Does this sound familiar to you: Your company’s monthly sales results look like a roller coaster at Six Flags. You’re up one month, then down the next. You have a great quarter, and then the next you drop off. Why do we experience the roller coaster ride with crazy peaks and valleys in our sales results? In this blog, we’ll talk about how you can create a more predictable sales funnel that is more consistent and has shallower valleys.
At its core, peaks and valleys in your sales funnel point to a lack of consistency. There isn’t a consistent stream of sales coming in, which means that your monthly numbers are all over the place and it’s hard to predict where you’ll be at the end of the quarter, year, etc.
We believe that this problem stems from a lack of consistent processes in both sales and marketing. One example of what this ends up looking like is that your sales reps may do seasonal prospecting. In January, everyone’s out pounding the pavement and getting prospects and then they have a great March because those orders from January finally closed. It may appear like the reps have been doing great work from January through March, when really they may have stopped prospecting at the end of January. So then they’re gonna have a bad April and May because they stopped prospecting months ago and the top of their funnel dried up. They’ll start their prospecting back up in April and May and have a good June.
This same issue happens with marketing as well. What happens if you aren’t consistent with your marketing efforts? For example, if you invest a bunch in Google ads and have a big campaign, you may rake in a bunch of leads. Then once you turn off your ad campaign, the leads dry up. The lack of consistency means that the leads come in spurts, rather than flow in.
Let’s talk about consistency and processes. At Convergo, we like to think that these two things go hand in hand. When things are happening consistently, you can turn them into formal processes. These processes should be trainable and optimizable. It’s crucial to put these repeatable processes in place because it sets you up for reflection, analysis and improvement. One big thing that we are driven on at Convergo is ensuring that companies have processes in place for net-new business, to make sure that your funnels don’t feel like a roller coaster, but rather a steady climb up and to the right towards your revenue targets.
If you implement consistent, well-documented processes that are expected and inspected and managed, then it can really even out those peaks and valleys.
Metrics Lead to Predictability
Increasing metrics are obviously a positive sign when it comes to sales and marketing. This can also be a valuable tool when adjusting any type of process within your business. Let’s say you know the clear gates between each stage of your pipeline and the conversion rate between one stage and the next is 50%. This allows for a more accurate adjustment because you have an actual number to go off of. It’s an easier way to keep an eye on the metrics that are doing well and those that are not. Check out this blog post for a better idea of sectioned “gates” within the sales process.
Once you have clear processes you can measure two things: quantity and quality.
How often are your team members executing your processes and the activities at each step? How often does a prospect make it from one pipeline stage to the next? You have two things to consider once a process has been established and those are quantity and quality. It’s critical in sales that every aspect becomes a process because then you can actually count it and measure it, and then you have something that you can optimize. Always ask yourself what’s working and what isn’t really working. You want the roller coaster feeling of going up and up. Keeping up with the quality of those conversion rates is key. Without that quality, you’re probably going to be stuck on that roller coaster going up and down.
Progress, Not Perfection
So where do you begin? Maybe you have some activities happening consistently. Maybe you have a couple of formal, documented processes. Maybe you have a couple team members that are very effective and consistent.
One easy thing to get started is to pool all of your resources. Figure out which person is doing really well at each activity that needs to happen and figure out how you can turn what they are doing into formal processes that can be repeated by the rest of your team members. Basically, who is achieving very well in each stage and how can you replicate what they’re doing. Give all of your team members the knowledge and resources they need to have the same success.
Since you are now setting out to create repeatable and clear processes, you can now hold your team accountable. You may be able to have a measurable for each team member that you can coach them on now. For example, if the average conversion rate on your team between stage 1 and stage 2 is 50% and you have a rep who’s converting at 20%, it’s clear what you need to coach that rep on. If the average activity on a given stage is 20 per day, and you’ve got a rep that’s doing 5 per day, you have a coachable opportunity there. When you have repeatable processes, you end up with clear numbers that help you pinpoint coachable opportunities to help your team.