The Difference Between a Sales Funnel and a Sales Pipeline
Sales funnel is sometimes referred to as a sales process or a revenue funnel. It refers to the process businesses take their customers through when they are making a purchase.
This funnel is usually divided into several steps, which will differ depending on the sales model being used by the respective business.
The most common sales process is divided into the following 7 steps:
This is the part where the prospect comes to the realization that he/she has a problem and there are a number of solutions available to them.
This is the stage where the prospects show their interest in a product by searching for more information about it.
This is the stage in which the prospect or the prospect company examines solutions from your competitors as they move toward the final purchasing decision.
This is the step in which the final decision by the prospect is reached and the negotiations can begin.
This is the stage of the funnel where the service or product is actually purchased by the customer.
This is mostly common in B2B where contracts need to be renewed. In this phase, the customer will enter a reevaluation stage more so when the contract comes to a close where they decide whether or not to renew their contract with you.
This is the final stage of the sales funnel where a customer comes back again to purchase another service or product.
Tips For Improving Your Sales Funnel
• You should use multiple marketing channels to attract visitors to your website. These channels include off-site SEO, direct mail campaigns, PPC advertising and cold calling. The channels that you use will differ depending on the industry you are in.
• Ensure that you analyze the effectiveness of your marketing strategy. This will help you to understand which marketing channels are most productive and also analyze your website traffic as well as inbound phone calls.
The data collected will go a long way in helping you make informed decisions so that you don’t waste your efforts.
• Ensure that you add blog posts to your website as frequently as possible. This will go a long way in increasing your SEO and also help you to engage with the clients that you have currently.
• Ensure you pay attention to what your customers and prospects and also adjust your website accordingly.
Answer any questions that a customer or prospect asks you relating to your brand in a public forum because there may be other people with a similar question.
• Ensure that you add more than one CTA button in your website. This is because most of the time prospects may decide to make a conversion at different areas on your website and having only one CTA button at on specific location may inconvenience them.
Ensure you also add incentives to you CTA such as free eBooks for those who are still not decided to make a purchase just yet.
• Re-target the website visitors who did not convert the first time. You can decide to decide to run a campaign that will display advertisements on the popular websites which will only be displayed to people who had previously visited your website.
• Ensure that you stamp your authority in your industry as this will make your prospects trust you more and even seek you out themselves.
You can do this by hosting webinars or planning lunch and learn events as often as possible. This will ensure your brand name grows and even attract some inbound links to your website which would greatly benefit your SEO
What Is A Sales Pipeline?
This can be described as a visual representation of the sales prospects and which stage they are in the purchasing process.
Sales pipelines provide the sales rep with an overview of his account forecast and also show how close he/she is to making a quota or how close the entire sales team is at reaching its quota.
This will make it possible for the reps and managers to come up with a forecast of the number and dollar amounts from deals that will be closed within a given period of time.
Sales pipeline will sometimes visualize the lifecycles of various prospects from the initial stage of interaction until the deal is closed. The steps taken include the following:
• Gathering information on incoming leads
• Using methods such as lead scoring to qualify a prospect into a marketing-qualified lead and then into a sales-qualified lead.
• The next step is validating the qualified lead into a sales opportunity
• The last step is registering the deal as closed, lost or hold.
What are the Features of an Effective Sales Pipeline?
• There will be a high number of deals in the pipeline process
• The average size of the deal in the pipeline should be large enough
• The number of closed deals within the pipeline should give you a high closing ratio
• The average time taken to close a deal should be very little for the sales pipeline to be considered to be effective.
The Differences Between a Sales Funnel and a Sales Pipeline
• The people involved in a sales funnel are usually interested in the numbers game while those involved in sales pipeline are mainly concentrating on the process.
• The second difference is in strategy because the sales funnel feeds the sales pipeline where once the visitor is converted into a prospect, he/she moves into the sales pipeline.
• In the sales funnel we classify companies into groups, record the dates and details of the last contact and set actions for the next action using tags while in sales pipeline we use the sales pipeline management which contains the process, sales plan, milestones and actions.
• A sales pipeline report shows the value and quantity of all the deals made in each stage of the pipeline at the moment which the report was run while a sales funnel report gives the forecast sales based on the current volume of leads and also identifies where deals are getting stuck so the sales team can improve their process.
• A sales pipeline report will show what a seller does during the whole sales process while the sales funnel report will show the conversion rates through the whole sales process.
If you had earlier thought sales funnel and sales pipeline is one and the same thing then I hope that this article helped to set you straight. These two things have some major similarities and work very efficiently together to give the great benefits.
I hope that the information provided in this extensive article has been able to clearly explain to you what sales funnel and sales pipeline are so as to avoid any future confusion that may arise and to enable you to use them effectively for the success of your marketing campaigns.
They are both individually important for customer targeting, attraction of prospects and turning the prospects into long-term customers for increased revenue and business growth.
I would like to appreciate you for taking the time to read this article. I hope it provided you with the information you are seeking.