There’s nothing worse than a leaky sales funnel. All the work (and resources) that go into getting someone to morph from a prospect to a lead, only to wither on the vine, makes many a marker burst into tears. Fortunately, funnel leaks are no longer just a part of the business. Well, they are, because there is no such thing as an airtight sales funnel these days.
We’re going to look at five signs you might be losing sales through hairline fractures (or gaping holes) and identifying how you might be able to patch them.
You Have No Retargeting Ads
This is a really common problem a lot of companies have: they use all their social media ad spend, all their marketing energy and all their content generation time to get prospects to the landing page. They spend lots of time A/B testing and optimizing the copy, CTA copy and button style on the landing page. The result of this substantial investment of time and energy is a high conversion rate – let’s say 15 percent. That’s great, but what happens to the remaining 85 percent? On the spectrum of hairline fracture to gushing geyser of money, this is pretty close to the latter.
The solution is simple: retargeting ads. Let’s look at what you know so far:
- Your prospect has landed on your landing page
- They did not progress to the next stage of your sales funnel (let’s say it’s a product trial)
Those are the only things you absolutely know. Companies make the mistake of assuming that if someone bails on a landing page then their offering wasn’t for them and move on. Not so – it might be that they didn’t want the offer right then, that they were exploring other options at the same time and wanted to come back, that they were too busy, or that they didn’t understand the product and were looking for info (like a blog) rather than a sales pitch. There are lots of reasons someone might not buy but would still be interested in coming back to the funnel.
Retargeting ads, particularly via Facebook, give you the opportunity to recapture some of those already warmed leads. You already know that they’re interested, so why not capitalize?
You Only Advertise on One Search Engine
This is a problem, and a big one. Google is great – for a start. But if you’re only on Google with AdWords or just keyword optimization, you’re leaving a lot of the market untapped. In September 2014, comScore released statistics that Google controlled 83.3 percent of the market share. That’s a big chunk, but 16.3 percent is still a sizable minority. What’s more, Apple is predicted not to renew Google as the default search engine for Safari, which means those figures have a shelf life about as long as it takes Apple to make a decision. All in all, the minority is set to grow, and if you think that it’s not worth targeting other search engines at the top of your funnel, you’re sorely missing out.
You Don’t Use Live Chat
Your goal should be to communicate and engage with your customers every step of the way, across many different channels. And live chat is a great channel that I think is worthy of special mention. For starters, ReachLocal reported that a live chat function on a website was rated as “extremely helpful” by 90 percent of survey participants. Live chat is so effective because it lets you draw browsing traffic further into your sales funnel, it positions you as a credible authority, and it demonstrates your focus on amazing customer service.
For example, imagine that I was buying a bike rack for a car. It’s a pretty technical product (fit, size, variation) that I don’t know that much about, so I visit an auto accessories website to learn a bit more about what I need. Live chat will give me this precise information super easily, and will probably quote a price as well. I might find that information somewhere else, but it’s a lot easier when someone just hands it to you. Even if I look around at competitors, who do you think I’m going to go buy from? The people who streamlined my experience on their site extremely well, and left me with an awesome experience.
You’re Not “Dripping” Your Leads
The middle of the funnel is a precarious time for your leads. It’s when a lot of leads will leak out since they’re not ready to buy yet, but they’re also more invested than prospects. One fix to this particular problem is a drip campaign with email automation. It works like this: The marketing team creates compelling content that generally focuses on pain points your lukewarm lead has, and then pushes it to them in a timely manner over the long term. It might be a once a week email blast profiling how your product has helped them. It might be a personalized email using information about their path through your sales funnel to address their specificproblem.
You can automate emails in this way with some fairly simple software like MailChimp to build up your leads and keep them engaged while they take their time through the buying cycle.
Your Sales and Marketing Teams Are Misaligned
There are two situations here: marketing passes along so many leads that it’s just not feasible for sales to follow up individually, or marketing passes along enough unqualified leads for sales to develop a tolerance. Sound familiar?
The core issue is that marketing is focused on scale: their job is to bring qualified leads to sales, and as many as possible. Sales, on the other hand, is entirely about the individual – they’re focused on closing the sale in front of them right away, regardless of whatever else is going on. To better align the two, marketing needs to deliver leads that are more qualified for sales to close. This might mean:
- Delivering fewer leads overall
- Taking longer to warm leads before passing them off
- Building a funnel or a drip campaign specific for leads that sales has lost
The result of these sorts of actions (and there are lots of ways to do this) is that the sales team will trust the leads they get more and recognize that while they might not have as many, their close rates will be higher — something every salesperson likes.
Optimizing your sales funnel doesn’t have to be a huge overhaul of everything you’ve ever created. Most of the time, it’s small, minor tweaks that enhance your ability to drive traffic, keep leads warm and engaged through the middle, and pass more qualified leads on to sales to close.
One final word of advice: if you’re really serious about finding and patching the leaks in your funnel, the most important thing you can do is track everything. It’s the only way to really drill down it what works, what doesn’t, and what you need to change to keep more money in your pocket and grow your business.
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.
Image credit: CC by A&M-Commerce.