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Lead Management
Sales Funnel Leaks: How to Identify & Repair Them from Top to Bottom
Sales Funnel Leaks: How to Identify & Repair Them from Top to Bottom

by: Stephanie Lanik

Strategic Marketing Coordinator
Are you driving sufficient leads, but too few are reaching the finish line? You may be dealing with a leaking sales funnel. Which isn’t good!
Excessive sales funnel leaks add up to several problems, such as wasted prospecting efforts, seller frustration, organizational friction, misused time and resources—ending in a lot of lost revenue. Just think, all the hard work and investment involved (between both marketing and sales) could all be for nothing if your leads are falling through the cracks of a poorly maintained sales funnel. This is why it’s important to identify where the leaks are happening as soon as possible so you can repair them before things get too out of hand.
Finding where those drop-offs happen isn’t always obvious. There are many ways that a potential customer can get lost while moving through the sales process. Here are a couple of sales funnel leaks to look out for:
Signs Your Sales Funnel has Sprung a Leak:
  • Your leads don’t consistently follow the shape of the funnel.
  • Your leads have dried up entirely.
  • The quality of your leads has declined, or lead quality is inconsistent.
  • You’re generating a lot of qualified leads but very few are becoming MQLs.
  • Leads are getting lost during the handoff between internal teams.
  • Not enough growth in accounts after the first sale.
It’s essential that you are able to determine where these problems are occurring and how to repair them at every stage of the funnel. Learning how to do so, in the most efficient way, will get you the highest return on your marketing dollar.

Now let’s get started by looking at the three stages of the funnel: Top of the Funnel (TOFU), Middle of the Funnel (MOFU), and Bottom of the Funnel (BOFU).

How to Identify and Repair Leaks Throughout Your Sales Funnel (From Top to Bottom)
Before you can begin fixing your sales funnel leaks, there needs to be clear communication and a streamlined process between your sales and marketing departments. Both teams need to understand what a lead needs in order to do business with the company and how to optimize the buyer’s journey. Without alignment, it can easily take a toll on the sales funnel, causing prospects to drop off along the way due to inconsistent messaging, lack of brand awareness, unqualified leads, ill-suited content, and more (Source: LinkedIn Sales Blog, 2019). This is an extremely important step that gets the company moving in one strong direction.

TOFU Leak: You’re Not Targeting the Right Audience

The top of the funnel (Awareness/Attract Phase) is where your marketing, communication and engagement strategies will identify and connect with potential customers—or not. This should be your largest lead grouping, and it’s also where much of your audience will stay forever or drop off.

However, if you are losing too much interest early in the sales process, it’s time to evaluate the type of leads and prospects you are bringing into your sales pipeline and the type of content and messaging you are using to get them there.

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FIX: Re-evaluate Your Buyer Persona

Make sure your personas, or ideal customer outlines, are up to date and that you are using them. Having a clear understanding of customers helps you visualize their needs, goals, pain points, decision-making process, and motivation to buy your product or service.

When you build out the buyer’s journey, think too about potential flaws in your system that make it hard for a prospect to do business with you. You want to make sure that there are no roadblocks blocking your prospects from engaging with your team at every stage—making it as easy as possible for your visitors to get into the funnel.

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FIX: Optimize Your Marketing Content and Messages

Don’t expect your leads to automatically progress from one stage of the sales funnel to the next. They require constant engagement, using targeted and personalized content to propel them forward. Work to understand your prospects’ pain points—needs, problems, desires, or challenges—then communicate with them in a relevant and clear way. The key to effective marketing is hitting the right person with the right messaging at the right time.

It’s best to keep your message clear and simple. Eliminate the clutter. Focus on your best value proposition (designed to attract your ideal buyer), and limit the number of choices you force upon your customers. Create a seamless multi-channel experience for your leads so they know what action to take on every platform—ultimately increasing your open rates.

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MOFU Leak: Your Leads Aren’t Converting

Now that you’re targeting the right traffic with relevant and clear messaging, you’ll want to look at the quality of leads moving forward through the funnel and how those leads are engaged.

The middle of the funnel (Interest/Engage Phase) is the point where sales and marketing are supposed to come together to inform and guide potential customers to make a decision on whether your solutions are a good fit for their needs—or not. This is where all of that good nurturing work happens, warming those leads so you can hand them off to sales reps to close.

However, if your leads are slipping through the crack because your process does not inform, respond to and support the customers’ decision making effectively, you should give it some serious focus.

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FIX: Refine your lead nurturing strategy

Did you know that 79% of marketing leads never convert into sales? Lack of lead nurturing is the common cause of this poor performance (Source: MarketingSherpa). This is why you need to have a very straightforward, yet efficient, lead nurture strategy in place to nurture those leads (both sales-ready and not). It’s an effective way to continually provide value throughout the entire buyers’ journey while keeping your company on top-of-mind.

Quick and timely follow-up is important. In fact, according to Harvard Business Review, one of the biggest mistakes brands make is failing to respond to leads quickly enough. Whenever a potential customer reaches out (with interest), they are looking for information and they are ready to interact. You need to be sure to act quickly in order to increase your chances of success.

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FIX: Use a lead scoring process for better lead qualification

Not only does a lead scoring system reduce the likelihood of a lead being improperly dropped from the sales funnel, but it also increases the efficiency of your sales team by allowing it to prioritize and focus on the most qualified leads. By scoring your leads you are able quickly to see where they are in the buying cycle and what next steps to take.

If you aren’t tracking and scoring your leads, you could be wasting time following up with the wrong leads, while valuable opportunities slip through the cracks.

4 Lead Nurturing Strategies to Optimize Your Lead Conversion Rate

From best practice to recent data-findings, we’ve come up with a handful of lead nurturing strategies designed to help you manage your leads, improve your conversion rate, and take care of any leaks in your current sales funnel…

Reaching Leads Faster Infographic

[Our research shows that a call placed within the first five minutes of receiving a lead is four times more likely to be qualified than one at 10 minutes, and 21 times more likely to push the lead immediately into the actual sales process compared to a call placed within 30 minutes.]

BOFU Leak: You’re Experiencing Difficulty Retaining Customers

Finally, in the bottom portion of the funnel (Decision Phase). This is the lower part of the funnel where qualified leads decide to do business with you—or not. It also defines whether or not your customer is receiving maximum value from your product. If you can retain your leads here you can increase the lifetime value of that customer, and you can reduce your churn.

However, if the baton is dropped at the handoff, deals will slip away before they close and customers will have a poor experience, leading to churn and missed opportunities.

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FIX: Have a seamless customer handoff process in place

One of the easiest places for a lead to get lost in a sales funnel is during the transfer of ownership inside of your organization. If marketing and sales aren’t working together to establish a set hand-off process, responsibilities, tasks and (worst of all) paying customers will fall through the cracks. It’s crucial that all teams involved have a clear understanding of what and how each process works, and what kinds of leads turn into good customers.

Wherever possible, improve your interactions with prospects. It’s the responsibility of both teams to create the optimal experience for your customers, from the beginning of the sales cycle through implementation. This provides comfort and security for your customers so they never feel lost during the process.

By setting clear, action-oriented goals for each stage of the process, you will be able to minimize the gaps in your sales funnel and grow your revenues.
Strengthen & Maintain Your Sales Funnel
Like much of sales and marketing, your target audience will continue to evolve. But don’t let your business lose potential customers because your sales funnel isn’t optimized. Pay close attention to your funnel to ensure that you have a system for attracting the right leads, meeting their pain points, nurturing their interests, and converting them into happy customers (aka more revenue).
Fixing your sales funnel leaks can take time, but it’s a process that must be done. It’s the key to running a healthy business. So, if you need help optimizing your sales funnel, give us a call at (612) 455-7100 or email us at info@techtonicsales.com. We make sure no lead is left behind!
Written by: Stephanie Lanik
– Strategic Marketing Coordinator at Techtonic Sales –
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