Business development is challenging enough as it is, but have you ever felt like there are hidden barriers in place that are tripping you up?
How many times have you felt that your firm couldn't respond to a client need quickly enough or deliver a proposal at the optimal time, just because your firm's internal processes got in the way?
Perhaps internal processes or procedures are creating friction that holds you and your firm back from closing deals and delivering services swiftly.
Conversion is King
I once worked at a successful online bicycle retailer – think Amazon, but with bicycles and accessories. We were in the Top 5 of our industry niche, with dozens of competitors nipping at our heels.
Why was my previous company so successful in their market?
We had a saying: "Conversion is King." Conversion Rate is the percentage of visitors to a store that place an order. A tiny improvement in conversion rate means a massive increase in revenue.
Our goal was to optimize our sales funnel to identify "friction points" that kept visitors from converting.
We obsessively analyzed the complete process of shopping, from finding items to checking out. As we went through each step, we asked ourselves, "What are the points where our visitors encounter an obstacle that hinders them from completing their order?"
Friction points came in all forms. Perhaps it was a website glitch that kept people from finding a product with the site search. Maybe it was long webpage load times in the checkout. And some shoppers simply didn't buy because they didn't like how much we charged for shipping.
Not surprisingly, we found too many friction points to count. The list seemed endless.
Optimizing the Funnel
Here's how we attacked the friction points we found:
- We laid out our whole funnel and analyzed each step. When we agreed that a friction point existed, we would list it.
- We ranked the severity of the friction points higher if they occurred near the end of the buying process.
- Finally, we brainstormed methods of lessening or removing that friction point.
Eventually, we were able to smooth or remove several of our worst friction points through some diligent analysis and thoughtful changes.
Of course, it's hard to compare an online store to a professional service firm – they have completely different moving parts. But you can apply the same principles to analyze your funnel, find the rough points in your process, and figure out creative ways to eliminate them.
We're all familiar with the inefficiencies in our work processes; you could probably call them out in your sleep. But, have you taken the time to list them and identify which are hurting your business the most?
Follow these steps to get started with this process:
- Lay out your funnel graphically. List all the steps that your prospects must take to become paying clients.
- Identify friction points. Where do your prospects get caught most often "in limbo"? At what point do you find that prospects ignore your calls, or clients don’t renew their contract with you?
- Brainstorm and make one small improvement to the process (don't expect to change your whole process overnight). The closer to the bottom of the funnel, the better.
Through a bit of focused process improvement, you can smooth your friction points over time. Doing so will help you improve your conversion rate, save your potential clients time and frustration, and help you close more business in less time.
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