He had been using a CRM software system but felt it didn’t give him enough information on what each sales person was doing daily and weekly.
Working with other B2B companies that do not have a sales funnel, I knew there was likely another common problem.
I asked if production had problems after a sales person closes a deal because they don’t have production time scheduled and parts/materials in stock to produce the product for delivery.
Sure enough, production wasn’t aware in advance of new potential sales and deliveries were late on special orders.
If we start with a basic sales funnel of five levels to winning or losing a sale, then management has the knowledge to help close the sale and forecast ahead what is needed in the next one to six months for production.
- Qualification. Sales has spoken with the lead and determined that can the company provide product they need.
- Product Demo and/or lead. Technical requirements for the product have been submitted.
- Quote/Offer. Working with manufacturing and inside technical team, a quote is prepared and sent.
- Follow-up and negotiation of quote.
- Commitment. Prospect commits to take the offer.
- Closed Won
- Closed Loss
Optional funnel stages:
- Follow-up of delivery and satisfaction.
- Repeat sale. Ask for another order.
At what point should management become involved in a Sales Funnel?
At stage three, management is involved in quoting by reviewing requirements for the sale. Management should be looking at their manufacturing schedule and forecasting the time required to fulfill a new sale.
Based on the quote management should assess what other assets are needed such as parts, finished goods and delivery scheduling conflicts might exist.
Now they can add to the quote a commitment that if the prospect agrees by a certain date, a delivery can be completed on time.
At stage four the sales team should be communicating with management on any questions, problems, or possible delays should the prospect accept the quote.
All along, management and production are in communication for planning, forecasting, and rescheduling to accommodate the new production job so they are ready.
If the prospect accepts the offer at stage five, then management and the entire production and delivery team will be prepared to start production and deliver on time.
Sales, management and production are now working together as a team:
- Everyone is aware of the deals in the sales funnel.
- Management and production are always up to date on what sales is projecting and any challenges to closing a deal.
A Sales Funnel with the right stages in the sales process will give you the tools and insights to track sales activity.
In upcoming articles, we’ll help you understand more about a CRM, see if one is right for you, and show you what to look for. You’ll also learn what to expect and plan for if you decide to implement a CRM.
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- by Joseph Norcott, Business Sales and Marketing Automation Strategist