Funnel pains: what makes a healthy sales funnel?

Nearly every sales force has a sales funnel or sales pipeline, yet most companies use it for forecasting and other low-impact purposes.

Tue, Apr 12, 2016 blog

François Delvaux

However based on our experience and past sales research, the better performing companies who are successful in managing their sales funnel actually GROW revenues by up to 28% and have more productive sales teams.

Common pain points linked to funnel management

  • Sales funnel that does not reflect reality and low level of confidence in its accuracy (old opportunities, wrong probability of closure, missing or wrong information,…)
  • Sales opportunities not aligned with where is the customer in the buying journey
  • Sales managers not effective in coaching their teams specific to funnel management
  • CRM and company’s sales policies that does not effectively support sales funnel related activities or focuses behaviors on the wrong metrics
  • Sales person or teams not focusing their time on the relevant activities specific to funnel management and working on the wrong sales opportunities or priorities

The Sales Management Association shows that the sales pipeline is a VERY important tool for sales managers. In fact, 72% of sales managers hold sales pipeline review meetings with their sales representatives several times each month. Unfortunately, 61% claim that they have not been adequately trained in pipeline management, and 63% say that their companies do a bad job of managing their sales pipelines. It appears that the sales pipeline is a very important thing that is being managed very badly.

Health of your sales funnel

So what makes a healthy sales funnel? Bigger is better, right? Unfortunately, our research reveals that bigger sales funnels are not necessarily better. A sales funnel that is full of inflated sales opportunities waste the time of both the sellers and their managers.

Only 21% of the sales managers in our research actually look to see what kind of deals are in their sales pipelines. It is important to teach the sales managers how to ensure that the contents of the sales funnel of their account managers or sales representatives are good, winnable deals that are aligned with their companies’ go-to-market strategies.

A common missed opportunity is failure to use key metrics such as deal progression to identify strengths and weaknesses in their sales reps and coach them to win more deals. The review of a sales funnel should be a coaching tool and help focus the sales teams on the right opportunities, qualify well their sales opportunities and ask the relevant questions to meet or exceed the sales quota.

For any B2B business the sales funnel management is a critical activity for almost all of the sales forces we know, and better funnel management can make a huge difference in sales performance. With great sales funnel management, forecasts are achieved, sales targets are hit, and sales reps become much more productive. With status quo sales funnel management, you get status quo performance. And as our research shows, most sales managers aren’t happy with the status quo.

To boost your sales performance discover our training dedicated for sales managers to help sales managers to become more effective in coaching their sales teams specific to sales funnel management and boost sales performance linked to sales management activities.

François Delvaux

About François Delvaux

Francois Delvaux, Partner at Minds&More, has over 20 years’ experience in defining and implementing business growth strategies and realising quantifiable results. He has a broad expertise in building marketing and sales capabilities of teams, deploying marketing and sales processes and structure, and activating marketing growth strategies.

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