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How Long It Will Take To Fill Your Pipeline

How Long It Will Take To Fill Your Pipeline

Forecast how much time goes into non-billable activities like prospecting, writing proposals and what that all means for gathering enough leads each month.

Models For This Step

Researching, sourcing and winning new business takes time. It's one of the hardest things for new solo businesses to account and plan for--the large chunk of time that inevitably gets spent on 'non-billable' business activities.

When these hours aren't fully accounted for, they can eat into our earnings, create confusion and a sense that we are falling behind:

'I've been working full, 10 hour days, I'm still billing at my usual rate; so why is my cashflow so low this month?'

Again, sometimes simply getting a clearer view of how much time should be expected to go toward researching, prospecting and lead generation can help us plan more efficiently.

Forecasting these figures ahead of time, then comparing these forecasts against how much time it really took, is yet another way to increase validated learning in our business--and ultimately, make better decisions about allocating our time and efforts going forward.

Use the model above to:

  • Forecast and plan how much time should be expected to go into your prospecting efforts;
  • Calculate how many prospects will be needed to hit your business objectives;
  • Calculate your true hourly rate, and compare this against your billable rate; and
  • Discover what kind of conversion rates are needed to hit your goals with the hours given.

Leads Inputs

Prospects to leads (%)

This is the percentage of contacts you research (say, visiting a website, viewing a profile) that ultimately get added to your CRM as a lead.

Leads needed

This is a static input that can be taken from the previous model (Leads Calculator and Forecaster), or input directly if you know your target leads for the upcoming month.

Leads to proposal (%)

Not all leads will end up requesting or being a good fit for a full written proposal. Input here the percentage of leads you expect to request or require a written proposal from you.

Time Inputs

Average interview length

If you typically perform on-boarding interviews with your leads, pre-offer, then input the average length of these calls in hours (e.g. '30 minutes = 0.5').

Research hours per prospect

This can be time spent browsing a prospecting tool, social media, networking, or searching job boards and marketplaces. Again, input this as an 'hours' value.

Writing hours per proposal

Even if you start from a template, it takes time to tailor and tidy a written proposal. List the number of hours needed per proposal, in preparation and delivery.

Outreach hours per lead

Follow-up messages, cold outreach, general comms or back-and-forths--these all add up, and an average value can help to account for those precious minutes.

Closing hours per offer

Sometimes, a project takes little to no effort to close. But typically there will be some final clarifications, back-and-forths or perhaps even negotiations--account for these activities here.

Average hours billable per project

This is the number of hours you will typically charge for. You don't need to actually charge or price your projects hourly to use this input. It should simply reflect the number of hours you typically spend actually working on a project.

Business Goals

Monthly offers needed

You can pull this from the Leads Calculator block, or if you know it already you can input directly. It is the number of offers that need to be made for you to reach your business revenue goals, at your stated price points.

Starting revenue target

This is your monthly revenue target for the upcoming month.

Growth rate (%)

Enter the rate at which you'd like or expect to see you business revenue grow, month over month.

Projects needed

The projects needed value can be taken from the Leads Calculator block.

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