Skip to content
11 min read

How to Keep Your Sales Funnel Reliable

Featured Image

 

This is the full funnel freedom podcast, supporting sales leaders, and managers to improve their sales funnels from people to prospects. I'm Hamish Knox. In this show, you'll learn how you can improve your results. Lead a great team and hit more targets with full funnel freedom. Welcome to episode one of the full funnel freedom podcast.

I'm your host Haman. In this episode, I will be sharing with you ideas and insights on how to keep your sales funnel reliable. This episode will be a little bit longer than the others. Because I will be sharing with you some ideas and insights that I will expand on in future episodes. So stick with me and you'll learn how to keep your sales funnel at reliable on a consistent repeatable basis.

Here's the first insight for the day. We don't keep our sales funnel reliable. Our team does. As leaders, our role is to create success through others. If we wanted to create success through ourselves, while we'd be in a frontline sales role, and we wouldn't be in a leadership position, there are six key components to creating full funnel freedom in your organization and making your sales funnel reliable.

But before we get to those sex, first of all, we need to identify, do we have. The best fit people on our team. I believe that everybody is a wonderful human being. They may just be a bad fit for the role. Several years ago, I was visiting with the CEO of a pipe company who sells an oil and gas, and he had three salespeople on the.

We did a little bit of profiling on each of those salespeople before we agreed to move forward with any sort of a training plan. Now, when the results came back, one of those salespeople profiled out as completely untrainable. Again, wonderful person. Didn't show necessarily the makeup for someone who is going to not only want to learn new skills, but necessarily implement them well, because those surveys are really just data.

And I need to ask questions kind of like a medical professional reviewing blood work or an x-ray. I discovered from the CEO that this individual was 18 months or less away from retirement. So I said, Please do not invest in them. Certainly happy to give them some resources to support their learning, but I don't necessarily know that you'll ever get an ROI out of your investment in working with us.

CEO said really appreciate you saying that. So we moved on the next sales person, completely trainable, oddly enough, also the best salesperson on the team and the third salesperson was, eh, they might do it. They might not, but. Really didn't know. So I said to the CEO, I'm not a shareholder, this is your business.

I'm telling you what the blood work says. And you know, the based on the survey results. This, person's probably going to want to bail within five months, because they're going to see that we're looking to turn your ship one degree to the right. Maybe you're already a successful business. We're just going to add in a couple of different things to make you even more awesome than you already are.

Unfortunately, this person is not going to want to make that one degree. Well five months to the day that I had that conversation with the CEO, the CEO called up the sales person who was in their sales office in a separate part of the city and said, I'm going to come meet with you this afternoon, which was code for I'm coming to let you go.

And that sales person said, I'm glad you called me. I was going to call you today and tell you that I've taken another job. Which of course the CEO is okay with, because save them a severance package, but interesting that sales person had four different new jobs with different companies over the ensuing six months doesn't make them a bad person, just made them a bad fit for that role.

So once we determine if we have the right fits on our team, the next thing that we need to do is step one of the components of full funnel freedom. And that. Clearly identifying your ideal prospect profiles until we do this. Anybody who our salespeople trip over or who falls into their lap, our ideal prospects and all of us have had enough experience to know that all business is not good business, even in a global pandemic, which we have all lived in are living.

With these clearly identified prospect profiles. We want to create real clarity with our salespeople as to what exactly is an ideal prospect for us best practice is to have three to five of these ideal prospect profiles. And I'm going to dive into ideal prospect profiles in a later episode, but we want to have that real clarity so we can eliminate the Hey boss.

I got a real hot lead going on here because. Hot lead means different things to different people as does small, medium and large. So with clearly identified ideal prospect profiles, we start to create the basis for full funnel freedom because our team. Who they're supposed to prospect, and we can have a direct conversation and an effective conversation with our each individual salesperson in our one-on-one meetings about the types of prospect they have in their funnel now, and what they're going to need to get in their funnel in order to hit not only their sales target, but also earn enough commission to reach their personal goals for them.

Second component of creating full funnel. Freedom is a focus on weekly lead generation. Now this is mostly a marketing function. Marketing is really everything that happens before. One of our salespeople says hello to a prospect, but we can certainly make those. Conversations from hello forward, much more effective.

If we've got a weekly lead generation focus, now our salespeople can do this as well by producing and or sharing content. On their social media and with their clients and prospects that is relevant to their clients and prospects. So by understanding the world that our clients and prospects are in, we can go out and either create or find content that is relevant to.

And share it with them so we can create what is of course known as thought leadership, which is becoming a bit of an overused word. But what it does mean is we get to stand out based on how we're selling instead of what we're selling, because our prospects begin to trust our salespeople through the content that they are sharing, whether it's created internally or whether it is from another source.

So hold your salespeople accountable to some kind of lead generation activity on a weekly basis and enroll your marketing group. Who's probably already doing some kind of lead generation to focus that lead generation on your ideal prospect profile. Third component of full form of freedom is a commitment to weekly proactive prospecting.

And that is proactive, which means our salesperson is in control of whether or not they have a conversation with a decision maker at one of their ideal. Companies. So blasting out a bunch of undifferentiated emails to hundreds or thousands of prospects is kind of like God sent a messenger. Yeah. If 1% return works for you and your salespeople in terms of 1% return of yes.

I'd like to have a conversation, not even a close. Great. Keep doing it. When I coach my clients to do is be consistently reaching out on a weekly basis to their ideal prospect profiles in a number of different mediums and formats. So that could be a phone call that could be video that could be via social selling.

That could be at a networking event or a trade show. It could even be direct email or direct mail, a direct mail letter that has aligned saying, I will contact you on date at time. Is a proactive prospecting activity. If, of course our sales person calls at that date at that time, my team and I have got feedback from our prospects in the form of, wow.

You know, when you say that you're going to do something at a specific date and time you do it at that date and time. And our response of course, is, is that okay with you? And everybody says yes, because unfortunately. Our salespeople who aren't as accountable and they don't keep their commitments. And fact, the matter is when we are out prospecting, it's like dating.

And if we are not doing insane, the things that we should do to create. Successful long-term relationship when we're in the dating phase, our prospects are going to wonder what it would be like if we ended up getting married and the answer is we're probably not. So coach your salespeople and hold them accountable to have a very well-defined mix of proactive prospecting activities that will allow them to create a consistently reliably repeatedly full.

The fourth component of keeping your sales funnel reliable and creating full funnel. Freedom is a clearly defined sales process. So this is the, what information your salespeople need to gather at every. Part of the process from hi. Nice to meet you too. Looking forward to working with you, to let me introduce you to our customer care implementation delivery operations team to, Hey, hasn't this been a great X number of year relationship.

Let's make it a great X number of year longer relation. That's what a sales process is. What information do we want our salespeople to be gathering from our prospects? Because the way that we create full funnel freedom is by focus on gathering information, not giving information. Now a sales process is a very good thing to have.

However, it's mostly useless. Unless we have the fifth component of full funnel freedom, which is accountability to following a selling system. Now I'm a member of the Sandler network and there's audio of David Sandler saying you must use a system for sales, whether you use mine or somebody else. You must use a system because if you don't use a selling system, we automatically default to the buyer system.

First rule of the buyer system is salesperson loses. So back when I was at Canada Newswire we implemented a. Sales process where my colleagues and I had to fill in these colored sheets. And we had boxes of information that we were supposed to go get. The problem was we had no system or the, how we go about getting that information sales processes.

But what information we need to get selling system is the, how we go about gathering that information. So I was on a sales team of eight and my sales man. Had to learn eight different sales languages, plus they had their own. So if they were doing a coaching session with me or one of my colleagues, they had to interpret.

My sales language through their filter of their sales language, and then attempt to help me in working to deal through my pipeline or closing something while we're speaking, essentially two different language, little bit of overlap, but largely two different. Sales languages going head to head, which was a giant waste of time for them.

And it didn't make me feel very well supported because I kind of felt like my boss wasn't listening to me now. I love that sales manager. He was actually the guy who introduced me to Sandler, but until we got to know each other really well, we were essentially speaking two different languages. So hold your team accountable to following a consistent.

Selling system again, whichever system you choose, make sure that everybody is using it because if the, how they go about getting their information is not aligned across your team, you're going to really struggle to coach hold them accountable and make sure that they are actually staying true to your sales process.

Step six. Keeping your sales funnel, reliable and creating full funnel. Freedom is a mindset. Actually there's two mindsets. The first mindset is always be advancing the sale. So with your salespeople instill in them a mindset that if they do not have. A clear next step with our prospect that they have in their calendars and their prospect has in their calendars.

They don't have an opportunity. They have hope, but hope is not an opportunity. Now that hope could turn into an activity. Activities are good. We need activities, but there's not an opportunity that goes in their funnel. So always be advancing the sale. So. Role play with your team, the scenario where a prospect says, you know what?

This all looks good. How about you? Give me a couple of weeks, call me back and we'll figure out where we go for. A lot of salespeople, myself included earlier in my career would say something like, okay, call you in two weeks, put a note in my calendar or my CRM to call that prospect back. And then shockingly, they weren't available in two weeks.

If I reconnected with them at all, it was significantly later on. I had burned a whole bunch of mental and emotional calories on this pursuit and my prospects in the mode of, well, what's the big problem here. Don't you want to sell me something? So always be advancing the sales mindset. Number one, mindset.

Number two is a bit of a shift. So I imagine a lot of you have heard of always be closing. It's a bit of a cliche in sales. Always be closing. It's complete nonsense. It's a great way to break rapport with a prospect or damage rapport with a client instead instilling your salespeople. The mindset of always be qualifying, always be qualifying.

There is a story probably apocryphal about Michael Angelo. The artist being asked about his statue of David and being asked specifically, well, how did you create this amazing. Work of art. And again, possibly apocryphal Michelangelo is reported to have said, oh, well I just carved away everything that wasn't David, same sort of thing with our salespeople.

If we have a mindset that we are always attempting to qualify our prospect, instead of always attempting to close them, they're going to be much more focused on being attached to our sales process. Following our selling system and gathering the information that they need. And if they can't gather that information because our prospect is unwilling or unable to share, it will, then that prospect is not a good fit to work with us.

And they get to be disqualified, which from a sales perspective, your salespeople will feel incredibly free. The first time they say to someone, I really appreciate. You reaching out to us and exploring our products and services based on what you've shared with me, it doesn't feel like we're a good fit here.

Now, our salespeople are only able to do that. If their sales funnel consistently reliably and repeatably looks like a funnel instead of a pencil or an upset stomach and an antacid commercial. So to review the components of full funnel, Number one clearly identified ideal prospect profiles. Number two, a focus on weekly lead generation.

Number three, weekly proactive prospecting. Number four, a clearly defined sales process. Number five, salespeople are accountable to following a selling system. Number six is the mindsets of always be advancing the sale and always be qualified. Before we get to all those six steps though, we first need to figure out, do we have the right fits on our team to create full funnel freedom?

Are these individuals committed to support? Full funnel freedom and all of the proactive activities that are going to go into that. And then underneath all of those six steps, are we as leaders ready to consistently repeatably support our team by holding them accountable, creating clarity, removing friction, coaching them, and role playing with them so that they can be the best that they can be in their role.

This has been episode one of the full funnel freedom podcast. How to keep your sales funnel reliable. I've been your host Hamish Knox until we connect with you on the next episode, go create full funnel free. Thank you for listening to fall funnel freedom with Amish Knox. If you want to increase your sales with ease, go to full funnel, freedom.com.