Here’s a pair of commonly heard questions around salesrooms about funnel management.
How many deals can you have on the go at any one time?
How many people can you actively talk to inside a prospect account?
Answers, typically, are along the lines of, ‘you can never have too much on the go…!’
Which doesn’t quite tell the full story.
For in the same manner that the dreaded and sadly often misinterpreted “over-trading” is the death knell for any growing business, you can lose more than you gain from a pipeline in overtrade mode.
The nuance being that rather than sell so much that your cash runs out fulfilling those roaring sales, you pursue so much that your focus and attention dips and sales that ought come home, fall away.
Could internet dating hold the key?
if so, then Oxford Uni researchers suggest our magic number as seven.
Handily, they cite Dunbar’s Number, aka The Rule of 150 (and around whom I’ve blogged before, about meetings & via Handy’s Second Curve). This alludes to anyone having a finite number of people with which relationships can be happily ongoing. In the parlance of the field, they sought to find the “cognitive limit on the number of social connections humans can maintain”.
Assessing over one million dating matches, seven emerged as maximum “dating capacity”. Try eight, and you start to over-stretch yourself.
If this has any Sales resonance, then perhaps it’s time for a forecast check.
Are there eight proper deals in motion? Does any bid see you needing to personally dialogue in detail with over seven people?
There is definitely a number beyond which our selling effectiveness drops. Whether that be off a cliff or slightly wane, both entail sub-performance and must be avoided.
Whatever such “contact capacity” figure is for you, you should probably know it. And be ruthless with your potential business as a result.