How To Define Your Funnel Stages For Better Sales & Marketing Management


sales-and-marketing-sales-funnel-define-3The best way to manage your sales and marketing teams seamlessly is to create a funnel of various stages a lead can go through. These should be stages that the lead can be in while they are in the hands of marketing as well as the hands of the sales team. Let’s walk through how to set this funnel up.

To adopt a sales and marketing (also known as “smarketing”) strategy, sales and marketing must have a unified picture of the funnel and standard definitions of each stage of the process. For example, at OverGo we use the following stages: visits, leads, marketing qualified, sales accepted leads, opportunities, and customers.

Understanding lead quality

Once you lay out the different stages a lead can go through you need to define what a quality lead looks like for your business. A visitor is someone who comes to your website, a lead is what they become after they fill out a form and you get their information. But when do you know that they are marketing qualified or sales qualified?

Every company will have their own definition but it depends on two key aspects: fit and interest. They should stimulate interest (marketing qualified) and then move to the stage where they want to follow up with your company further (sales qualified).

Aspects of lead qualification


Your company might target financial services companies with 5,000 or more employees, or small service businesses with fewer than 100 employees. Or, you may be only interested in manufacturing companies of any size. within those categories, you also might identify individual lead profiles, such as title or job description and role in the decision-making process – e.g., economic buyer, end user, influencer. How closely a lead hews to your ideal customer profile will determine whether and when you hand it over to the sales team.


A lead’s activity can reveal how close they are to a buying decision. For example, if a lead has only visited your website once, or has just begun following you on twitter, they may be aware of your company but are not particularly engaged. But a lead that requests a demo or views pricing information is showing a lot more interest. Where a lead falls within the four quadrants of this matrix dictates the next step your marketing or sales team should take.

Define an MQL and SQL

Find trends in behavior

Look at the behavior of leads that have closed in the past. What kind of website activity did they take before they closed? If you find trends in that behavior that gives you a basis of defining what leads are marketing and when they turned to sales ready.

List possible activities

Also list all the activities that a lead can take before becoming a customer, and analyze the close rate for each one. For example, to determine the close rate for a webinar, look at all customers that had watched a webinar, then divide that number by the total number of leads that originally registered for the webinar. That gives you the close rate for leads from that particular event.    

Moving quality leads through the funnel

So now that you have your funnel defined and you know what the quality leads look like that you want to move into the MQL and beyond stages and you can do that with all the great content you have on your site!  

sales and marketing management

Photo Credit:  juliejordanscott via Flickr