Sales funnels are the most important part of your business. Get an early glimpse into how they can help your business by reading this early draft excerpted from my Sales Funnel Bible book.
Business owners have several ways that they can adjust their sales funnel to grow their business. One of the first ways is to simply increase the volume of people going through the sales funnel – either by pouring more of your target market into the top of the sales funnel or by increasing the percentage of people who move forward from one step to the next.
In theory, this sounds great but in practice it doesn’t always work as smoothly as it sounds. (That’s why I actually advise business owners to find other ways to modify their sales funnels first and save this one until later).
Growing the number of people in your sales funnel doesn’t always work as smoothly because of a capacity issue. All sales funnels have a capacity limit at some or all steps of a sales funnel.
Not all steps and activities and channels in your sales funnel will have obvious capacity issues but many of them do:
- Websites can slow down or become overwhelmed by a large number of visitors.
- Marketing or sales follow-up methods might be limited by length of time it takes for the postal service to deliver mail.
- Email marketing might be limited by spam settings or an account limit of the number of emails you’re allowed to send out in a day.
- Sales efforts are sometimes limited by the time available to the salesperson or by the number of salespeople on site.
- Sales are sometimes limited by inventory.
There are many others. Many steps and activities and activities have some kind of capacity limit. Even some aspects of your sales funnel that don’t seem to have a capacity limit will still have one, even if you’re not anywhere near to reaching it. (An example might be with a press release that you publish online. The press release publisher’s site should have the capacity to handle a lot of traffic – perhaps more than you will ever need – but they also have a capacity limit that could theoretically be reached. Even if it won’t be reached, it’s still good to know what it is).
Increasing the number of people into your sales funnel means first figuring out what the limits are in your sales funnel and then mitigating those limits and ensuring that your sales funnel can handle an even greater capacity of people all the way through. You’ll find out quickly enough if it can. And if it can’t, you’ll find out quickly enough where the bottlenecks are.
If you want to avoid this capacity problem right from the start then take a look at the channels and activities in each step and investigate what the possible capacity limits might be. It’s better to be proactive because you’ll be very busy dealing with the challenges if you add more people to your sales funnel and then discover a capacity problem.
The biggest limitation, and certainly the most critical one, will probably be your inventory of products or time (if you sell services). If you decide to increase the number of people moving through your funnel, and extend the capacity of your funnel, you should make sure that you also have the inventory to deliver on the increased sales.
It’s difficult to be more specific about how to increase the capacity in your sales funnel since every sales funnel will have different steps, and each step’s activities and channels will have their own limitations.
Increasing the capacity in your sales funnel will probably require some form of investment (although not necessarily monetary investment). For example, one limit on a print ad might be the circulation of the magazine or newspaper you’re publishing it in. If you want to get more people in your sales funnel to see your print ad then you might need to publish it in a farther reaching periodical or publish it more frequently.
In my experience, all capacity issues can be overcome but the trick is to identify them before they are problems!
This chapter is excerpted from an early draft of my book. Comments and constructive criticisms are welcome. Please be aware that the chapter content and chapter order may change by publication.