Did you know that your organization is carelessly letting leads fall through the cracks? In this article, we’ll walk you through the different sales & marketing funnel stages and 5 reasons your organization fails at sales funnel lead conversion (one for each step in the sales funnel). 

Before we dive into the 5 reasons why your team is failing to convert more leads, it’s important that we give an overview of the sales funnel and its stages.

What is a sales funnel?

A sales funnel is a visual depiction of the journey a customer will go through during the various stages of purchasing a product or service. The sales funnel starts off wide at the top –  illustrating how it’s the stage where the widest net is cast to attract potential customers. Conversely, the smallest portion lies at the bottom, showcasing how unqualified prospects are weeded out as the customer is pushed along the buyer’s journey.

This sales funnel is typically broken into 5 different sections:

  • Awareness: 

How a consumer is made aware of an organization, product or service. For example, this awareness can be through online content, paid advertising and cold-calling.

  • Consideration

When it’s been determined that a lead serious and capable of making a purchasing decision.

  • Preference: 

You’ve identified and qualified your potential customer, now you’re charged with educating your customers and positioning yourself as the preferred vendor in which to conduct business.

  • Purchase: 

When the purchase of the product or service is made and the contract is signed.

  • Loyalty/advocacy:

 

Continual measures enacted to keep the converted customer coming back and referring your organization to their network.

Next, we’ll go over how in each of the 5 stages the reasons your organization is losing out on leads and how you can remedy it.

Reason 1: Lack of Branded Content

One of the most glaring pitfalls for a company during the awareness stage is their lack of organic content generation. Did you know that according to Hubspot, B2B marketers that use blogs get 67% more leads than those that do not.

And you might think that just using paid advertising alone at this stage will suffice, however according to a survey 70-80% of respondents ignore paid advertisement and choose to focus only on organic results.

Many companies are losing out on potential and valuable leads at this stage due to their resistance to produce organic content. 

Reason 2: Failure to Gather Contact Info

Once someone is aware of your organization, it’s important to make them consider you as a company they want to do business with. How does an organization effectively capitalize at this stage?

The best thing to do here is to get a potential customer’s email address so you can keep a channel of communication open with them. How do you obtain a potential customer’s email address? I’m glad you asked. Here are a couple of ways we gather a potential customer’s contact info:

  • Landing page: a webpage that addresses a specific problem that you can help solve for your customer. Try offering a piece of content (ebook, a video series, free webinar, etc.) or discount in exchange for their email.
  • Call to Action (CTA): Charge a customer with completing some action such as subscribing to a newsletter or opting in to a free 30 day trial of your service. A recent case study by OptinMonster noted how a website increased opt-in conversions 100% after implementing powerful CTA’s.

Reason 3: Preference stage

Now that you’ve gotten their attention and you’ve secured a means what do you do to pivot yourself into the preferred vendor for their service? Your goal here is to now educate the customer and build trust that you can and will remedy their pains. You can do this through various means.

    • Email: email has been around for and used as a common means of communication for businesses for upwards of 30 years now. While it may lag behind other communication means in terms of open rate, it has remained a go-to tool for marketers and sales professionals for 3 decades because it works. What type of educational material can you provide your email list that will help position your organization as the vanguard of thought leadership in your space?

 

  • Autoresponders and SMS drips: It’s extremely advantageous for your organization to respond to and contact a potential customer before anyone else. Studies indicate that you are 3X more likely to convert on a lead when you’re the first to contact. Autoresponders and SMS drip campaigns allow you to contact the customer first, communicate in a medium preferred by them, and build trust through education. 

 

Reason 4: Purchase stage

After you’ve positioned yourself as a thought leader in your space, it’s time to put your money where your mouth is. It’s not enough to educate alone, you’re organization will cease to exist if it doesn’t make any sales and you cannot make any sales without proper promotion of your products and services.

In the regular rigmarole of your educational email campaigns, how often are you positioning your products and services as remedies to the pains that ail your customer base? 

Furthermore, what types of retargeting ads can you enact with your email communication? Research the average rate in which a customer abandons their shopping cart before making a purchase is 81%. Can you offer a free shipping email notice to customers who have outstanding shopping carts?

Reason 5: Loyalty/advocacy stage

A new customer is great. A returning customer is the best. After you have made it past the purchase stage of the sales funnel, what types of strategies can you employ in order to get that customer to come back again and again? Furthermore, what tools can you use in order to get that customer to become an advocacy ambassador for your organization?

One of the simplest yet most effective ways of building loyalty is through simply letting the customer know your appreciation. A simple thank you email a week after the sale can go a long way.

Also, Encourage the customer to purchase add-ons, more expensive items, or packages during and after the sale. 

Finally, referrals are one of the best tools to keep in your lead strategy arsenal. What types of referral promotions can you offer to the customer you just secured in order to bring in more business. Think of campaigns that offer a 5% discount for a customer when they refer a product or service to a friend (and that referral gets 5% off as well).

Conclusion

Unfortunately, many organizations – yours included – are losing out on missed sales in every stage of the sales funnel process.

Fortunately, you ended up here to educate yourself on how to remedy those pitfalls. Utilize the information above and identify what changes you can make in your own organization’s customer buying journey to help reduce the amount of leads that fall through the cracks.