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  • Brett Zalaski

'Filling the Top of the Funnel'


Whenever this ends, we're going to have to ramp up very quickly. I've said that a lot. Even if it's next year, fans are going to be cautious to purchase anything but individual game tickets. Selling season tickets and groups, for the vast majority of pro sports teams, will be really difficult. Your managers know this, too, and they and I have been talking a lot about 'filling the top of the funnel.' But what does that mean, exactly?


I've seen a lot of pipelines in my day...including my own. One of my biggest struggles hitting goals when I was a younger rep was ANY conversation went 'into the top of the funnel'. So my funnel was comprised of leads about to close, leads in the ballpark of closing, and ALL OTHER CONVERSATIONS. Just because you have a decent conversation with someone doesn't make it qualified for the top of the funnel.


This is where pipeline's get bloated and useless. You should always be tracking FIVE things in sales, THREE of which make your pipeline:

  1. Your Total Daily Activity: It's important to think about ALL the mechanics that go into making a sale or having good sales days/weeks/months. BUT THIS IS NOT ON YOUR PIPELINE.

  2. General Sales Conversations: You should track people you give information to, you start the sales process with, you connect with, etc. He's checking with his wife and he'll call back sometime next week. BUT IF YOU DON'T HAVE A DEFINITIVE NEXT STEP THEY DON'T GO ON YOUR PIPELINE.

  3. Hot Leads: These are about to close, you just need to pick up the check or get the credit card. THESE GO ON YOUR PIPELINE.

  4. Warm Leads: I don't know exactly when they are closing, but we are moving quickly in that direction. We have a stadium tour tomorrow, or they are coming out to the game on Saturday, for examples. THESE GO ON YOUR PIPELINE.

  5. Cold Leads: I'm getting a decision from them and it'll probably be a 'no' or we have definitive (we are speaking next Tuesday at 2:30) next steps that just aren't right now. THESE GO ON YOUR PIPELINE

Those last three are 'the funnel' and the last one is 'the top of the funnel.' The second one is NOT part of your funnel. It's just the group of people you have to get into the funnel. We have to get out of this mindset that just because we have a good conversation with someone that they are immediately a qualified lead. When we make these assumptions, we become prisoners of hope. We spend time waiting for answers. That's not sales, that's order taking. Sales occurs when you drive the process.


We ALSO become prisoners of hope because our pipelines say that we're doing better than we actually are. So we wait for those sales to come in. Here's a spoiler alert...they won't.


Qualified with next steps or currently moving. That's what makes up the top of the funnel. Take a look at yours today...and clean it up!