In businesses whether big or small, it is important to continue to “hunt” for new business opportunities and keep your sales funnel full. This goes for both established companies and start-ups. Since starting VA Partners in 2006, this is one of the biggest challenges we have seen companies face. In established firms, we have seen the sales process become more of an account management function vs a new business prospecting function. In start-ups the challenge is more acute, what happens in many cases when a new client is landed, it is “all hands on deck” to get that client up and running; during that period everything else grinds to a halt including the sales funnel.
The risk in not actively keeping your funnel full in this situation is pretty simple. In start-ups, you simply won’t have any new revenues coming into to keep the lights on. In established firms, you put yourself at greater risk if one of your core client(s) leaves you for whatever reason (i.e. technological shift, gone out of business).
I know of a situation where a company has been at risk:
We have a customer, that when we started with them they had one large client that comprised over 95% of their revenues. This is a dangerous position for any firm. When their client was acquired there was concern that the operations could be consolidated or cut back. We were brought in to help them diversify their revenue base and so far have successfully grown them from one client to over 40 over two years.
A few key tips if to help keep your sales funnel full include:
- Put a consistent amount of effort into the sales process on an ongoing basis – dedicating time for new business
- Ensure the sales team is motivated and compensated to sell
- Identify activities that help drive new sales and measure them accordingly – activities could include cold calling, meetings, proposals, demos
- Have a regular sales funnel review process – pay attention to opportunities further up in the funnel not just near the bottom
If you need assistance growing your sales funnel, driving new revenues and mitigating your risk, feel free to contact me.