Home Business Cases B2B Sales Funnel

B2B Sales Funnel

by Mo Faheem

Sales is a people’s relation that has no set of rules, however, many organizations are looking to standardize the sales process as much as they can. Personally, I have participated in many sales process implementations for different businesses types, and I can say that no one process can work for all companies and operations. Nevertheless, this post will discuss a sales process that can work in many B2B cases or be tweaked to suit most businesses. During my search for this post, I noticed that one of the typical sales funnels has fours stages. These are Awareness, Interest, Decision and Action, which I believe is applicable in many CRM implementations. Dispite that, I think that this approach describes the purchasing steps from the client-side, and to be able to automate the process using CRM, it has to be triggered by actions and interactions with the potential clients. Thus, I propose a five-step sales funnel and will support my viewpoints with vertical business examples.

b2b Sales Funnel

Five-step sales funnel

Sales generally are conducted similarly worldwide and have a standard process that can be modelled to fit many businesses and most importantly, can be modified to fit many organizations.

1. World of Possibilities (WoPs).

This stage includes any possible future clients who meet the general clients’ profile. For example, the yellow page classification can be used for cold calling or a list of trade exhibition’s visitors.  

Automation trigger – CRM lead can be generated at this stage, once contact information of a decision-maker is known.

2. Suspect

A company gets moved to this stage once they have shown an interest in the Company’s products, and more information is collected. For example, they have visited the company website or called to enquire about products.

Automation trigger – CRM lead is updated with more information collected by the clients to show their interest.

3. Prospect

A further detailed qualification is required by the salesperson inquiring about their budget or potential closing date. For instance, a well-defined biding information with clear requirements can be qualified to a potential deal.

Automation trigger – CRM lead gets converted into a CRM opportunity, or a draft quote has been issued.

4. Proposal

Once a company has been proposed with an official quote, they get to be part of this stage. For example, value figured proposal with precise quantities and deliverables.

Automation trigger – The CRM opportunity has a drafted quote or an approved quote.

5. Negotiation

If the potential customer had discussed or negotiated the quote’s terms or prices, this would be a good reason to push him to this stage.

Automation trigger – A quote has been revised or additional discount has been offered.

PS. The above process can be considered a framework that can be changed to accommodate any business. The stages can be renamed, reconfigured, and the triggers can be adjusted to match the CRM client’s terminology.

Business case 1
Company A
Office Supplies Company.
Business case 2
Company B
Medical Equipment Manufacturer.
Target Market– Any office operations– Hospitals
Qualifications– Any type of business
– Number of office employees
– Number of beds
– Hospital departments
– Existing equipment compatibility
Product nature– Consumables
– Relatively affordable
– Long-life spam
– Intuitive products
– Expensive
Competition– Many competitors– Few Competitors
Sales Cycle– Relatively short (3 Months)
– Repetitive
– Relatively Long (~ 12 Months)
Future sales– Repetitive deals– Other equipment
– Maintenance contracts
2 Business cases

Apply the previous Sales Funnel process trigger examples

Business case 1
Company A
Office Supplies Company.
Business case 2
Company B
Medical Equipment Manufacturer.
WoPs– Yellow pages
– Cold calling
– Mega Hospitals (Private, Public)
– Medical Laps
Suspect– Call-in
– Store walk-ins and visits
– Competitors are present
– New hospital expansion news
– End of current maintenance contract
– Request for Information (RFI)
Prospect– Client visit
– Budget discussion
– Estimated monthly consumption
– Request for Proposal (RFP)
– End of current maintenance contract
– Budget discussion
– Specifications discussion
– Technical pre-sales engineer involved
Proposal– Submit a quote– Submit a quote
– Submit a bid for a tender
– Submit a technical proposal
Negotiation– Client asks for a discount
– Submit a revised quote
– Technical proposal approved
– Submit a revised quote
Funnel deployment

Retain Business

The post above discussed how the sales department would hunt for new business; however, any organization must maintain its clients’ business.  In the two examples above, Company A’s client will soon run out of its inventory, and Company B’s client will soon require maintenance or want to buy another piece of equipment; It is not logical to neglect their business or to go through the process from the beginning. Hence, being an existing client would qualify the client to skip the first stage and start directly from being a suspect.

Healthy Operations

Sales team is the heart and soul of every organization, they are the engine which drives the entire company, and in case of a slow market, everyone is threatened. Therefore, a healthy organization depends not only on large wins but on a steady and well-forecasted revenue.

The sales forecast is an exercise that as yet no AI prediction system is able to substitute, however, I am sure this will change in the near future! But for now, the more we use the sales funnel and the business sales cycle, the more we can estimate with a high degree of accuracy, how many new leads (Quantity and Value) are needed at each stage and at any point of time.

To illustrate, if we had a 1000 leads at the WoPs stage, we would qualify 500 to the Suspect stage. And if we assume that 50% is the same percentage across all stages, 250 leads will be passed into the prospect stage, of these leads only 120 leads will proceed to receive proposals. Then 60 will negotiate and eventually only 30 deals out of the first 1000 will be closed. So, If we target 30 deals to be closing this month, we should expect that numbers at each stage should be as close as it can be to the numbers in our example. If one of the steps has less number of leads than required, the sales team should work hard to get those numbers on track. That is to say, the sales manager will be managing the business’s funnel overall and not individual deals to guarantee a flow of deals at all times.

Measuring sales funnel

Measuring sales funnel using Dynamics 365 Sales

There are many other factors to consider, such as the value of each sale and the length of the typical sales cycle. Once the CRM system is in place, and deals start to flow in; all those Key Performace Indicators (KPIs) will be measured. Sequentially, sales quotas can be set for each salesperson to achieve the overall organization’s goals. Dynamics 365 Sales is one of the most flexible tools that help implement and measure sakes funnel

Related Articles

Leave a Comment