What resources do you use to create an refine a sales funnel? What techniques do you use to generate leads? What do you do once you get leads to qualify them? Are they standard conversion rates and formulas to measure your sales funnel against successful ones?
That is quite a lot of questions in one question Marcus.
What resources do you use to create and refine a sales funnel?
Once again this step is really dependent on your business and budget allocation.
What do you do once you get leads to qualify them?
Depends on the business. Your idea of the funnel, which narrows down a big group of prospects, is right. Some businesses don't move businesses up a chain so much as they whittle down a large group of prospects into a final group of customers using a sales process unique to their business.
In some businesses this involves getting an RFP, having meetings and information exchanges, then submitting a proposal and hopefully winning a contract. In others it could follow the process you describe.
I wouldn't look at customers paying a small amount as being in the funnel, but rather the funnel addresses all the people who might pay you one day but currently are not. Dealing with someone when they become a customer is a different matter, as you now have a financial relationship with the person/company.
There have been a number of sales software programs designed to help businesses move customers through the process, ideally the program will let you define the rules. Perfecting your sales process is the art of defining the sales funnel for you business.
In my business, a lead isn't "qualified" until they've signed the contract and I've deposited their check.
Just have a plan in place for how you handle each lead, and based on the feedback from your emails and calls, filter those leads into different threads for future follow-up.
In terms of getting leads, starting with your network always helps. Having someone open the door for you is everything. Otherwise, you're just another solicitor.
To set-up sales funnel check out www.pipedrive.com as we have created that tool exactly for that need. Notice that you can customize it.
About the rates and formulas - there are really no golden rules to compare different teams. It depends mostly on the products sales cycle and how the leads are generated. Some teams are really happy with 25% success rate while for others selling similar product 75% is minimum. And still, at the end - the company with smaller success rate might have better sales results (reason behind that could be that "the 75% company" only works on strong leads coming in while other is actively calling out to get new customers. I`s seen SO many times that hard work with lower success rates outsmarts the "smart" (and not very active) work. Usually, putting hard work behind sales lowers the success rate - so, this is normal thing to have.
I would say that one of the first things to figure out after setting-up your personal sales funnel are your own personal rates and formulas. I mean - how many phonecalls/meetings/proposals would you need to get one sale. THEN you can start challenge yourself and prove that these numbers were wrong:)
What resources do you use to create an refine a sales funnel? I use Google Analytics to measure all ratios and track conversion ratios. My analytics account integrates with Google AdWords and my payment processor, FastSpring.
What techniques do you use to generate leads? Google AdWords with focused landing pages plus referrals from review sites and organic search results.
What do you do once you get leads to qualify them? I am not sure I understand what this means but I consider a download of the free trial a "lead" but there is no requirement for the lead to enter an email address or any personal information.
Are they standard conversion rates and formulas to measure your sales funnel against successful ones? My funnel is pretty standard for a shareware business. Visit -> Download Trial -> Purchase. For some benchmark conversion ratios, Andy Brice posted a survey to the Business of Software forum and published the results "The truth about conversion ratios for downloadable software"
I'm no expert, but my understanding of a sales funnel is to provide free value to your potential customer base, then provide a very low cost item, then a slightly higher cost item, etc...
The point is to introduce your value proposition to as many people as possible and slowly work them up to becoming full customers to your premium products or services at a pace they feel comfortable with.
As you move customers up the chain, you will lose customers each time, hence the 'funnel' expression.