5 “Plug and Play” Tips To Optimize Your Inside Sales Funnel

Value prop being the same, the difference between a fast growing, ultra-successful business and a stagnant one is the sales funnel.

The master of online sales funnels and Founder of Clickfunnels, Russell Brunson built a $360mm a year business by selling sales funnel software and he did it without any external funding.

Forbes writes, “there wasn't a single VC in sight. There was no one there to make suggestions on sales strategies or attempt to influence Brunson's business plan to scale or flesh-out the platform in any shape or manner.”

How did he do this?

He did this with an insane offer and an insane sales funnel.

There are many different types of sales funnels:

  • Inside sales funnels
  • Webinar Sales funnel
  • Email Marketing Funnels
  • E Commerce Funnels

However, the scope of this article will be on inside sales funnels.

Hubspot gives a pretty good definition of the inside sales funnel below:

Inside Sales Funnel

I put together a diagram that goes through the mechanics of traveling through this inside sales funnel.

Inside Sales Funnel Metrics

 The scope of this article covers steps two and three. Steps four through six are covered in this sales training article.

Inside Sales Funnel Metrics

So let’s assume you set up your traffic mechanisms and you are generating leads with a high-converting lead capture page. From here, you need to turn these leads into opportunities.

Most companies really struggle with turning leads into real opportunities and demos. They fail to understand that a demo is a sale in and of itself. Thirty minutes to an hour of a decision maker’s time could be worth $50-$500.

Mark Roberge, the VP sales at Hubspot set his team’s lead to demo conversion rate goal at 33%.

This is extremely high, but doable. The average company doesn’t have anywhere near this rate.

“Implisit analyzed the pipelines of hundreds of companies and found that the average conversion rate from Lead to Opportunity (another way of saying MQL to SQL [lead to demo]) was 13%, and took an average of 84 days to convert.” Source

This number is heavily dependent on the lead source. Organic website leads had a 31% average qualification rate, while lead lists had only a 2.5% qualification rate.

If you are generating leads from sources other than search, then you will really need to have a hard look at your lead to opportunity rate (demo rate) and determine what you can do to optimize that.

Converting leads to demos doesn’t cost you any more money (it’s just a messaging and optimization problem), so if you double your lead to demo conversion rate using optimization, you will double your revenue and your profits.

We spent the last 5 years helping our clients scrape the outer limits of these conversion rates. This allowed them to become insanely profitable very quickly.

“The inside sales funnel Nick built started generating real, qualified demos in only a few days. We repeatedly and predictably started closing accounts in a few weeks with brand new reps. This allowed us to sustain a 15-20% month over month growth rate and get to our first $1M in ARR extremely quickly.” Kevin Mulhern, CEO of AdvisorStream

“With the system SalesProcess built our outbound prospecting lead capture rate went from .5% to 2%, our paid cold traffic campaign lead capture rate was 10-12%, our demo booking rate increased to 40% and our demo closing rate went from 10% to 38%. With the funnel fully built, sales will catch up to our expenses in 6 months or less. this means instead of prematurely diluting the company with venture capital like so many seed stage startups, we can raise capital with less dilution.” - Henry Bee, CEO Cassia Research.

In this article, I will give you some tips to help you at least double your lead to opportunity rate.

If you double your lead to opp rate, you could double your revenue and double your profit.

Tip 1: Immediately After a Lead Form is Filled Out, Send Traffic to a Demo Booking Page

Your prospects just committed to you and gave you their contact information (a little commitment). The best thing to do here is to keep that momentum going and ask for another commitment. They are obviously interested in what you have (assuming your lead magnet had something to do with your offer). 10-40% of your leads should book.

Below is an example from cassia-research (CoPilot): Once a lead opts in, they are sent to this custom page that prompts them to book a demo. 

Calendly Page Example


Use a demo booking solution like Calendly - it’s simple and really easy to use. Make sure the only call to action on the demo booking is “Book a demo”. You don’t want your visitors to get distracted.

Calendly Page

Tip 2: Create A Compelling Lead to Demo Re Engagement Email Loop

Decision makers are busy and don’t want to spend thirty minutes of their time talking to some unproven chump. They need to know exactly what they get in return for booking and showing up for a demo. For those that didn't signup on your thank you page, you can communicate this in your lead to demo email follow up sequence. Just add this automation loop in your autoresponder.

Email 1: “Hey [First Name], thanks for checking out [your site]. I’d like to offer you a demo of [product]. In this demo, I’ll personally show you exactly how to [increase whatever metric]. Please book a time here: [insert link to demo booking page]. You will not be sorry you did. Thanks.”

Email 2: “Hey [First Name], Just quickly checking in. You requested more information about [product]. Good on you :) I’d like to show you exactly how to [increase whatever metric] using [whatever solution] with a 30 minute demo. Can we make this happen or what? Here is a link to my calendar [insert link].”

Email 3: “Hey [First Name], I noticed you haven’t booked a demo yet. No worries. I put together this article for you that you might find interesting: [insert article]. Let me know what you think. Also, if you want to learn exactly how to [increase whatever metric] by [whatever %] using [whatever solution], book a call here: [insert link].”

Email 4: “Hey [First Name], I’m breaking up with you. All I wanted was to give you a demo and show you how to increase [whatever metric] by [whatever method]. I researched your company I thought you would like that. However, I guess I was wrong…

Is this what you really want? If not, please just book a demo with me: [insert demo link].

If your mind is made up and you are ending this, then I get it. I’m sorry for wasting your time.”

If that doesn’t get them going, nothing will :)

Tip 3: Send Engagement and Qualification Email Once Lead Books To Increase Show-up Rate

Once the lead schedules a spot on your calendar, we need to engage them, qualify them and cause a little investment. If you do this properly, you will significantly increase your show up rate and your close rate. You can automate this whole process with Zapier and Gmail (you want to make the email look like it came from a real person, not a robot).

In this email, convey you are an expert and tell them exactly what you are going to cover.

Email: “Hi [First name],

Thank you for booking a demo. In this demo, we will be covering exactly how to [increase whatever metric your solution helps with]. Just to make the best use of your time, I have a few questions I’d like to ask you. If you can think about the answers or answer them prior to the demo, I’ll be able to better help you during the demo. Please just answer inline (you can use sentence fragments - I just want to get the jist of it)...It will save us both a ton of wasted time.

  1. How are you currently doing [whatever your solution helps with]?
  2. What are you most looking to get out of the demo?
  3. Are you able to try out new solutions yourself or do you need to get buy in from other team members? If so, who are these other team members?
  4. If we are able to increase [whatever metric] by [whatever %], is your business at a place where you could spend [price]?

If the prospects answers the questions and qualifies, this is a really hot lead and you should be able to close them.

Tip 4: Build A Reminder Loop To Increase Show Up Rate

Once your prospect gets their engagement emails, you need to send your confirmation emails. People are busy and forget appointments all the time. Do whatever you can to prevent this from happening. You need to get these people on the phone. You can send 2 reminders (one 24 hours before the appointment and one 2 hours before the appointment).

Calendly has this feature built in so just use that.

Calendly Email reminder


Tip 5: Build Your Reschedule Loop To Capture No Shows

If the lead cancels or doesn’t show up, don’t panic. People will not make every appointment. You need to run the lead through a reschedule campaign with your autoresponder. This is extremely important for capturing leads who just got too busy. Here are some example emails.

Email 1: “Hey [first name], it looks like you missed the demo. I set aside some time for you to go over [how you can help them]. Are you able to reschedule? Please use this link to reschedule: [insert link].

Email 2: “Hey [first name], again just quickly checking in. I know people get busy so I just wanted to see if you still wanted me to give you this demo. It’s not some 30 minute pitch fest… it’s a demo specifically designed to show you how to [increase whatever metric]. Please just use this link here to reschedule.

Email 3: “Hey [first name], I take the lack of response to mean that you are not interested in hearing from me. Should I go eat rocks? If not, please book a time here: [insert reschedule link].”

If you follow these steps to a T, you will significantly increase your lead to demo rate. If your demo to account conversion rate is strong, this could very well double or triple your business and revenue.

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