Sales pipeline or funnel?
Your sales forecast is the base document, either hardcopy or soft, for your business development.
It must be a working document and not one which is wheeled out once a quarter or year.
OK, you say but how do I fill that document with meaningful figures.
This is down to your market intelligence.
So what is the process?
The two concepts often used to graphically describe this, are the sales funnel or pipeline. Basically the same but with one important difference which I argue for more a more efficient sales process should be the latter.
What are the various stages?
- Suspect – identification
- Prospect – Knowledge of requirement
- Qualification – confirmation of need
- Presentation – of potential solution
Ideally your sales cycle should be a pipeline but there is one problem– they leak!
So your model will end up looking more like a funnel – you need to put more in to get the required output.
Feeding your funnel/pipeline is a matter of intelligence – of your customer, market and importantly your product.
The better your intelligence the less input you need for your pipeline/funnel which will give you more time to seek out new potential fuel for your system.