I’ve been in the sales prospecting game for many years and in that time I’ve had many revelations about the “bigger picture” of sales. Have you ever stopped to notice that the sales process involves two identical sales funnels? In fact, there’s value in treating your prospecting the way you would your standard sales funnel.
What is the Sales Funnel?
It’s the representation of how we turn a pool of leads into clients. If you’re any kind of salesperson, you’ve probably heard the phrase, “It’s a numbers game,” ad infinitum. You know the routine. You start with, say, 20 qualified leads; then you schedule presentations/demos with 10 of those leads; then you whittle them down further - sending emails and following up with 5 of those; at last, you get ink on 2 deals.
But where did those 20 qualified leads come from? Maybe canvassing, maybe telemarketing, maybe even a nice direct mail piece. Somehow, though, it started with a pool of prospects that got whittled down into qualified leads.
There is a lot to gain by viewing your prospecting as an incarnation of your sales funnel. Whether you’re doing your own prospecting, or you have an inside salesperson setting qualified appointments for you, follow a funnel process and you’ll benefit from better tracking and process management.
At Vendere Partners, our experience with teleprospecting has shown us that, generally:
1.) It’s best to start with 100-200 prospects.
2.) The next step is to make a phone call, and one of a few things will happen: left voicemail, OR referred to someone else, OR spoke with the prospect and sent more information.
3.) Depending on what happened in the conversation, your 150 prospects start to trickle down your funnel, and some turn into appointments with qualified decision makers.
4.) As your prospects either get filtered out at some level, or become leads, it’s important to replenish your prospect base, when necessary, to always maintain at least 100 at the top of the funnel – or else you might find yourself with a gap in leads coming in.
Any way you slice it, someone qualified that lead and set an appointment to further the process. Maximize your efforts and regard your prospecting funnel in the same way and with similar business metrics as you do your traditional funnel.