In my line of work I have the privilege of speaking with sales
enablement thought leaders and practitioners on a daily basis.
Throughout those conversations I hear the statements, "qualify
early, qualify often" and more recently, "the sales funnel is
Let's start with "the sales funnel is dead". I think the sales
funnel should be dead. By its very nature, a funnel depicts a
"narrowing effect" which in sales indicates starting with many
prospects and eliminates them until you have a few opportunities
that close. Why trudge along for weeks or even months with
prospects that have no intention of buying your services or
Now let's assume you agree with the above paragraph and began to
live by the mantra, "qualify early, qualify often" thus giving you
the opportunity walk away from potential prospects before they even
hit your funnel.What are left are very legitimate prospects with
a much likelier possibility of closing. Thus, you start with many
opportunities and close just about as many.
From a visual perspective you're looking at a "tunnel" rather than
Don't get me wrong. I still firmly believe that following a
process or methodology is still critical. I also feel that
aligning your selling cycle to the customer's buying cycle is
critical as is becoming a trusted advisor. All of these are great
topics for discussion but I'll leave those for another day.