of prospects so you can effectively weed out the time wasters. Interested?
Meeting: Sales meetings have changed for most of us, but the new and virtual normal isn’t any less important. Whether it’s through video call or the old school telephone, it’s crucial to get to speak to your prospects to discover how your product/ service best fits their operation.
Proposal: The big one. Prospects have shown an interest and it looks like there’s a good fit. It’s time to get to business and detail a quote, laying out what will be provided, at what cost and for how long.
Closing: That’s it. You’ve gained a customer.
So if a sales pipeline monitors how you get your customers, what does a sales funnel do? No wonder there’s some confusion, as the stages of a sales funnel are the same as a sales pipeline, only represented differently. Sales funnels enable sales teams to understand the volume of deals in total and their conversion rate, rather than how a specific customer is moving through the process.
For instance, if you want to get an overview of all your current sales efforts, you can use your sales pipeline to understand how many leads are at each stage of the process. But, if you want more detail as to where your deals are falling down, or on the other hand doing really well, the sales funnel can demonstrate your drop-offs and successes so you can create solutions for each.
Long story short…
It’s not easy. But with practice comes perfection, and if you’re wanting immediate results, let CANDDi guide you.
We can help you identify your website visitors, enabling your teams to capture leads before the competition. Prioritize those leads by concentrating your efforts on the hottest leads with our detailed profiles and lead scoring, increase your marketing ROI by tracking the success of your output and finally, allow you to make timely sales decisions with real-time data that allows you to take action when it matters most.
If this sounds good to you, get in touch today, or register for our 30-day free trial. No commitment, no obligation, no complication.