Forget about more sales.
The truth is, you probably are mishandling the opportunities you already have right in front of you.
And if your website neglects to use the concept of a marketing funnel, or you've never even formally put one in place, you're missing the biggest opportunity to really grow and increase your sales. Having a formal funnel in place will help you increase your bottom line, build brand awareness, and make a bigger impact.
Then you'll get more sales.
Now, simply employing a sales funnel is only half the battle. After you have created your sales funnel, you still need to gauge how effective it is and look for weak points. There are few things in life that are absolutely perfect, meaning that there is almost always room for improvement. So, today we’re going take a look at the largest causes of lost leads in a leaky funnel.
#1: You Give Up Too Early
The choice to proceed onto the next step of a sales funnel is binary; that is, the customer will either take action or not take action – it’s a “yes” or “no” scenario.
But as any good salesman or saleswoman will tell you, a “no” is really just a “definite maybe.” After you have presented your pitch for your product or service, it’s inevitable that some people are going to reject your offer. For one reason or another, some people may not like something about your product.
Just remember, their rejection isn’t eternal. In fact, the reason they said no may only be temporal.
For example, perhaps a user simply doesn’t have the time to engage your website at the present. Perhaps they are on their smartphone, en route to a dinner or other plans, and don’t have the time. In this case, they are genuinely interested in what you have to offer, they likely see the value in your offering, and they even want to take action. Instead of throwing them to the curb and dumping them like a bad first date, make efforts to follow up with them.
A great way to 'capture' these types of short-term visitors is with retargeting ads. These are ads that 'follow' the user around from site to site, reminding them about your website, product, or service. While some people think they're 'spooky', the truth is that they work, and they work wonderfully. The cost for retargeting ads is low, and the impact is high.
#2: You Fail to Follow Up
The art of the follow-up is crucial to success in sales, and equally crucial to your sales funnel. Don’t believe me? Then take a look at some of these statistics:
- A staggering eighty percent of sales happen between the fifth and the twelfth follow up
- Only about ten percent of sales representatives make efforts to contact a prospect more than three times
- Almost half of sales representatives never follow-up with their leads
Now take a moment to see which group your sales funnel falls into.
Does it only follow up once, and then cast the lead back into the sea?
Just looking at those statistics, it’s easy to see that the lack of following up with leads is likely costing you a lot of potential success.
It’s extremely challenging to follow up with an online lead, especially if you don’t have their email address, which is yet another reason you should be building up a list of subscribers. Yes, you do need to reach out to new leads, but you should also focus on following up with old leads.
How We Follow Up
Here at Red Canoe Media, we employ a few types of follow up processes. First, we use Highrise - a product that is from the same family that makes Basecamp. Highrise is a Customer Relations Management (CRM) program, that lets us put in all of our leads and contacts for follow up. We then set followup-related tasks to make sure no one falls through the cracks.
There are a lot of CRM programs out there - SalesForce, ActiveCampaign, Highrise, and plenty more. We've tried for a long time to not use a CRM, but found that our business simply plateaued, as we couldn't remember and keep up with all the new inquiries. Now we have a system in place that keeps all the new leads 'nurtured'.
In addition to getting potential leads into our CRM, we also offer a few lead magnets - these are pieces of content that deliver value to potential customers in exchange for their email address. Once delivered to the customer, that email address is put into our automation system, and the customer receives a steady (but not annoying) drip of educational emails. These emails aren't pitchy - instead they again focus on delivering value up front. These positive interactions help us engage potential clients without having to remember to email them each week.
#3: You Take too Long to Follow Up
Most people aren’t aware that leads are almost ten times as likely to take action if you follow up with them within the first 5 minutes. Waiting a short amount of time – only 30 minutes – to follow-up makes them almost 20 times as unlikely to take action!
If you’re beginning to think it’s important to follow up soon, you’re absolutely right. But now the problem becomes how on Earth to follow-up within such a short time frame.
The best and most viable solution is to employ automation in your funnel, as we mentioned earlier. It’s nigh on impossible to do so manually, and you’d need to hire someone to monitor website activity 24/7 in order to follow-up without automation. Instead, you need to set triggers within your sales funnel that will automatically reach out to interested leads. Ideally, you would want to set up a personalized-looking email and fine-tune your marketing copy so that the entire thing (while automated) doesn't look automated.
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#4: You Add Unneeded Barriers between Potential Buyers and Your Business
Humans are curious by nature - it’s just how we’re wired. So it’s only natural that some of your leads are going to have questions before they convert. Even though your website may be jam-packed with valuable information that would answer their questions, it may be that they can't find it when they do a search, or they can't figure out how to contact you once they do get on your site.
That's a problem.
You should make it as easy as possible for a lead to reach out to your business. I'm always blown away at the simple things - like phone numbers and contact forms - that businesses make difficult to find on their website.
Isn't the entire reason for your site's existence to promote your company and get new business?!
Many online product sites like ecommerce stores and digital services like hosting providers have solved this problem by incorporating a live chat feature on their site. Doing so allows the company to interact with leads on a one-on-one basis.
If a live chat feature doesn’t quite fit your industry, then you should offer the potential lead multiple ways of establishing contact to get their questions answered.
You’ll want to reach out in as many different ways possible. Though many people are still of the opinion that telephone support reigns king (it is certainly crucial, to say the least), there are many new ways to provide value (such as social media). If you engage in social media marketing (as you should be doing), different marketing channels such as Twitter provide the opportunity to interact with leads on a personal basis.
There’s a lot more to building an effective sales funnel than throwing up a lead magnet and asking for people’s email addresses. Sure, that’s part of the equation, but you should also invest in a CRM to establish repeated contact with your leads.
Every sales funnel has leaks, but you can plug them up by using these tips (and here are a few more). You need to strike a balance between reaching out to fresh leads and cultivating relationships with people who said “no.”
Remember that rejections aren’t etched in stone, so take the time and effort to follow-up to turn that “no” into a “yes!”