Sales Funnels Are Fun… And Productive

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Recently I’ve had several conversations with clients about how to grow revenues systematically. 

Sales can be looked at like making widgets on a production line. But in sales the production line is a funnel because, unlike a production line where most widgets make it all the way through, in sales, many of the prospects we start with don’t make it to the end. 

There are three factors that impact the number of sales we produce through our funnel. They are: volume, yield and velocity.

Volume: Because not all opportunities result in sales, the more opportunities we have to begin with the more sales we generate.  In a widget factory, the more raw, unformed widgets we have to start with, the more that get produced through the process.

Yield: The less opportunities we lose through our sales funnel, the more sales we end up with. On an assembly line we think of it as how many widgets make it through without breaking. 

Velocity: The faster we run opportunities through the funnel the more sales we produce, no matter the yield. i.e. the faster the assembly line goes, the more widgets we produce. 

Thinking about sales as a production line and improving each of the three factors along the way makes us focus on the process instead of obsessing over the end result. 

We count how many emails we send, how many calls we make, how many presentations we give, how many prospects we signed up for a free trial, and so on.  

So funnel management makes sales fun. We feel good when we have a sense of control over our outcomes and when we make progress. 

We feel in control when we have areas to work on that we know will improve outcomes (volume, yield and velocity). Making progress in those areas feels good even if it takes time to see a big uptick in overall sales – which will absolutely happen.     

Here’s the question: Are you doing it?  Do you have steps defined and are you keeping and reviewing stats, and working to improve the stats?  

That’s where the action is – where the wins come from. 

So, here’s your action item. Look at your sales funnel. Make sure your steps are defined and that each step is measured.  

Then brainstorm ideas to improve volume, yield and velocity at each step. Select one or two ideas, make them happen and check the stats to track progress. Then work on more ideas.  

Focus relentlessly on improving the process and the sales will come.

For more information on sales data, check out this G2 article on how to use data to drive your sales strategy.

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