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Upper Hand

Sports Management Blog

Sports Coaching Sales Funnel Design Guide

Posted by Upper Hand | Jun 27, 2015 11:11:28 AM

Sports Coaching Sales Funnel

Whether looking to launch your sports coaching business or grow an existing sports training facility, there comes a time where understanding your sales funnel, lead generation and marketing strategy becomes a daunting task. Getting to talk with many great training organizations, we know how difficult this area can be - after all, you need to be coaching, improving training curriculum and mapping out the long-term strategy for your business. Here are some ways you can ignite your sports business marketing strategy by understanding and developing your sales funnel.

Understanding the sports coaching sales funnel Sales funnels vary from business-to-business, with very little written or shared about how a sports coaching business, camp business, or other training service provider should build a sales funnel (Dummies.com, 2015). At the end of the day, to stay in business, you need to be profitable. This is the first step towards long-term stability and profitability, identifying what your sales funnel should look like. When thinking through a sales funnel, whether using the one we are about to outline for you or creating your own, it’s important to think big, start small, and act quickly (referred to in our world as - fail fast) (Dummies.com, 2015). If you sit around waiting for everything to be aligned perfectly, you will never be able to iterate on what you learn to be successful.

Here are the 5 key components of the sports coaching sales funnel:

1. Always Start With the End in Mind
The objective of creating and executing a sales funnel is to increase profits by selling higher priced items to your hyper-responsive customers. If that is not your objective, write out what your objective as a sports business is then develop your sales funnel around that objective. You may even host a large annual camp, tryout, showcase or tournament that would benefit from it’s own sales funnel.

2. The Sales Funnel is a Process
From start to finish, the sales funnel is a systematic marketing process where you are progressively and aggressively, filtering leads to clients (e.g. customers), then refining to identify your “hyper-responsive clients” (Entrepreneurs-journey.com, 2015). The process should become circular as new clients are converted into recurring (repeat) clients.

3. The Sales Funnel has a Front & Back

  • The front of the funnel is where we introduce lead generation channels. Here the goal is to attract and qualify people who may have an inclination to purchase your training further down the sales funnel. You want to create front end mechanisms that capture the attention of people (Entrepreneurs-journey.com. 2015). At the front end, customers develop a stronger relationship with your organization as they purchase or participate in low-cost promotional events, and a lot of times free introductory offers. As clients continue working with you, they will begin to enter the back end of the funnel (more on this later). Customers tend to be more price sensitive on the front end of the sales funnel and often require more customer service attention (Entrepreneurs-journey.com, 2015).
  • The back of the funnel is the profit center for the business, where clients are ready to make a long-term commitment to your sports business methodologies by purchasing big ticket items with high margins (Entrepreneurs-journey.com, 2015). To recap and simplify, the sales funnel front end is the starting point where you will engage various lead generation channels, while the back end of the funnel is where you will utilize automation tools, like Upper Hand, to maintain high margin recurring clients.

4. The Five-Stage Sales Funnel
Sports Facility-Academy-Training Sales Funnel

  • Lead Generation: Your funnel starts by generating awareness about your sports coaching business, through lead generation channels (Dummies.com, 2015). Generally, lead generation comes from two categories, organic or paid. Get creative, track results and regularly refine your lead generation towards what shows the best results (i.e. which channel converts the most new clients). 
    Check out our recommended lead generation channels to start capturing new leads for your academy, club or upcoming training event today.
  • All Contacts: At this stage ALL contacts generated from lead generation channels are added to your rolodex or customer relationship management database on 
    Upper Hand (if you are operating in the 21st century).
  • Qualified: When a contact has expressed interest in your services.
  • Engaged / Prospect: When a qualified contact has engaged with you and you are ready to render services.
    Filtered Out: Removing qualified contacts and engaged prospects who are not interested in your services is important to defining what the ideal new client profile looks like to target at lead generation. Marketing to un-interested contacts is a waste of time and money. It is critical to always be filtering out contact throughout all stages of the sales funnel.
  • New Clients: Services are rendered and the original contact is now counted as a new client, congrats!

5. Your Sales Funnel on Upper Hand

  • Get names & emails (Lead Generation): Through all the various lead generation channels (learn more here) you are looking for “permission” from new contacts to share information about your training services. To use the Upper Hand marketing and contact management tools, you need to collect a name and email of the person. You can also add internal notes and other details to the contact.
  • Add contact to your account (Add Contacts): Now you are ready to introduce your training services and organization by adding the contact as a lead to Upper hand. We utilize email “drip marketing” to keep your business top-of-mind and prompt action, without jeopardizing the relationship.
Why do we utilize email “drip marketing”? 
  • In 2014, email marketing was cited as the most effective digital marketing channel for customer retention in the United States (CMOCouncil.org, 2015).
  • Drip marketing messages are timed in a pre-determined course using timing best practices for online businesses (Wikipedia, 2015).
  • The email messages are dripped using automation to improve consistency in your outreach to potential clients (Wikipedia, 2015).

Invite sent & account created (Qualified): Once you add a contact, an email invitation is immediately sent to encourage learning more about your training opportunities. Contacts have the option of un-subscribing which helps filter out those not interested in your training.
Contact books training (Engaged / Prospect): At Upper Hand, we consider your clients engaged the first time they have booked, registered and/or paid for any of your training. That training can be anything from a lesson, camp, clinic, training program, training package, team or player registration.
Trained & Happy (New Client): Once the engaged contact has attended training, they are now considered a new client. With each new client comes revenue from a sale, however a common mistake for many business owners is thinking this first sale as the big ticket to your long-term profitability. You focus so much energy at the front of the funnel, thinking it will result in high margin profits. In reality, not all revenue is created equal, as the real profits are made at the back end of the funnel, where you will move new clients into “re-engagement” to purchase again and become a recurring client (Entrepreneurs-journey.com, 2015).

In summary
For almost every sports coaching and training business, it will take months to years before fully establishing a consistent sales funnel that generates sustainable profits. But keep the “big picture” in mind, regularly innovate your lead generation channels and utilize CRM, marketing and automation platforms like Upper Hand to encourage recurring revenue from new clients. 

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Dummies.com. (2015). Re: Lead Generation: What is Your Sales Funnel? - For Dummies. Retrieved from: http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/lead-generation-what-is-your-sales-funnel.html

Entrepreneurs-journey.com. (2015). Starak, Yaro. Re: The Sales Funnel Part 2: Generating Leads At The Front End. Retrieved from: http://www.entrepreneurs-journey.com/631/front-end-internet-marketing/

Wikipedia. (2015, June). Re: Databasemarketing. Retrieved from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Databasemarketing#Analyticsand_modeling

CMOCouncil.org. (2015). Re: Direct Marketing Facts & Statistics. Retrieved from: https://www.cmocouncil.org/facts-stats-categories.php?view=all&category=direct-marketing

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Written by Upper Hand

Upper Hand simplifies front and back-end office tasks for sports businesses, provides cutting-edge marketing tools and offers business intelligence that enables unsurpassed performance for its customers. Customized software and pricing are fit to each individual’s sports business needs with the objective of helping every customer grow their business.