Sales is not an opt-in activity

Sales is not an opt-in activity

In case you didn't know, sales isn't an opt-in, opt-out activity.

You might be reading this, thinking,

"Why is my pipeline so unpredictable?"

"Where have all of those prospects gone?"

"The middle of my funnel has dried up?"

"I can't get any new conversations into the top of my funnel quickly enough when I need them?"

Well, the bad news is that you're probably opting into sales rather than treating it like an always on activity.

But don't fret. This reactive approach to sales is all too common. Where you've become overly reliant on inbound leads, it often needs more rigour, focus, and consistency to manage a healthy end-to-end sales funnel.

And there is a solution. Start taking sales seriously.

The impact on the top of the funnel

The first stumbling point is at the top of the funnel when businesses treat sales as an opt-in activity and must remember the long lead times it takes to get cold outbound conversations going.

The common little lie we tell ourselves is that new leads can be generated on demand at the flick of a switch.

Nope. Sorry, but this isn't going to work.

It disregards the long ramp-up time required to create meaningful conversations with the Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) in a sophisticated, consultative selling environment.

Building these relationships from a cold start can take upwards of six months. Therefore, constant prospecting is key to steadily qualifying new conversations and building relationships that ensure a continuous pipeline of conversions at each stage.

Let's also remember that businesses turn the top of the funnel on and off, inadvertently creating further delays. Each time the prospecting is paused, the ramp-up time resets, extending the timeline for meaningful engagement beyond the initial six months. This inconsistency is incredibly detrimental to maintaining a steady flow of opportunities.

The impact on the middle of the funnel

The middle of the funnel, where nurturing occurs, is also significantly impacted by stop-start sales efforts.

Inconsistent nurturing damages opportunities because prospects feel neglected when communications are sporadic.

Consistent nurturing, on the other hand, builds relationships and ensures that conversations move forward, regardless of the outcome.

A lack of consistent engagement at the middle of the funnel has a ripple effect, rapidly impacting the bottom of the funnel. This disruption can choke the pipeline, forcing the top of the funnel to compensate with accelerated, often ineffective, prospecting efforts. This creates undue stress on the entire sales process.

The consequences of a stressed pipeline

A pipeline under unnecessary stress is a major problem.

The pressure to deliver results quickly often leads to hasty decisions and puts undue pressure on prospects, typically resulting in negative outcomes.

A stressed pipeline can cause sales teams to compromise on qualification criteria, rush through nurturing stages, and ultimately lose potential deals due to a lack of proper engagement and relationship building.

Always-on sales activity

The solution is straightforward: treat sales as an always-on activity.

This means having clear responsibilities for team members managing the funnel's top, middle, and bottom.

Ensuring that the right people are in place to manage each stage of the funnel is crucial.

Businesses must prioritize sales as a core, ongoing strategy component, with clear leadership to guide the process.

According to a Forrester study, businesses with a defined sales process see 18% more revenue growth than those without one.

Not only that, but businesses that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales-ready leads at a 33% lower cost.

So don't just take my word for it. This is a highly researched area, so now is the time to take action.

Implementing an always-on sales strategy

If you feel a bit 'seen' by this, here's your wake-up call to make some changes. Here is where you start. It's super simple.

To implement an always-on sales strategy, businesses should focus on several key areas:

1. Continuous prospecting

Regular prospecting activities ensure a steady flow of new leads. This helps maintain a full pipeline and avoids the delays associated with stop-start efforts.

2. Consistent nurturing

Develop and maintain consistent communication with prospects throughout the sales funnel. This builds trust and keeps prospects engaged, increasing the likelihood of conversion.

3. Clear responsibilities

Assign specific roles and responsibilities for managing different stages of the sales funnel. This ensures that each stage is given attention and helps avoid bottlenecks.

4. Effective sales leadership

Strong sales leadership is essential for guiding the team and ensuring that sales processes are followed consistently. Leaders should prioritize sales activities and provide ongoing support and training to their teams.

5. Data-driven decisions

Use data and analytics to monitor the health of the sales pipeline and make informed decisions. This helps identify areas for improvement and ensures that resources are allocated effectively.

Let's wrap this up

Every business needs to treat sales as an always-on activity.

It's the blood of your business growth, and by opting into sales with an always-on dashboard, your business can avoid the pitfalls of reactive sales.

This effort means you will be working towards building a robust, scalable and sustainable sales pipeline. One that you can predict better and better over time.

Being 'always on' ensures your prospects are consistently nurtured, relationships are built, and opportunities are not missed at any stage of the funnel.

But above all, it means you're taking ownership of sales and driving your business forward rather than floundering.

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