We all know that a funnel is used to channel down large quantities of stuff, like flour or oil if you’re baking a cake. Well, if what you’re trying to cook up is business, that “stuff” is a whole bunch of leads, and you sure don’t want them to become lost opportunities!

Like all funnels, the sales variety is wide at the top, allowing lots of potential customers to enter. The problem is, just like a big ‘ol clump of flour, customers can get stuck in the middle of the funnel, making it tough to make it all the way to the bottom where they would become successful sales. If that’s the case, you have some unclogging to do!

Here are the five biggest sales funnel fails, and tips on how to fix them:

Fail #1: Putting up unnecessary roadblocks

Sometimes, for your funnel to flow freely, it’s a matter of identifying obstacles that might be slowing things down or causing customers to cease moving forward through their buyer’s journey. It’s essential to keep a close eye out for any potential roadblocks that could clog the funnel. If none are screaming out at you, try surveying customers whose insights could help to identify problematic areas.

Perhaps you have unnecessary steps like forcing customers to sign up for things they aren’t ready for prior to purchase, such as memberships, for example. Or, maybe these customers are looking for specific answers that they can’t find, which brings us to the next fail...

Fail #2: Not providing different content for every phase of the funnel

Newly entering customers have shown interest in your product and services, and simply want to explore. They want content that’s educational  different than the customers in the middle of your funnel who have taken a step beyond basic information and are looking for more details. They need content that’s engaging and helpful  which is different still from the bottom dwellers who are seriously looking to take action and want content that helps to solidify their decision. It makes sense, then, that serving up the same content for every stage will only frustrate customers and totally mess with your flow. Provide relevant content — appropriate for every phase  that nurtures customers along instead of chases them away.

Fail #3: Handing leads to sales too soon (lack of training)

Training is huge when it comes to being able to determine who’s ready to transition from marketing to sales. The marketing team needs to be highly-skilled at distinguishing between leads that are likely to become conversions (qualified sales leads) and those who are not (unqualified, a.k.a. wastes of time). When marketers are trained to deliver only the best leads to the sales team, your sales funnel will flow much faster. At the same time, your sales team better be ready! They need training on how to take a qualified lead and turn it into a conversion.

Fail #4 Not tracking the progress of customers moving through the funnel

If you are as lost as your customers and have no idea where they are in the funnel, that makes it kind of rough to offer different content in different stages or determine when they enter into the “qualified” zone! This is where making use of a CRM system comes in handy. This will retrieve the necessary data and even organize it for you so you can keep track of each potential customer’s specific information and where they are in the process of becoming a conversion. In short, a CRM system will actively monitor your funnel for you!

Fail #5: Focusing on generating leads only instead of nurturing leads you have

Here’s an interesting thought: the more traffic in your funnel, the more chances of it becoming jammed! The fact is, it’s not enough to simply create leads. It’s equally, if not more important to manage the leads already in your funnel. Sales will increase if you switch your focus from quantity to quality. Keeping existing leads organized, prioritized, and nurtured will get them through the funnel faster and make room for more. This takes time, but with proper management your sales funnel will become a sales-making machine!

Bonus Tip:

It’s important to note that sometimes leads may temporarily go backward instead of forwarddon’t panic! They may have simply developed a new concern and need to return to a previous position in order to have it addressed. Situations like this can be frustrating, but stick with it. If you continue to nurture these leads, this backward movement will be just a small speed bump on their way to the bottom, where they’ll emerge as a paying customer.

We might not be able to bake you a cake, but we sure have the capabilities to help you get qualified leads! Learn more about sales funnels and all things marketing by giving us a call at 231-727-9778, or go ahead and check out our free resources.

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