Imagine having to make a journey from Point A to Point B. You know your destination but the road on this journey will be fraught with obstacles and uncertainty. You have a general sense of where you need to go, but how can you get there safely and as quickly as possible?
A map would help! And not just any map, but one that highlights all the potential pitfalls along the way, so you can plan for them and sidestep past them to your destination. This interactive map gives you recommended routes to take, and which ones to avoid. Think about how powerful this map can be on your uncertain journey.
That’s the type of power a sales funnel report gives to a sales manager.
Knowing the in’s and out’s of your sales funnel – all the nuances that take an opportunity at the beginning of the funnel all the way through the lead-to-cash journey to the bottom – is a game-changer. But first, sales managers must know how to analyze their sales funnel conversions, so that they can chart this map for the future.
Here’s our step-by-step guide:
1) A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step
Take all the opportunities you had in your sales pipeline at the beginning of this reporting period – the month or the quarter or even the week. Then, chart the progression of each opportunity from the first sales funnel stage to the next, and onward until it either becomes lost or it becomes a closed-won deal.
Of course, this will typically require a complex export to and analysis in Excel. For sales managers who don’t have the time – or power-user Excel acumen – for this, they can save themselves lots of stress with sales analytics and reporting software. Once you’ve charted these opportunities, you’ll have a sales funnel report that looks like this:
2) Dive into conversion rates from one stage to the nextThis report shows how many opportunities move from one stage to the next, highlighting where on the journey your travels will be smooth, and where they might be a little bumpy. Knowing where the precariously rickety wooden bridge is on your journey will help you take better precautions to traverse that in the future.
In this case, it’s clear that the rickety bridge is located at Stage 3 – Technical Fit. Seventy percent of the opportunities that begin this journey progress to Stage 2 (Present Solution), but only a scant 45% of those progressed opportunities make it to the next stage. The ones that do make it past this point can more-or-less smoothly cruise toward the finish line.
What does that tell a sales manager? That his sales reps need help in ferrying these opportunities safely across the Technical Fit, or trial, bridge. The manager can then focus his sales coaching efforts there to ensure that future opportunities don’t fall through the cracks.
3) Turn those insights into actionable plans
Data for data’s sake is useless. A map won’t help you unless you use the information it provides to actively plan a safer and more efficient journey. To that end, knowing where the rickety bridge is means nothing unless a sales manager gives the rep rope and pickaxes to get the opportunity safely across.
In this scenario, Technical Fit means reps are taking opportunities through a trial, getting them onboarded, familiarizing them with features and troubleshooting any problems that might arise. If so many opportunities are dropping off and losing interest here, that tells the sales manager one of two things:
- Reps are not able to make this a smooth onboarding process. They can’t troubleshoot when technical problems arise. This leads to the contact losing patience and deciding that your product isn’t worth their trouble.
- Once the contact gets in trial and starts playing around in your product, they don’t see the value. This means that your reps are not doing a good enough job extracting specific pain points, and then mapping your product’s solutions to those pains.
Fortunately, both are fixable problems. With more coaching on extracting pain early in the process, and more training with the technical aspects of the product, your sales reps will soon see their conversion rates at this stage go up. Looks like that rickety bridge can be repaired and safely traversed after all!
4) Not all travelers are the same
Sales funnel conversion analysis can go even deeper. One good way to look at your sales funnel reports is to compare one rep’s sales funnel compared to the rest of the team:
In this case, it’s clear that Josh is well below-average in several key stages. Where Josh especially seems to struggle is at Stage 2 – Present Solution. Clearly Josh needs to improve his demo skills to better convince a prospect to take the next step with him. This is the one area where Josh needs more sales coaching help, and certainly more than his peers on the team. Having this type of insight will lead you to be a more effective and efficient sales coach.
Knowing where past journeys have faltered can help you and your reps improve future journeys, making them safer, more efficient and more pleasant for all the travelers and guides involved. Improve the analysis of your sales funnel conversions and you’ll soon have a roadmap, with all obstacles clearly laid out in front of you so you can easily conquer them.