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Are You Absolutely Sure of When and How to Focus on the Middle of the Funnel?

Are You Absolutely Sure of When and How to Focus on the Middle of the Funnel? - Janice Mars, SalesLatitude

Are You Absolutely Sure of When and How to Focus on the Middle of the Funnel? - Janice Mars, SalesLatitudeAs I recently read HubSpot’s 2018 Top Sales Trends, one of them jumped out at me as being counter-intuitive:  Focusing on the middle of the funnel. Say what? I always spent more time focusing on the front of the funnel. That’s where I looked for deals that were well qualified, ensuring my pipeline was totally aligned with where my buyer is spending their time, money and effort.

However, I have to admit, I actually like when things don’t make sense to me. It makes me think about them even more and look at things from other perspectives rather than just my own. My initial thought is that focusing on the middle of the funnel has legs IF, and only if, you have already figured out how to best qualify the deals in your sales pipeline and how to increase your close ratios.

The Middle of the Funnel

So much happens in the middle of the funnel. And, many of these activities provide sales with the opportunity to just check the box. The middle of the funnel is not always an area that many sales organizations look at. They often convince themselves that they’ve hired sales experts who know what they are doing. But, the HubSpot article got me thinking:  Are there unnecessary selling activities that are dragging out the sales process? Should we be focusing on the middle of the funnel?

Let’s take a pop quiz.

  • Are you going to demo too fast?
  • Are you sending out proposals too soon?
  • Are you doing unnecessary proofs of concepts (POCs) that are delaying the selling and buying process?
  • Are you languishing in the middle of funnel sales stages?
  • Are you trying to determine the buyer’s timing towards the end of your sales process?
  • Are you negotiating at the end of your sales process?

 

If you answered “yes” to one or more questions about these typical middle of the funnel sales activities, then maybe you should focus more on the middle. But only IF your sales team already does a good job at the front of the funnel (qualifying) and your close ratios are improving. Focusing on the middle of the funnel should help your sales team continue to improve both.

Getting to the Win-Win

In the end, your buyer only wants to be successful by ensuring they contribute their part to getting to some specific business outcome on a timely basis with minimal risk. At the same time, sales wants to ensure they are working opportunities that are important to their buyers within the timeframe the customer needs.

As Aja Frost from HubSpot states, “Start by analyzing your middle of the funnel stats. How many touches does it require on average to move an opportunity from one stage to the next? Which stages are the leakiest? What differentiates prospects who make it to a demo from the ones who don’t? Diagnosing, then addressing mid-funnel issues will have a serious impact on your results.”

If you have worked out the kinks to qualifying the deals at the front of your sales pipeline and improved your closing ratios, then YES, absolutely focus on the middle of the funnel. So, now that I have thought all this through, I couldn’t agree more with Aja! How about you?

 

Janice Mars, Principal and Founder of SalesLatitude, is a sales performance improvement consultant and change agent focused on growing top performers to impact bottom line growth. With more than 30 years of experience as a senior business and sales executive, she helps companies build successful sales teams by maximizing their time and resources, selling from the buyer’s point of view, and strengthening the effectiveness of leadership. View my LinkedIn profile | Twitter

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