Blog

Sharpen the Axe On Your Sales Funnel

Deforestation

Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe. ~ Abraham Lincoln

You are likely not getting the results you could have for selling. You may have started chopping, working hard and following the crowd hoping that putting up a social media presence and doing what everyone else is doing would open the magic door of sales.

Sharpening the axe can become less appealing because you don’t feel the sweat and toil from trying hard at something. That illusion can be seductive.

When it comes to building a continuous sales funnel that produces visitors, leads and deals, you can certainly guess at what may work. But the wasted money and time can be painful over months and years with a dull axe, an unsharp strategy.

Sharpening the axe requires research, analysis and strategic thinking about how you attract, win and keep your customers in a repeatable fashion. You have to look at the data, make meaning of the traffic and sources that drive your sales funnel, and implement the strategy that takes advantage of how your market is set up.

It’s why large brands spend so much time assimilating the vast amounts of data and sales conversion information that will help them build connections with their prospective customers. User behaviors, demographics, platform activity and density, as well as past customer behavior, can feed into profiling, targeting and strategies that help you connect in a logical and rational way with your buyers.

However, you have to value strategic thinking first. It means thinking more about what will work and ensuring you have the data to support your suppositions instead of simply opening a store or site and doing what you see those around you busy working at. You may have a lot of activity, however, to what end? Are you getting the results you desire?

There are millions of sites, stores and sales venues that are out there. Simply hanging your shingle out there is a losing strategy if you are not found or if you are largely ignored in the midst of the noise.

Can you afford to waste months guessing, especially when the data is out there to help you sharpen your axe?

How about doing the hard work of hard thinking. Do the analysis first. Study the data. Get insights into what is happening and where your highest payoffs will be and design the sales funnel in a way that makes selling easier with less cost and effort.

How is your sales funnel doing?

Qualifying Sales Opportunity Funnel Leads

Trying to talk to the whole world? How about narrowing your sales funnel?

There’s always that dilemma when designing and working your sales funnel. Your pipeline can be artificially fat if you let everyone in without some criteria on who is worth talking to for a sales conversation.

On the other hand if you are too narrow in your qualification criteria, you can miss opportunities that a good salesperson could convert.

Qualification is something that can help throttle the sales funnel so you are efficient and giving your team the highest probability chances to engage with and convert sales prospects.

When designing how to set up your sales opportunity funnel, consider allowing your leads to self-qualify. You can use simple criteria such as the BANT (Budget, Authority, Need and Timing) method in your questions:

  • What is your budget?
  • Are you or someone else responsible for making a decision on this product?
  • What is your need and how do you see our solution fitting?
  • Are you planning on buying now? If not, then how long before you decide?

Based on the answers you get either in online forms, sales engagement chats or initial discussions, develop a handoff with your sales opportunities to the right closing conversation team member.

They would then be responsible for converting the sale or negotiating and following up with the qualified lead until a “Yes” or a “No” is the outcome.

Not everyone is ready or wanting to buy and your design of the qualification process can keep your sales resources allocated to talking to the right people at the right time. You don’t want to waste cycles talking to unqualified people in your funnel. Allow your nurturing and messaging to do the work of creating interest and extracting their qualification based on their need and timing.

If you look at how efficiently your sales team is working, are you using qualification to set them up with the most optimal sales conversations? Want a better sales strategy?

Building a Money Making Foundation

What is one of the best ways to grow your customer base? Many people believe that it begins with massive efforts in lead generation to a cold market. Not so.

It’s been proven that it is best to begin with your current customer base. Who values what you do? Even if it’s just a handful of happy clients, start with them. Why do they love you? What are their needs? Where do they hang out – online or locally?

Go there and find more of them. Make it easy for people like them to pick you, keep choosing you, and to share about you with others.

This is how you build a solid foundation for sales. And this is what we love helping build for our clients.

Don Dalrymple

unlockingcash.jpg

Money is flowing every day. Deals are made. People pull out their credit cards continuously  to buy what they want.

We don’t have to create demand as much as we need to sell things that people want to buy and make it easy for them to do so.

If you are so impatient and frenzied to get the next sale and have to continually hustle without creating a selling machine, where will you ultimately be in six months? Still hustling and struggling to get the next deal?

If you are so busy that you make it hard on yourself, it’s because you undervalued or ignored the need to build a solid money-making foundation to your business process.

Maybe you have a few sales already. Great! You could step back and learn a few things to build a foundation that could drive continuous sales. Here are some key strategies to…

View original post 214 more words

Building the Boring Business

Many people think “boring” is bad.

But there are several things we do every day that really are considered boring: grooming, driving, washing dishes, etc. Sure, you can find ways to make them interesting, but as tasks, they are just meant to make other opportunities possible.

We can think of a well-run business like that. If it is “boring” – meaning that it’s cash-flowing easily, no drama, no headaches, no stress – it can free you up for other opportunities. Things that are exciting and important to you in life like creative projects, loved ones, adventure and travel.

This article highlights a few different ideas to help you take stock and move towards having that streamlined “boring” business:

– How do materials, information and talent flow?
– Do you have strong leadership?
– How do you manage client relationships?
– Do you have systems that help grow a continuous pipeline and nurture creative innovation?
– Do you have a knowledge base that team members can easily reference?

What would you do if you had a boring business? (hint: many of our clients have one and so have started more!)

Don Dalrymple

easybusiness.jpg

I enjoy drama, action and suspense when I watch a movie to relax and let my mind and emotions wander. However, I don’t find heroics and craziness entertaining or useful in business. In fact, my goal with entrepreneurs and business owners is to build a boring business based on systems, processes and execution that produces consistent cash flow.

That sounds reasonable, but often it goes against the programming and nature of the owner operators that believe charisma and heroics has won the day. I get it. We like superheroes and long to be one.

Emergencies pop up and uncertainty continually deals a hand here and there. When I see volatility or repeatable drama, then my conclusion is that something foundational is not working.

If you ever have gone on factory tours of large manufacturers of cars, electronics or packaged goods, you don’t see chaos and frenetic energy. You see systems that…

View original post 348 more words

What Executive Productivity Hinges On

How many dashboards or lists are important to manage for your business? For many professionals, it becomes overwhelming to manage them all well. And yet, most of them are vital to effectively growing your businesses. We tend to grow what we are focused on.

What if you set up a simple system for yourself each morning to make sure you gave attention to the lists that were most important? It could become almost like brushing your teeth or taking a vitamin as a habit.

This simple habit could move the needle forward in relationships, projects, marketing, and management, placing the next step in someone else’s court.

With intentionality and creativity you may find ways to consolidate your lists or move through them with ease and speed, moving through those with greatest priority to those with less. This would free up yourself for new opportunities throughout the day. And you wouldn’t feel bogged down by slodging along through these lists the entire day or stressed from ignoring them.

Don Dalrymple

executiveproductivity.jpg

As work relentlessly gets democratized, it’s hard for people to get formal training that was once consolidated within large industrial companies. The internet does continually grow with knowledge and content and this should suffice to educate everyone. But it’s hard to make sense of all the information or put it into strategies that make an impact.

Knowledge work demands that we move information and make decisions quickly. While everyone is not officially titled as an executive, we have to make decisions efficiently.

There’s a lot written on creating big visions, mission statements and developing strategies. But there is something even more foundational that should be part of any good executive’s daily ritual. It is a critical daily habit that allows for extreme leverage across projects. It is the habit of list management.

Managing Across Your Lists

Think about how many logins you have. You have a login for your email…

View original post 447 more words