How to identify (and prioritize) good sales opportunities in your funnel

Find out why preparing an SLA and identifying Leads bottlenecks are decisive actions for generating business

Sales Opportunities are the most advanced Leads in the buying journey, considered eligible for a salesperson contact. Generally a Lead becomes a Sales Opportunity after going through the previous steps of the sales funnel or when you “raise your hand”, requesting a business contact for the company.

This post from the park view villas in which we will tell you How to Efficiently Turn Your Business Opportunities into Customers.

The Inbound Marketing is the most effective way to attract and educate potential customers through the Internet. For all companies whose sales cannot take place entirely online, there is still a team of sales representatives fulfilling the role of receiving and closing deals.

In this new context, the Marketing and Sales teams are partners in a marathon: the first will start the buying journey with Leads, identifying good sales opportunities and delivering them to the second to be converted. That’s why we talk about Marketing and Sales Funnel.

These teams share responsibility for bringing revenue into the company. Getting things right between these teams, therefore, is crucial to ensuring funnel efficiency. In this post, you will learn how to ensure this alignment in two ways: preparing your SLA and identifying Leads bottlenecks.

Write an SLA

The Service Level Agreement, or service level agreement, in Portuguese, determines the delivery parameters between teams, aligning the company’s objectives throughout the entire process, from acquisition to customer follow-up.

The document is a quick and simple way to guide and audit processes, designed in common agreement between the areas. He directs and aligns teams according to the company’s objectives, increasing confidence in the work and deliveries of different teams.

For example, if a salesperson receives an opportunity from the Marketing team, the SLA ensures that this opportunity is valid. That way, he doesn’t waste time trying to approach someone who is not compatible with the product being sold.

If you have difficulty doing yours, download our SLA Template: Marketing & Sales to define the delivery parameters between your company’s teams.

 

But if you want to prepare your SLA, see the steps you should follow:

Discussion and experimentation

The first step in moving forward with this agreement is to define the company’s main objective. From there, observe and list the performance indicators of the teams, creating rules to get there.

In this process, each team must raise the main points that affect their work and performance, gathering criteria that assess the quality of each resource delivered from one team to another. Also adjust minimum values ​​or minimum combination that guarantee the quality of delivery from one team to another

Once the information has been mapped, representatives of the teams involved should talk about the topics to be observed by the SLA, with performance simulations if the rules were created.

Constructive and conscientious decision making

This process must be agreed with the teams involved, in discussions that actually raise the problem that requires the creation of rules.

Iterate learning and justify decisions

It is normal that the first SLA does not optimally resolve all agreements. Keep in mind that this agreement is flexible and must be constantly revised to:

  • Update the main goals of the company
  • Be in agreement with the market
  • Adjust criteria or rules that were poorly dimensioned in the previous version, promoting constant improvements in the agreement between teams.

Find the bottlenecks of Leads

Do you already have an SLA, but still can’t identify good sales opportunities? That’s too bad, as the absence of Leads at the beginning and end of the sales funnel can seriously impact your company’s bottom line.

If you are not managing to generate enough Leads, maybe your offers are unattractive. It could also be that they are not attracting the right profile of potential consumers. It pays to better map your customers’ buying journey.

If the Leads are providing false information, which prevents the seller’s work from moving forward, the obstacle may be in attracting inappropriate users. It’s also a sign that they have no real interest in buying your product or service.

Scarce leads at the end of the funnel are a problem as sellers have invested time and resources to have the offer turned down. In this situation, it is better to take a step back and review the way in which potential customers are qualified. Are the right questions being asked in the relationship and pre-sales stage?

How to prioritize opportunities in the sales funnel?

If your company struggles to prioritize opportunities, we developed this post to talk especially about this subject. After all, generating Leads and Opportunities is not enough: you need to know how to organize them and define a fulfillment order to ensure that no sales are lost.

The prioritization criteria are varied and depend a lot on your sales cycle, the product or service and your customer profile. Therefore, we have separated broader tips, which can apply to different scenarios.

Why prioritize opportunities?

Let’s start with the basics: why prioritize? Can’t I just serve opportunities in a first-come-first-served basis?

Yes and no. In a simpler sales operation, with a smaller volume of leads, salespeople have time to get in touch with everyone who arrives. But, as the business becomes popular and grows, the volume increases and it becomes difficult to reconcile the first contacts with the ongoing negotiations and closings.

Many sales end up lost at this point due to lack of organization. Therefore, it makes sense to invest in some prioritization logic, especially thinking about facilitating the salespeople’s routine.

In some companies, there is a division between Pre-Sales and Sales, where a professional (called a Sales Development Representative or SDR) takes care of the first contacts with the opportunities. After validating the qualification and profile, the SDR forwards the opportunity to a Sales Representative, a proper seller, who will conduct the negotiations until closing.

This structure makes a lot of sense when you have a greater volume of opportunities or a team with more salespeople. If your operation has not yet reached this size, prioritizing opportunities is even more important.

We can talk about at least three prioritization criteria:

  1. Prioritize by closing forecast

This tip is valid for those who have detailed control of the sales cycle. If you still lack security in this regard, get to know RD Station CRM! You can create a free account right now and start using the tool to better understand your sales cycle and gain assertiveness when prioritizing opportunities.

In CRM, it is possible to identify the expected closing date of the purchase for each Lead, based on the average length of the sales cycle.

The sales manager should weekly follow up on opportunities with the closest forecast to close in order to prioritize them. The idea is to avoid unnecessarily prolonging the sales cycle – in addition to preventing opportunities from being lost as a result.

Thus, sellers will have as their main objective to unlock these negotiations: collect feedback on the proposal, change the proposed scope, and grant a discount – whatever is possible to try to close the deal.

The longer the cycle, the more it costs your company, the less time you have to address new opportunities and keep the sales gear turning. And, of course, the greater the chance of missing timing and cooling off the relationship with the customer.

  1. Prioritize by profile

In CRM, try to identify the opportunities that best fit your company. This means having the best possible fit in the Ideal Client Profile (ICP).

At the beginning of your strategy, you designed your ICP and your personas. This information guides all marketing actions to attract suitable Leads for what you sell. However, a Lead does not always go all the way designed by Marketing or manages to pass through some filters without meeting all the requirements.

Once a Lead becomes an opportunity, it is essential to certify that it fits this definition, to prioritize it or not in the sales funnel.

If the opportunity has full fit with your ICP, it’s probably a guaranteed sale. If the design of your ICP is correct and the qualification steps are also correct   , in theory, there is no reason for this sale not to happen.

It will be an easier opportunity to work, which will demand less from the Commercial team in terms of negotiation, proposal adjustments and even in Support and use of your solution.

An important addendum: having a fit is much more important than being interested in the offer. This goes for those Leads that “go right through” the marketing funnel. Wanting to buy is not enough, because the basic conditions for the potential customer to enjoy the product or service may be lacking – and, in the end, be dissatisfied with your company.

If the opportunity fits the ideal profile, the seller manages to build interest and convince her to buy using the right techniques. Profile fit comes first!

  1. Prioritize by offer

Another very smart strategy is to prioritize opportunities by offer if you work with multiple products or services. If the company has offers that are more profitable, it makes sense to prioritize sales for them. After all, they are more important for the survival of the business.

This model also works for entry-level offers, where the customer starts with simpler plans and acquires new features as needed. If the strategy is to foster these inbound plans, prioritize opportunities with that interest and address upsells a second time.

If you are launching a new offer and already have a well-established volume for the other fronts, it may also be interesting to prioritize hand-raising for the novelty. It all depends on the business strategy at the moment.

Tips for Organizing the Sales Funnel

Now that you know why and how to prioritize opportunities, let’s give you some tips for organizing your sales funnel:

  • Use CRM software, as controlling the funnel without a proper system for it is costly, complicated and dangerous;
  • Understand your customer journey and design your business process based on it;
  • Train your salespeople to correctly approach each opportunity, based on their profile and history of interactions with your company;
  • Be clear about your ICP and the profiles you  don’t  want to sell to;
  • Analyze your CRM reports to understand more and more how your customers behave, the average sales cycle length, the average ticket, the most common questions and the most common reasons for loss. This information is critical to continually improving your sales process.