All professional sports teams eventually experience the setback of injuries to key players. My Columbus Blue Jackets hockey team, having another successful year, lost captain Nick Foligno to a season ending injury on ‘x’. They lost key defender Josh Anderson on ‘x’. Top scorer Cam Atkinson was out for ‘x’ due to a ‘x’ injury.
Next man up! That’s what the coaches say. As they should. Any team depending solely on its starting lineup surviving the physical bashing of the entire season is exposed to too much risk. The successful teams have a strong bench that is ready to spring into action.
As it is with your sales funnel.
A sales funnel needs the ‘strong bench’ of opportunities that make the funnel healthy. Too often I see in our clients’ monthly Funnel Audit™conversations funnels that seemingly have enough TVR – enough funnel value to be 3:1 or 2:1 or whatever is the target size – only to see that most of the TVR is tied up in a very small number of opportunities.
The problem with that is it makes the salesperson vulnerable. If one or two of those TVR deals falls out the funnel value is too low for the close rate to win enough of what’s left to hit the quota. There’s no bench to give the starters a break.
Here’s what you can do to manage through this.
Inspect the funnel regularly. Our clients avoid surprises by constantly looking at the ‘leading indicator’ of the funnel value, TVR. If there’s not enough TVR they’re aware of it and can act on it.
Purge the funnel. Purging the funnel once a year sounds wise but Lean would say that’s batching the work and it’s not efficient. Instead, develop the habit of purging throughout the year. Every Funnel Audit™conversation is an opportunity to get rid of deals that artificially make the funnel look good. As they say, if it’s a pig lipstick won’t hide that fact.
Build a sales funnel full of singles and doubles, not home runs. Who doesn’t like closing the home run sale? But more hall of fame hitters get there by getting on base with a high percentage. I’ve met a lot of successful sellers who close a lot of smaller or midsized sales. They make sure their funnel is full of those sales, as boring as they might be. They pay lots of bills.
Author, The Funnel Principle and creator of the original BuyCycle Funnel sales model
Author of soon to be released book Blindspots: The Hidden Killer of Sales Coaching