There’s nothing worse than a leaky sales funnel. All that 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 – if you have an example, let me know in the comments).
Here, we’re going to look at 7 signs you might be losing sales through hairline fractures (or gaping holes) and how you might be able to patch them.
1. No retargeting after a landing page
This is a really common problem that a lot of companies have. They use 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, button style – everything 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 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:
- 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, that they didn’t understand the product and were looking for info (like a blog) rather than a sales pitch. My point is that 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?
2. 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 stats saying 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 apparently not going 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, then I say you’re crazy.
3. 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. That’s a huge, enormous value for any organization. Live chat is so effective because it lets you draw browsing traffic further into your sales funnel, and it positions you as a credible authority, and it positions you as having amazing customer service.
For example, imagine that I was buying a bike rack for your car. It’s a pretty technical product (fit, size, variation) that I don’t know that much about. So I visit a site like Auto Accessories Garage to learn a bit more about what I need. Live chat will game me the precise information you need, super easily, and will probably quote you a price as well. I might find that information somewhere else, but it’s a lot easier when someone just gives that you. Even if I look around at competitors, who do you think I’m going to go back for? That’s right – the people who streamlined my experience on their site extremely well, and left me with an awesome experience.
4. You’re not ‘dripping’ your leads
The middle of the funnel is a precarious time for your leads, and it’s when a lot of leads will leak out since they’re not ready to buy yet (so not really ready for sales) but they’re also more invested than prospects (so beyond outbound marketing). 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. That’s it really. 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 specific problem. If we go back to the Auto Accessories example for a minute, it would be like me checking out their bike rack product page and then getting an email the next week about the Top 5 Things To Consider When You’re Buying A Bike Rack.
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.
5. 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 individually follow up with, or marketing passes along enough unqualified leads sales develops a tolerance and doesn’t think most of the leads are worth it. Sound familiar?
The core issue is that marketing for a long time and even now is focused on scale – their job is to bring qualified leads to sales, and as many as possible. Whereas sales are entirely about the individual – they’re focused on closing the sale in front of them, right now, regardless of whatever else is going on.
Neither one of them is really ‘correct’, but the change really needs to happen on marketing’s end to stop leads falling by the wayside. Marketing needs to realign itself to deliver leads that are more qualified for sales to close. This might mean:
- Delivering less 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 sales trusts the leads they get more, and recognizes that while they might not have as many, their close rates will be higher. Something every salesperson likes.
6. Your directing traffic to your homepage, not a landing page
We’ve talked a little already about landing pages. They’re more work, for sure, but it provides your customer with a tailored experience, and this will invariably pay off. In a perfect world, you’d have a unique landing page for each and every channel and product that you’re pushing. But why are landing pages important?
- They can be tested and optimized to do one thing, really well
- They’re a great place to capture visitor data, opening the door to the rest of your funnel
- They give marketing offers a place to live
Basically, landing pages will help you convert far more effectively than any alternatives.
7. Your website isn’t mobile friendly
It seems absurd that something as minute as how your information displays on a mobile screen, but think about the last time you were on a site, on your mobile phone, that wasn’t optimized.
Did you stick around to see if the company was worth chatting to? I certainly didn’t.
Make sure your website looks great on a mobile phone. Make sure that all your content looks good on a mobile phone. Make sure landing pages look good on mobile phones. Also, use the fact that your traffic is mobile to your advantage. Make it easy for prospects to call your directly from your website. It means that no matter how your prospect is reaching you, you’re creating a great first impression every single time.
Optimizing your sales funnel doesn’t have to be this 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
- Pass more qualified leads on to sales to close
Bonus tip: 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.