Filling a Pipeline is Hard Work.
Filling a pipeline is hard fucking work.
We all want more revenue. What we don’t realise is that we can’t just ‘have’ more revenue, there are 4 moving parts that we have to work on. You cannot directly affect revenue but you can directly affect the following:
Lead pipeline – Prospects that are interested in working with your business.
Conversion rate – If 10 prospects turn into 1 customer, that’s a 10% conversion rate.
Average Spend – If 10 customers total to £1000 in sales, that’s £100 average spent.
Average Number Of Transactions – If 10 customers buy a total of 30 times, that’s 3 times an average number of transactions.
When we break it down we can start to see how little increments on each of these sections will cause a dramatic increase in our turnover level because of the compound effect.
Today we are going to focus on number 1, your lead pipeline. The reason we are going to focus on this is one, is because Avalanche Enterprise is a marketing agency that filled 70 different company’s pipelines in the last year and generated over 2000 leads for those businesses; and two, we can’t measure the other 3 properly without a consistent and full pipeline.
The truth is, no matter how easy the internet makes you think to fill your pipeline is, it’s a really tough task and one that is going to take the graft from you, your sales team and your marketing team. I am going to run through 3 steps that you need to take in order to guarantee a budding pipeline that actually helps your conversion.
The first port of call will be to develop a trackable plan so we can see, in black and white, what is working and what isn’t. It is likely that there are going to be multiple pipeline filling methods that you are testing at once so we recommend a live google spreadsheet that each of your team can access. The experts will tell you that 12 months is a great place to start but from personal experience, it’s more productive to focus on a quarter plan in order to first find your feet and then gradually build that out into12-months plan.
The plan should have a main dashboard and then a tab for each of the strategies you will be using.
2. Focus on conversation
‘The more you speak to your target market, the more successful you will be’ is a great quote and something we live by in across all of my businesses. By focusing on speaking to your target market as much as possible, you will refine the way you speak, understand what your potential clients are looking for and adapt your pitch. Conversation in 2017 means phone, video, instant message, social media and many more different means of communication platforms; this means that you don’t have any excuse to not be in constant contact with your target market. If you speak to 20 new target market prospects per week that is roughly 80 per month or just under 1000 per annum.
3. Let your target market build itself over time
Early on, most businesses do not have a unique value proposition or much of a niche. This comes from listening to your prospects and using your creative entrepreneurial flare to cultivate a niche over time. Too many experts suggest you focusing on a niche and extremely specific target market early on in your pipeline building but that is silly. You don’t know your niche yet, or how this will pivot. Be specific in who you want to target but don’t limit your offering until you have spoken to your prospects and understand what they want.
4. Test & Measure – Repeat
You need to be diligent in your testing and measuring. Measure everything – that includes how many messages you send out, how many emails you send, how many calls you make, how many impressions you get. The term ‘whatever you measure, will grow’ (Put your dirty mind away) is common in the business world because you are actually focusing on it.
Don’t be worried if your initial numbers suck.
Conversation is all about engagement and some businesses take a lot longer to build a high engagement rate with their prospects than others. As long as you understand how acquisition cost works, all is well. What that means is, if you are spending £1,000 a month on marketing and the average customer has a lifetime profit value of £20,000, then 1 client in 20 months would mean break even. We obviously want better than that but by measuring your acquisition cost and what your target acquisition cost will be, will help you determine which strategies are going to work and why.
Patience is key. Be diligent with your measuring and the results will come. Marketing is all about consistency.