I hurt my back this fall while playing sports. At first I thought I could just walk it off or ice it, but it persisted: I could barely walk, I could barely sit, and I slept with great discomfort. Fortunately, the doctor gave me some pretty serious meds which, along with some careful exercises, got me to normal.
During the couple of weeks that I was recovering, I noticed something pretty surprising: We use our back for basically everything. Now, maybe that sounds funny to some of you, but it’s something I always took for granted before. I’ve always been in generally good health and only had one minor broken bone, so I never paid much attention to what parts were at work when I was performing various tasks. But once I pulled some muscles all down one side of my back, it became quickly apparent exactly how much my back is involved in everything I do. Even while I sleep, my back is the supporting framework for my body, keeping everything where it should be.
Now, I can stub a toe or get a headache, and I can continue to function without a lot of disruption, and only that part of my body hurts. But when I hurt my back, it was noticeable all the time because of the central role my back plays.
In the same way, your business’ sales funnel should be the “back” of your business! It should be the framework or central element around which your entire business is built. Now, lots of businesses will build their business around an idea or a tagline or a brand. These are important elements, but on their own they do not produce a sale. They are merely tools and resources in a business.
Rather, the one and only part of a business that is as critical to the function of your business as your back is to the function of your body is your sales funnel. Your sales funnel brings in leads and propels people through until they become customers, depositing revenue into your business, which pay the bills and contribute to your profit.
You can take away the idea or the tagline or the brand and you will still have a business. It might not be as attractive or as successful, but you can still operate. However, if you take away your sales funnel, you have nothing. You do not have a business!
So, how should you build your sales business around your sales funnel?
If you are just starting out in business, the answer is easy: With the help of competitive research and strategic planning, you can create a sales funnel that works smoothly and effectively to quickly move contacts through toward a profitable sale. Spend a lot of time and resources up-front to create your sales funnel. Once you have your sales funnel in place, add the other elements in: Tie in marketing across each stage in the sales funnel. Tie in sales activities in the prospects stage of the sales funnel. Tie in customer service activities across each stage in the sales funnel. Tie in purchase fulfillment and accounts receivables at the point where your prospects become customers. Tie in accounts payables and administration to each stage. Tie in Human Resources to all stages, too, so that they are hiring staff according to the activities that need to be performed at each stage.
If you are already running a business and you realize you need to create a sales funnel because you don’t really have one that is strategically designed, you’ll have to retrofit it. That’s okay, I’ll show you how to do it but you’ll have to come back tomorrow to read how!