Mike Hanbery January 6, 2014

Webolutions Analytics: Optimize the Sales Cycle

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One of the most important aspects of a business is its sales funnel. This is the theoretical process that potential consumers take in order to purchase your products or services. Successful businesses understand exactly what generates leads and sales for the company, and how to make the most of those resources.

For example, some organizations get business through billboards and ads in magazines or newspapers. Others may get the best leads through their website, and other digital marketing campaigns. Another possibility is that business may come in through networking and in-person interaction or referrals. Your own company may utilize all of these resources. Strategy, as well as trial and error, can be useful in determining what channels to place the budget. However, some very simple data can be extremely useful in making decisions regarding sales channels.

At the most basic level, it is important to simply identify the source of leads. As discussed above, there are multiple channels that your business could be utilizing to attract leads. Whether in a CRM platform, or simply in an excel spreadsheet (although, I recommend the former to truly take advantage of data on your sales cycle), track how many leads are coming from each source. Collecting this data will quickly give you an idea of how effective each channel is at bringing in leads.

The next step is to incorporate your lead channel data into your sales funnel model. In order to do this, you must be able to identify the specific steps a potential client goes through before they do business with you. In a traditional sales funnel, these may include: lead, consult, proposal, closed (won/lost). Your own sales funnel may include more or less steps, of course.

Where this information comes in useful is, tracking the flow of potential clients through this funnel. At a high level, you can see how each step in the funnel converts to the next step. From this information, as an example, you may notice that you have good conversion rates from the “lead” to “consult” step, but a very low conversion rate from “consult” to “proposal.” This may prompt you to look at exactly what occurs between these two stages. It is possible that there is something in the way your company interacts with potential clients during this stage that puts them off. It could simply be that there is too much time between interactions at this stage. In any case, watching your sales funnel data can provide valuable insight to issues within your sales process.

At the next level, you can begin integrating your sales funnel data with the lead source information. This will segment the sales funnel by lead source, revealing how leads from different channels progress through your sales funnel. Different segments of potential clients may behave differently, and evaluating the sales funnel for each of these segments can help you optimize your approach and make more sales.

How to use this Information

Take some simple steps to start collecting good data on your sales cycle. First, identify each channel through which your company generates sales leads. Once you are monitoring these different channels, you will be able to observe which sources are the most productive for your business. Next, determine what steps to include in your sales funnel. This will allow you to see how leads work through this funnel, and can reveal problems and opportunities within the sales cycle.

Finally, combine these two pieces. Evaluate how leads from different channels move through your sales funnel. This segmented approach can reveal differences between different types of leads, and will allow you to customize your sales approach to each segment.

Actively collecting information on your leads and clients can produce a better understanding of how to produce leads, and how to engage them in order to produce revenue. Your business’ specific segmentation strategy will be unique, but collecting data can reveal how you can generate ROI.  As a full-service marketing agency, Webolutions® can offer assistance in starting this process within your organization. If you would like to learn more about how Webolutions® can help you with this or any other digital marketing question, contact us online or give us a call at 303-300-2640.

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