Do you sometimes have the impression that some people in your environment use the terms Sales Pipeline and Sales Funnel practically synonymously? In fact, the two are anything but dissimilar – but there are a few crucial differences. Depending on whether you look at the Sales Pipeline or the Sales Funnel, you can draw quite different conclusions.
The similarities: What Sales Funnel and Sales Pipeline have in common
It’s no coincidence that there can sometimes be confusion between Sales Pipeline and Sales Funnel. Both constructs describe the path of your leads through the entire sales process and their final transformation to the customer. And both break this process down into its different phases (which can vary from company to company). So far, the same. The difference, however, is in the insights that are used to highlight these phases and the leads.
Sales Pipeline: See what is
The Sales Pipeline is designed to help sales people organize and oversee every phase of the sales process. It shows how many leads are in each phase of the process at any given time. And how far each deal has progressed.
This is particularly important in capacity planning. If, for example, a large number of leads are on the verge of a phase in which time-consuming on-site presentations to potential customers become necessary, the team must allow sufficient time for this. If, on the other hand, it can be seen that too few qualified leads are being met at the beginning of the pipeline, more energy must be put into the lead generation, e.g. via white space analyses.
The Sales Pipeline therefore provides an overview of the current status at any stage of the sales process. This provides a forecast as to whether the targets set can probably be achieved or whether there is a need for readjustment.
Sales Funnel: What remains
The Sales Funnel, on the other hand, is less concerned with the current status in each individual phase, but rather with the transitions between the various statuses. The funnel construct is based on the assumption that usually more leads enter a phase than pass into the subsequent phase at the end. That is why it concentrates on the part which does so. The Sales Funnel basically shows the conversion rate of every single step in the sales process.
While the Sales Pipeline primarily provides insights that help to organize the team, the Sales Funnel provides approaches to optimize the actual sales process. If the bounce rate from one phase to the next is too high, solutions must be sought to change this.
Sales Funnel vs. Sales Pipeline? Sales Funnel AND Sales Pipeline!
Sales Pipeline and Sales Funnel are therefore neither the same nor competing constructs. They only allow a different evaluation of your sales process. You get the best output by using them both in the right way. Use the success-oriented funnel view to optimize your process and the clear evaluation of the pipeline for an efficient organization of your team. In this way you maximize your sales success.
Make more reliable claims about the reasons for high bounce rates in your sales process – by identifying similarities and differences between successfully converted and bounced leads.