Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Spring-Clean That Sales Funnel to Keep Leads Flowing

If lead flow has slowed and lead performance is spotty, maybe it's time for spring cleaning of the sales funnel. A recent post by Megan Totka, chief editor of, offers a recipe for how even a small business can clean and polish its sales process. Start by purging old, unresponsive leads--plus, we would add, update contact and targeting information, and clean up inaccuracies and formatting of retained prospect data. Then create a time frame for contact and follow-up so leads don't go stale. Totka points out that the odds of qualifying and converting a lead increase by 21 times if called within 5 minutes, compared to 30 minutes. Obviously, speedy entry of new, qualified leads is an important system goal. But those incoming leads need good pipeline processes not only for lead entry but also lead qualification and management. CRM software can help, but it boils down to deciding on basics for turning leads into sales opportunities. Totka lists some key questions to ask: When leads come in from various sources, where do they go? How much time do you have to enter them? Who or what qualifies them? Who or what moves them along in the funnel? How much time do sales agents have to follow up with the leads? With those issues in mind, evaluate new or existing sales processes for problem areas, places where leads leak out, or stick and go stale. Still, no matter how good the sales funnel, it only works if a steady flow of leads is entering, and that means adjusting marketing strategy to boost qualified lead generation--testing and optimizing targeted e-mail, direct mail, social media and online promotions. If qualified leads aren't converting despite good targeting, then seek prospect feedback. Is it an overly complex sales process or something more basic like noncompetitive pricing? Test and readjust the lead gen and sales processes, adding lead nurturing, in the form of follow-up e-mails or calls, to move prospects past sticking points. However, even if the sales pipeline is pleasingly full, don't forget to keep purging unresponsive and inaccurate data to prevent costly clogs! For the complete article:

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