Yes folks, today we will be discussing a shape that will change your career. It will guarantee you career success for the foreseeable future.
Actually, a better way to put it is this: if you aren't using the concept behind this shape then you will fall behind the competition.
Did you ever think that a simple geometric pattern would revolutionize how you think about everything in your career? If you master this concept then you will guarantee yourself career success. Why? Because it is a data-driven approach that will help you analyze your strengths and weaknesses. Wouldn't it be beneficial to be able to analyze your weaknesses so you can make systematic tweaks? From there you could analyze if those changes worked or not. So then you could constantly be improving your weaknesses.
The shape is a cone. But when used in a professional setting, it is called a funnel.
Until I worked for Always Hired Sales Bootcamp, I never thought about anything in this way. But Gabe has ingrained it in my mind. Here's how you do it. So if you don't like this article, you can blame him for getting the idea stuck in my head.
Draw a funnel.
Something like that ^^. The # of stages doesn't have to be 3. In fact, it is usually more like 5.
Here is the marketing funnel I use: Users, Leads, Calls, Applications, Students.
Here is a funnel you could use to find a significant other: People seen, People talked to, People asked on a date, Dates went on, Significant other.
This is an example of a funnel you would use in your job search: Resumes sent, Phone interviews, In-person interviews, Offers, Job Accepted.
The funnel concept isn't just for long term career success. It can be applied to most parts of your life. Below, I've outlined the process and then provided an example.
Label each stage of the funnel.
Find out your current rates for each stage of the funnel.
Find out averages for other people.
If you can't do that, then make guesses about what the conversion rates should be.
Then decide if any stage of your funnel is broken or not.
Finally make changes to that stage of the funnel. AND assess if those changes worked or not.
Here is an example:
You send out 20 applications You get 8 phone interviews. From there you get 2 in-person interviews. Then you get 0 offers and obviously you can't accept a job then.
Which part of your funnel is broken?
Well it helps to know the averages of other people. You will not always be able to find this information. Sometimes, you will have to just make educated guesses. An easy way is to utilize professional networking communities like Albert's List. Make a post in there and ask the people in their what their funnel looks like. Pro tip: ask the people who have the best funnels for some tips on how to improve your stages!
I have seen multiple sources besides this one that claim that the industry average for resumes sent to phone interviews is around 2%. That means 1 out of every 50 resumes you send out will get you a phone interview (for the average candidate). So based on the example above, when you got 8 phone interviews from 20 applications, you know that your resume is quite good! You are getting way more phone interviews than the average person. So that part of your funnel isn't broken. So leave this stage alone!
Next, go down from there. Out of 8 phone interviews you get 2 in-person interviews. From a quick search, I couldn't find any data around an average.
Quick note: an important concept regarding the funnel is that it's typically more important for your conversion rates to be higher the further you go down the funnel. Why? Because you can feasibly drop more leads into the top of the funnel. The top of the funnel can easily take in more volume. But the conversion rates go down significantly at each stage of the funnel because you are multiplying percentages. So a certain amount of volume may not even increase the end result.
Alright back to our example. Let's set the goal for the next stage to be around 60%. Expecting over half of your phone interviews to turn into in-person interviews seems realistic yet aggressive (remember SMART goals). Out of 8 phone interviews you would expect to get around 5 in-person interviews.
Only getting 2 in-person interviews doesn't quite give you the sample size to say that the bottom stage of your funnel is broken. So we're going to assume that the "broken stage" is your phone interview.
Now you can make adjustments to how you do phone interviews. Practice talking on the phone more. Listen to how you sound. Look up best practices for phone interviews. Implement these strategies. See if your conversion rates improved. If not, then you need you keep improving that area of your funnel. If the changes did help then continue to use those strategies on that stage of the funnel. Then gradually shift your focus to other areas to see if they need improvement.
Hopefully, that example helped you envision the process. If you can master this process, the funnel will bring you career success. And don't we all want that?
Some important things to consider for funnel management:
So if you want career success, use a funnel.
Edit: Updated this article about sales/marketing funnel on 5/13.
Here is a real life example related to this article.
We noticed that part of our funnel for Always Hired Sales Bootcamp was broken. We were seeing a drop in the conversion rates and so we decided to make a change. We originally tried to make the process in one of our stages shorter. By making it simpler, we thought more people would be able to fly through that stage. But it didn't work.
So then we have to try something else while reverting back to the original system. We decided to rearrange the stages in our funnel so there is more human interaction in the earlier stages.
Early indications support our decision to change the funnel. So far, we have seen an increased conversion rate as well as a decrease in the amount of time it takes to go through the funnel.
Here's the lesson: you don't always need to shorten the process. By rearranging it, you can possibly solve your problem as well as reduce the time it takes for a prospect to go through.
Hopefully that example helps you envision what it's like to truly manage a funnel.
Here are some other blog posts that you might find useful:
3 Hardest Interview Questions (And How to Answer Them)
How to Sell Ice to an Eskimo
4 Soft Skills Employers are Looking For
We also have free online training videos for you.
The online sales training videos will help you learn some sales skills as well as give you a preview of what our bootcamp training is like.
And if you're asking yourself: "How can I find a boot camp near me?" You can learn sales skills online because our sales bootcamp is virtual.
- More data is better for decision making.
- Time-frame is important. Knowing the total average time of your funnel as well as the average time of each stage is incredibly useful. If you don't know these then you may be looking at the data the wrong way.
- Ideally it is better to base your stage averages from data on the internet.
- When labeling stages, be as specific as possible to prevent leads from escaping your funnel.