Whether you work in sales, marketing, recruitment or any other role that has a clearly defined performance goal – it’s likely you’ll have heard people talking about a ‘funnel’.
“Keep your funnel full” – “The funnel never lies” – “The funnel always performs” – there are plenty of claims that follow this mythical funnel around – but what it is? How can you create your own? And, the most important question anyone can ask – how will creating one earn you a brand-new Ferrari?
You’re right to be suspicious, promises of supercars are usually the thing of click-bait – but in this instance, I’m going to give you all the information you need – you’re just going to have to apply it. I’ve even broken it down into handy steps for you…
Step 1: Define your goals
Before you dive into creating a funnel – you’ve got to understand what the end goal of your role is. You might be required to get a certain number of appointments each day, perhaps you’re expected to contribute a certain amount to your company’s bottom line or maybe you have a minimum number of upsells when a customer buys a product.
It doesn’t matter what it is, if it can be quantified in a numerical value then it’s the going to represent the final figure in your conversion funnel.
Step 2: Decide on a time frame
How frequently are you expected to achieve your target? This is quite a good way of deciding on a timeframe that your funnel will span. Don’t worry, you don’t have to be accurate at this stage – choose a short period of time – perhaps a week or a month – you’ll be able to scale up later.
Step 3: Map the customer journey
In step 1 I used the word ‘conversations’ – and that’s exactly what a funnel illustrates:
Every conversion that a customer is required to make to take them from where they are now to a fully paid up client. Another way of thinking about this is considering it a ‘customer journey’.
Let’s use a generic sales role as an example:
- Salesperson cold calling or prospecting
- A meaningful phone conversation about your product
- Customer agrees to you visiting them
- Customer orders your product
This is just an off-the-cuff example – but the principle will remain the same whatever your process. Break down your customer’s journey into every decision, interaction, call-to-action and result that’s required.
Step 4: Build a website that drivers online sales
A website isn’t just a load of pictures, videos and fancy fonts you know! It can actually be one of your most important and powerful sales tools. It serves as a virtual equivalent of a physical business for the 3.2 billion internet users and can allow you to sell your products and services at anytime, anywhere. However, where most businesses seem to fail when it comes to websites is actually the design which is key for driving conversions and leads. This is why we would always recommend working with trust partner such as Think Zap who are one of the leading web design agencies in Glasgow.
Step 5: Apply the numbers
When you’ve got the customer’s journey or process broken down into steps and you’ve a timeframe decided upon – it’s time to start applying numbers to each step.
Let’s say your funnel is going to illustrate a week in your role. Print your customer journey and put it on your desk or in your planner. Every time a customer reaches a stage in your process put a tally mark next to that step. It’s absolutely vital you’re honest at this stage – miscalculating or trying to beef up your figures is worse than unhelpful and it certainly isn’t going to bag you this Ferrari. Being accurate now is the key to success.
Keep this process up for a day, a week or however long you wish. Generally speaking, the longer you record your results for, the more useful the data will be.
Step 6: Results
After your week, fortnight or month, you’ll have a set of data that’s ready for interpretation. Let’s say that over a week your numbers look something like this:
- Salesperson cold calling or prospecting – 100
- A meaningful phone conversation about your product – 40
- Customer agrees to you visiting them – 10
- Customer orders your product – 5
It’s perfectly normal for your numbers to dwindle from the very top action down to the bottom one – if they don’t, you probably already own a garage full of supercars and don’t need my help.
By writing down these numbers you’ve just gained a major insight that’s going to transform the way you work.
You now know your numbers
Let’s use our example numbers again. You now know that picking up the phone and dialling 100 times means you’re going to get 5 orders. Okay, there are some steps in between, but you’ve got a process to handle that. Customer behaviour is rarely (if ever) unique – people respond to similar marketing and sales processes – if they didn’t, advertising and demographics wouldn’t exist. Trust the process.
These numbers take luck out of your day. You know exactly what you’ve got to do to get the result you want. Happy with 2 sales a day? Pick up the phone 40 times and go home early. Want to beat the smug high-performer who’s always hitting 4 orders? Pick the phone up 100 times and get 5 bits of business tucked away…
Your numbers = your Ferrari
If you want to aim for big rewards you’re going to have to apply money to your numbers. Let’s say you’re paid a commission of £200 for every complete order – let’s also say that you want your Ferrari in 12 months-time.
- Ferrari F12 Berlinetta cost – £241,963
- Commission per order – £200
- Orders needed to buy Ferrari – 1210
- Phone calls needed to achieve 1210 orders – 30,250
- 30,250 orders divided by 261 working days – 116
So, a Ferrari now doesn’t equal £241,963 – it equals picking up your phone 116 times each working day.
Too many calls?
Clearly, the numbers are going to be your own – but if you work out your Ferrari numbers and it’s physically not possible – then you need to look at your funnel again…
We know that out of 40 meaningful conversations with your potential customers 10 of them will agree to meeting you – and for every 10 people you see you’ll get 2 orders. So why not look at that conversation that you’re having with 40 people and see if you can improve it?
Expand the funnel!
At any time, you can squeeze more life out of your current funnel.
There’s no advice I can give you here on how to make yourself, your business or your conversation more appealing to the people you speak to – but let me assure you; it’s possible. Listen to the best people in your business, read some theory, get on some courses, pay someone better than you to do the calls! Whatever it takes, you can get more life out of what you’re doing – and when you do, your top line numbers shrink.
So, in the case of your new Ferrari – do your homework and boost those appointments from 10 to 20 – suddenly every figure above that is cut in half!
Your new Ferrari now requires you to pick up the phone 58 times a day…
- Build the funnel
- Understand the funnel
- Expand the funnel
…and what you do with the ensuing success is entirely up to you.