Historically, there’s been a rift between sales and marketing, which leads to mistrust and miscommunication between the two teams. This rift can mean the difference between making sales and losing them, stifling your company’s growth rate.
According to a study by the Aberdeen Group, companies with an aligned sales and marketing team achieved 20% annual revenue growth, and those with poor alignment saw revenues decline by 4%.
To continue generating growth and increasing revenue, it’s critical to get your sales and marketing teams working together. The best way to achieve this is to create a sales funnel.
With an effective sales funnel in place, the two teams work together for a common goal and collaborate to attract customers and get them moving down the path to purchasing. If you have a sales funnel that doesn’t seem to be working or need to implement one, you need to understand what a sales funnel is and how to create one for a win-win for you and your customers.
What Is A Sales Funnel
A sales funnel isn't a new concept. It’s a metaphor for a traditional sales process from beginning to end. It’s called a funnel because it shapes a cone that forms as you add criteria to each deal.
Starting on a macro level, your sales funnel starts with many potential buyers at the top based on specific criteria. As you qualify the buyers and find the ones ready to begin the sales process, the number of buyers is reduced to a smaller number of prospects.
As you move to the middle of the customer journey, your prospects reduce to a handful of opportunities. And finally, after the decision-making phase, the sales process ends with a closed-won or a closed-lost deal.
As each potential buyer moves through these phases, the probability of closing the sale changes. The further along the sales funnel, the more information is exchanged and the more probable that using the product will benefit the customer.
Reaching this point creates a higher potential for the deal to succeed unless the deal is moved to a closed-lost where the probability is zero. To mitigate a closed-lost deal, there are specific traits you need to include in your sales funnel. These are:
A clearly defined process to show how to close deals.
The value of future sales is quantified.
Sales teams can build statistics around the size and number of deals needed to exceed quotas.
A methodology to teach salespeople how to move customers through the sales process and into a closing sequence.
Let’s look at how to create a winning sales funnel and how HubSpot helps you achieve this goal.
The Customer Journey
A customer journey compliments your sales funnel and provides you with information on the paths people take from discovery to purchase. Every customer has their own journey.
Mapping out how they discover you and eventually make a purchase helps you put your sales funnel into perspective and create more targeted marketing materials. For example, you’re a food blogger selling cookbooks. Here are a couple of ways that customer journeys happen:
Customer A: They see and click on a banner ad, visit your blog, read an article and sign up for your newsletter. When they get your newsletter, it contains a discount, and they purchase a cookbook.
Customer B: This customer sees your cookbook in a bookshop, buys it, and enjoys the recipes. Wanting to know more, they visit your blog and subscribe to your newsletter.
HubSpot provides a comprehensive guide to creating a customer journey. This powerful tool helps you map out the journey you want to create and move the customer from the top of your sales funnel to the bottom where sales are made.
Lead quality can be the difference between making a sale and potentially wasting time on a lead who really isn’t interested. When aligned, your marketing team can help generate content that increases lead quality and provide sales teams a better chance at closing a sale.
There are two ways to qualify a lead in order to create a handoff between marketing and sales. A potential customer’s specific traits and actions indicate they are a good fit for your company and when they’re ready to talk to a salesperson.
1. Is the lead a good fit?
Depending on your target customer, software companies with 5,000 or more employees or a small service with fewer than 200 employees. Regardless of your target customer, you can identify lead profiles by job description and role in the decision-making process. This helps you determine if the marketing department moves the customer to the sales team.
2. Are they interested?
How a lead interacts with your marketing funnel reveals how close they are to making a purchase. For example, if they only visited your website once or followed you on social media, they may be aware of your company but not fully engaged yet. In contrast, a lead requesting a demo or looking at pricing information is more interested and closer to a buying decision.
HubSpot offers specific lead reporting to help you determine the lead’s quality and interest in making a purchase. This tool provides critical data that offers sales and marketing teams insight into leads who interact with your website and marketing materials.
Identifying leads is just the tip of the iceberg. The next step is to score leads based on the criteria you’ve set during the buyer journey.
Lead scoring plays an essential role in helping you qualify the best leads for your sales team to pursue. Lead scoring is a point system where you assign point values to key sets of criteria, specific properties, and actions that are associated with a contact in your CRM.
These points either increase or decrease over time and the sum of the points is the lead’s score to indicate the likelihood of making a purchase. HubSpot provides an exceptional lead scoring tool. Let’s see how it works.
Automated Lead Scoring
To find the best leads, predictive scoring powered by machine learning parses through thousands of data points to identify the best leads without you having to comb through each lead’s qualifications.
The longer you use the automated system, the better your predictive scores perform, providing a more optimized strategy for lead follow-up.
You have more control over your scoring data based on other HubSpot information gathering. This involves tracking form submissions, page views, clicks on calls-to-action, email interactions, and more.
Your lead score can be used to segment email lists, trigger representative notifications, and enable integrations. Gathering this information allows you to adjust your web content to show different content to leads with higher scores.
Optimize Your Sales Funnel
Using all the data collection tools, you can identify the different stages in your sales funnel. These stages help you optimize your sales funnel on an ongoing basis. This means you need to continually analyze key metrics at each stage of the sales funnel.
The metrics you should be following are:
The visitor to Lead Conversion Rates
Lead to Marketing Quality Lead (MQL) Conversion Rate
Percentage of Sales Accepted Leads
Your Lead Work Rates
The MQL to Opportunity Conversion Rates
Opportunity to Customer Conversion Rates
Your Sales Cycle Length
The Average Cost per Sale
Tracking these metrics frequently helps you assess where you may not be nurturing effectively in an area of marketing. Naturally, your funnel will develop a hole or a clog somewhere along the customer journey. Tracking these metrics helps you identify and fix these issues to keep your sales and marketing teams creating engaging content to keep leads moving down the sales funnel.
Want To Know More?
Selworthy is a HubSpot Gold Certified Agency Partner, and our HubSpot experts can help you use the sales funnel tools to optimize and scale your sales and marketing teams. You’ve worked hard to build your brand. Let us help you increase this brand recognition and drive qualified leads down your sales funnel to increase profits and provide exceptional service to your existing customers.
It’s our goal to help create an effective sales funnel to help you scale your business as you grow. Schedule a call today and let one of our team members show you how we do what we do.