We make use of the metaphor of a sales funnel (wide at the very top, narrow at the end) to monitor the sales process.
Towards the top of this funnel you've got 'unqualified prospects' - the people who you believe may need your service or product, but to whom you've never spoken. At the end of this funnel, many delivery and sales steps after, you've got those who've received the service or product and have also purchased it.
The metaphor of a funnel can be utilized because prospects drop out of different stages of an extended sales process. Using the sales funnel, and by calculating the amount of leads at every point of the procedure, you are able to predict the amount of prospects who'll, over time, become clients.
A lot more than this, by taking a look at how these amounts change with time, you are able to spot issues in the sales pipeline and just take corrective action early. For instance, in the event that you spot that not many mailings were actioned during a month, you may be expecting that, in a couple of months time, sales may dry out. The following month, you can ensure that more mailings than usual are sent.
Utilization of the Sales Funnel shows obstacles and dead time, or if they're an insufficient quantity of leads at any point. This knowledge enables you to decide where sales agents should focus their attention and efforts to help keep sales at the required level and, also, to satisfy targets.
The funnel may also explain where improvements have to be implemented in the sales procedure. These might be as straight-forward as introducing extra sales coaching or making certain sales reps put adequate emphasis on each step of the process.
The very first stage in establishing sales funnel reporting would be to brainstorm the sales process together with your sales and marketing people to make certain that it is correct and comprehensive.
Out of this, find out the main sequential parts of the sales procedure and, from these, generate status codes. Then, label your leads using these codes (this is easier when you've got a sales contact management system). Finally, work-out the amount of prospects of every status and calculate the change from the last month.
As you develop an image of a sales funnel from every month, you can begin to comprehend where you are able to enhance your sales process. Obviously, a product is required before you can start to sell anything though, and this is what we are going to discuss in the following chapters.