I’ve always said, success in marketing and sales is psychology plus math. In the 4-Step Core Foundation I teach, Market, Message, Media and Math, your sales pipeline – and the plan to hit any sales goal you have – IS mostly a math problem. Specifically, how many prospects and/or clients do you need to sell, at what price point, to hit quota? If you know that, you can work backward to hit your goal.
Without an accurate sales funnel, you have no insight into what’s going on in your marketing and sales departments and processes, no way of truly knowing what’s working and what’s not, and no way of spotting and fixing problems that are blocking the flow of money to you. You also cannot do backward planning from your goal to know specifically what you need to do to hit a sales goal.
For example, let’s suppose the following pipeline averages (see below) were true for you. PLEASE keep in mind these are ONLY for example purposes, and YOUR numbers and the sales pipeline for another MSP – even one in your own market area – may vary greatly depending on what you’re selling, who you’re selling to and, of course, the skills of your current salesperson or team.
Further, IF you are ONLY getting referrals, your numbers will look far better than if you’re actually prospecting NEW potential clients.
- 50% of all RAW leads were qualified.
- 70% of the qualified leads you generate turn into an initial appointment.
- 80% of the initial appointments you go on move to the proposal stage; 20% are disqualified.
- 80% of the proposals you generate close.
- Your average Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR) is $2,000 per month (note that the total sale could be higher with projects).
Now, let’s suppose you want to generate $500,000 in new MRR. Here’s what you’d have to do to get there:
- You need 21 clients ($2,000 x 12 months = $24,000, divided into $500,000).
- You need 26-27 proposals sent (80% close = 21 clients).
- You need 32-33 initial appointments (80% will go to proposal).
- You need 46-47 qualified leads (70% will turn into an initial appointment).
- You need about 93 leads (50% will be unqualified), or 8 leads per month.
- If your appointment setter/marketing generates a 4% response, you need to prospect 2,325 people per year, or 194 per month, @ 45-48 per week.
An Important Point: There are NUMEROUS ways you can define the stages in a sales funnel, and none are entirely right or wrong – it just depends on what YOU want to track and, to a great degree, personal preference. I do believe you could have too many stages, creating more complexity than is necessary and more work for everyone that doesn’t contribute to securing better results. I also think you could make the steps too broad and miss conversion details that matter to making intelligent decisions. I will provide you the stages I recommend, along with what each stage means, how someone gets classified into that stage and why you want to define that stage in the first place. But keep in mind, if MY recommendation doesn’t serve your specific purposes, then by all means CHANGE IT.
Whatever you decide, your sales funnel should be designed to help you:
A) Track the movement of prospects through your sales funnel to establish metrics you can then depend on to create a forecast and work backward from a goal,
B) Identify weak spots and failures in the process so they may be fixed or strengthened (for example, a low close rate on proposals),
C) Prioritize and organize the deals you’ve got going so you don’t miss any or drop the ball on a good opportunity, and
D) Determine the ROI of various campaigns and lead sources so you can intelligently invest your time and money toward the things that are working and productive, and less on those not providing an ROI.
What you should NOT do is try to conform your sales funnel to a software application you use, like your PSA or quoting tools – UNLESS their system works for you. That means you might need to pull together data into an old-fashioned spreadsheet and manipulate the numbers that way. For our clients using Keap, we use a combination of tags and fields to track these various stages and pull the data into a custom, external dashboard, so you can track if you’re off target or ON target, making the necessary adjustments in your sales and marketing plan as needed.