I had precious few discussions on the optimum make-up of the winning funnel as my career began.
When suffering being ‘sales managed’ myself back in the 90s, one constant refrain, whilst a perhaps disputable general reminder (“you can never have too much on the go”), failed to advise on the ideal shape of said pipeline.
Another boss did attempt to suggest a recipe. Referring to the (three) lanes of a motorway and the speed at which vehicles zoom or dawdle along it.
Despite efforts to homogenise buying options, no two deals are ever quite the same. In fact, extremes are often so wildly apart as to render the solution salesperson feeling like they can represent two totally different companies.
Yet we know that with too many simultaneous career-defining “whales” comes inevitable loss of focus. And too many bitty “tiddlers” sees our work-reward ratio similarly skewed towards failure.
So what look does a funnel most likely to lead to above-target results exhibit?
Here’s a framework you might consider borrowing from that glossy world of interior design.
The 60-30-10 Rule.
One of the multitude of online articles praises this as your key to colour confidence. Could it be adapted for our key to quota-busting confidence?
Can 60% being dominant walls and anchor pieces be equated to the meat of your portfolio. Your bread and butter. Where your performance is rooted. Standard-type orders which yield the bulk of your required number. These could relate to a well established product or market. They are at the core of your company’s offering.
Then there’s the 30% of ‘accents’. Add-ons, emerging rising star categories, allied services and areas.
Finally the 10%. The ‘place to play around’. Where all the proto-extras fit in neatly. Brand new initiatives, beta testing, newly launched kit or freshly targeted lands. As well as the occasional smaller deal to either gain account entry or keep an account ticking along nicely.
Whether this exact delineation is apt for you isn’t really the point. It is that pretty much every successful forecast will have a mini-formula of ingredients which best ensure the expectation set is met.
And a three layered pyramid may well be the natural starting point too. How firm an idea have you of your equivalent?