Streamline Your Sales Funnel with CRM

Darren Gordon

Jan 02 2018

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The sales funnel is a vivid word picture that describes the sales process. The metaphor alludes to a real-world funnel that is widest at the top and gradually tapers down. This is similar to the potential customer journey as they move towards becoming actual buyers.

Your would-be buyers comprise a wide audience at the top, made up of website visitors, window shoppers or other prospects. The list of potential buyers gradually thins towards the bottom. The smallest part of the funnel represents conversions or sales. The whole point of the metaphor is to remind every business owner to put in the effort to convert prospects into buyers, as that is the only way to make money.

In order to make the best use of the sales funnel, it is important to understand the various stages through which potential customers pass before making a purchase. These stages might differ depending on the nature of clients, your business and the products you choose to sell.

There are four basic steps that define this process. These are the awareness stage, interest stage, decision stage, and action stage. Prospects will drop out from every one of these stages. Therefore, the idea is to convert as many of them as possible at the initial stage. The goal is to improve the rate of conversion at each stage to ensure that as many as possible make it to the end of your sales funnel.

Getting this right is the key to sales success. It might sound complex, but there is one highly effective method that will be sure to yield results: the use of CRM software to automate and manage this process.

How Can a CRM System Help You Build a Sales Funnel?

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools work as well (or even better) for small- and medium-sized businesses as they do for larger ones. They automate the data-creation process and also allow predictive analyses to ensure that marketing efforts are effective. They help you determine what kind of content will suit different prospects and shed light on the potential of any given prospect to turn into a long-term client.

First-time visitors are most likely not in purchase mode. Using the right approach makes it possible for you to prod them on to the next step. What does this right approach entail?

Understand What a CRM Can Do

CRM eliminates the guesswork from the lead management and the customer relations management process. The inherent tools in such software help to nurture warm leads to the point where they eventually turn into repeat buyers. They also help to keep track of every individual customer’s purchase journey. By doing this, you are better able to pinpoint risks and analyze patterns. This places you at a strategic vantage point from which to effectively guide them down your funnel.

The automation aspect present in some CRM tools makes it easy for sales teams to simplify the formerly complex manual sales and marketing processes. This makes follow-up more effective, as team members get notifications on the activity of leads so they can take the next steps.

Getting Past Lead Generation

Sales teams might be so intent on generating leads that they forget the more important aspect of managing these leads. Having the right CRM software ensures that both activities are given deserved attention.

This is the only way to ensure that your sales funnel does not become clogged from the constant dumping of leads into the top and failure to cultivate them. It also keeps the generated leads from opting out of your funnel and ensures a thriving sales pipeline at all times.

Results Analyses at Every Stage

Being able to monitor performance at each stage is also crucial to the performance of your business. Some salespeople tend to rely only on the usual analyses strategies that focus on the initial and final stages of the funnel. But this actually means they miss out on opportunities and patterns along the way that could have increased their conversion rates. A step-by-step assessment provided by a CRM makes it possible to figure out where the cracks in your strategy are as well as where the opportunities lie.

Defining the Customer’s Journey

One of the most basic steps to formulating a successful sales funnel is to look at things from your customer’s perspective. The way to do this is to think about the moment when they become aware of a problem in their lives that needs to be solved. Imagine walking with them through every stage of this journey as they make the decision to buy. This is the only way to ensure that your funnel takes into consideration every stage they go through and engages with them appropriately so that they will not drop out. By monitoring customer activities to predict their next moves and notify you to act accordingly, a CRM tool basically gives you a peek into your prospect’s mind.

Maximizing the Sales Process

The sales process that you set out for your business should reflect the customer’s journey comprehensively. This makes it possible for you to initiate the best response to their needs. With the right CRM tool, such as Active Campaign, Hubspot, Monday, Fiverr, or Salemate, all it takes to do this the right way is to drag and drop your prospects from one stage to another.

For every sales stage, you can automate relevant notifications and assign tasks to appropriate members of your sales and marketing teams. The CRM tool saves all of a client’s details and records them in one central place that is accessible to your team members. This saved information such as contact details, email conversations, telephone and meeting communications allows for easy reference and lots of time saved.

Assessing Conversion Rates

The conversion rates of any sales funnel can be calculated as the ratio of prospects between any two subsequent stages. Assessment of these figures helps you determine what stage should get priority for improvement on your pipeline.

In many cases, businesses start from the first stage and progressively work downwards, as this guarantees overall improvement. But considering that market dynamics are always in motion, you need to have an ongoing and consistent refinement procedure.

A CRM system will once again come in handy for this purpose. It will automatically generate conversion rates for every stage. It also gives analytical reports on individual members of your sales team as well as overall team performance.

With these kinds of reports given on a regular basis, it is easy to note loopholes and act upon them quickly. It also makes it possible to reward extraordinary performance and motivate team members to give it their all.

Establishing the Value of Your Sales Funnel

With all of the above data at your disposal, you can assess the overall value of your sales funnel and even predict results. Forecasts are key to the success of any business, as they help with cash flow and strategy management.

It is rather tedious to make such calculations manually or to update records in spreadsheets as changes occur in the business. CRM tools can generate automatic reports of forecast values from each one of your funnel’s stages. They give you different perspectives on your pipeline – from the sales revenue to the amount of time spent in cultivating leads and the rate of conversion realized with different approaches.

Start Enjoying All the Benefits of CRM Software

When you choose to use CRM for small business operations, you will have the ideal viewpoint from which to manage your sales funnel. It will help you manage your sales teams better and make it easier for them to achieve their objectives. There will be no need to assume outcomes, as the system helps you to eliminate guesswork. Your reports will be more accurate and easier to generate, giving you an overview of the company with a click of a mouse.

The only challenge left now is to pick out the best CRM tool for your business. Fortunately, some of the top-tier providers allow you to access free CRM through trial versions to help you make your choice from an informed perspective. Make your pick today, and stay ahead of the pack.

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