3 Common Sales Funnel Disasters (And How to Avoid Them)

Broken EggsYour sales funnel can be a treacherous place.

If you manage it properly, your funnel can flood your reps with opportunities that consistently turn into new customers.

But let’s face it, most organizations face serious challenges with their sales funnels, many of which can be quite tricky to solve.

Maybe that’s why research reveals startling statistics like these:

  • The average sales rep spends just two days a week selling. (CSO Insights)
  • Only 58.1% of salespeople made quota in 2014. (CSO Insights)
  • 56% of forecasted deals don’t close. (Ventana Research)

Let’s take a look at three common disasters – and how you can avoid them – to ensure your sales team achieves top performance.

1. Wasted time, shattered dreams

Why do your sales reps waste so much time chasing terrible leads that have little to no chance of ever closing?

The truth is, they don’t know which leads to pursue and which ones to send back to marketing for more nurturing.

It’s similar to a group of rowdy kids hunting Easter eggs. They’re so busy scooping up as many eggs as possible into their little baskets that they aren’t paying attention to the colors.

The one lucky kid who grabs the golden egg will win the chocolate bunny. But if they fill up their baskets with common-colored eggs, they might not have space for the golden egg when they find it.

Many sales teams treat all leads equally, investing the same amount of time working bad leads as good ones.

That’s a surefire way to kill productivity, morale and performance.

Smart sales teams take advantage of predictive lead scoring and prioritization technology to identify the leads most likely to be contacted and to close.

You don’t have to rely on your reps’ or managers’ intuition about which leads are worth pursuing. This technology uses proven data science to do the analysis for you, so you can focus your efforts on prospecting and closing deals.

This approach enables your reps to spend more time with the right leads and less time with the leads that aren’t ready to buy. It’s an effective way to move deals through your sales funnel faster.

2. Wild guesses galore

Without technology, your sales reps will trust their instincts when it comes to working deals. And they will probably make tons of mistakes because the human brain doesn’t have the ability to process and analyze data like a machine.

It’s not uncommon for sales reps to send an email when they should be making a phone call, or vice versa. And they often don’t know which message will resonate the most with a particular prospect at a particular time.

Some reps have better instincts than others. But when you look at your whole team, and realize about half of them are going to miss quota, it’s easy to see that you probably need a more systematic sales process.

Letting your reps blindly guess about what to do next brings back memories of the old TV game show “Let’s Make a Deal.” Too often, they will choose Door No. 2, without having any idea what’s behind it.

They’re just hoping for the best. Sometimes, it’s a brand-new Cadillac, but usually it’s just a man on a donkey wearing a sombrero and singing “La Bomba.” ZONK!

Smart sales teams are turning to prescriptive sales communications, powered by predictive analytics, that not only predict the best leads and prospects to call, but also prescribe when to reach out, how to contact them, and what to say to move the deal forward.

3. Fictional sales forecasts

Sometimes it’s fun to go to the bar with a few friends and throw darts at the wall. If you get lucky and score a bull’s-eye or two, you look like a genius. If you miss the board completely, you can all enjoy a few laughs.

Sadly, though, this is how some sales teams seem to create their sales forecasts.

There’s nothing wrong with optimism, but if fewer than half of forecasted deals close, that’s not much better than flinging darts.

By recognizing patterns in the data from billions of sales interactions, predictive analytics technology can dramatically improve forecasting accuracy.

That’s why smart sales teams no longer leave their forecasts to chance. Instead, they use technology that shows them which deals are the most likely to close this quarter and the anticipated size of each deal.

Rather than laughing about errant darts, you’ll be laughing all the way to the bank.

Win more, stress less

Don’t fall victim to these common sales funnel disasters.

Remember, the right technology can help you make better decisions to close more deals and dominate your competition.

The Science of Lead Scoring, Prioritization & Sales Success

Free eBook: The Science of Lead Scoring, Prioritization & Sales Success

79% of marketing leads never convert to sales. That means inbound reps waste a lot of time chasing the wrong leads.

Image credit: rpavich

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