Winning the Internet

Using the sales funnel with Green Corps

After a great run, the Winning the Internet blog has been retired. However, you can still keep in touch with New Media Mentors here.

Traditional sales funnelGreen Corps is one of the organizations that I’m working with as part of the New Media Mentors program. Each mentorship is tailored to the organization, and for Green Corps we’re taking an interesting approach—using the for-profit sales funnel to systematically work through how they use new media to recruit new organizers.

The great thing about this tool is that it forces you to carefully examine each level and look for ways to make things more efficient, as well as growing the size of each pool. This same approach can be used to work through how you recruit new donors, how you move people up the ladder of engagement—the sky’s the limit!

About Green Corps

Here’s a quick intro to Green Corps. The organization was launched by U.S. PIRG in 1992. The mission of Green Corps is to train organizers, provide field support for today’s critical environmental campaigns, and graduate activists who possess the skills, temperament, and commitment to fight and win tomorrow’s environmental battles.

The sales funnel

Here’s how the traditional sales funnel breaks down:

  • Aware
    The top green bar represents everyone that becomes aware of a product, service or organization. They might hear about it from a friend, see an ad, etc. For Green Corps we defined this as anyone who visits greencorps.org.
  • Leads
    The darker green bar represents everyone that is aware and expresses interest in becoming one of your customers. For Green Corps, leads are people who submit a form requesting more information about the program.
  • Prospects
    The blue bar represents everyone that is a lead and is qualified to become one of your customers. For Green Corps, prospects are people who requested more info and are seniors in college.
  • Customers
    The purple triangle represents the people that actually end up becoming customers. For Green Corps, these are the folks they actually end up hiring as organizers.

Working through it

Here are the steps we’ve been using to work through the funnel. We’re nearly done with this process and are getting ready to start putting our plan in action.

1. Map it out
We started by mapping out the sales funnel as described above. Then, we added a couple of levels to make it fit their recruiting process as accurately as possible.

2. Develop benchmarks
After mapping out the funnel, we did a little research and developed benchmarks for each level. For Green Corps, this meant finding out:

  • Aware: Number of visits to greencorps.org
  • Leads: Number of people that requested additional information
  • Prospects: Number of people that requested information and were college seniors
  • Customers: Number of people who were hired as organizers

3. Work through each level
Once we knew how each level had performed historically, we developed a new goal and objective for each. From there we did some brainstorming and mapped out a strategy and tactics for hitting each one.

We initially thought we would focus mostly on growing the total pool of applicants (getting more people to the org’s website), but ended up realizing that there was also a lot of potential to move people from one level to the next more efficiently. This was an important discovery because this can be much more affordable than making more people aware of your organization.

4. Put it in a plan!
After mapping things out we pulled everything together in a plan. We’re going to be working through the plan together for the next three months, and they’ll continue to work through it on their own after that. We’re excited to see how close we come to hitting our objectives!

The sales funnel can be a great tool because it forces you to break things down and think through them systematically. Don’t be afraid to give it a try!


About Melissa Foley

Melissa is the Director of Training and Mentoring for Netroots Foundation and New Media Mentors. She aims to use her MBA + nonprofit background to teach organizations to use new media tools strategically.

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Comments

  1. […] Using the sales funnel with Green Corps Green Corps is one of the organizations we’re working with as part of the New Media Mentors program. Each mentorship is tailored to the organization, and for Green Corps we’re taking an interesting approach—using the for-profit sales funnel to systematically work through how they use new media to recruit new organizers. […]