Simply because they match the way people buy and with such a wealth of information and choice at a single click, why would the customer want it any different. Sales teams have also evolved, becoming more aligned and focused on the strength & efficiency of inbound marketing.
However, when it comes to marketing funnels, many experts are noticing that not everything is as it seems:
What’s wrong with marketing funnels?
Well, for a start, they’re the wrong shape. The facts suggest they should be much, much top heavier. More like a mallet shape than a funnel. But I don’t suppose the term ‘marketing mallet’ carries quite the same appeal.
However, this post isn’t about trivial stuff like shapes being used in diagrams. There’s something much more important to discuss. Like why your marketing funnel is actually throttling your sales team. And what needs to be done to fix that.
Let’s look at some home truths:
1. The majority of your prospects do 75-85% of their research before contacting youA typical user completes 5 or 6 visits to your website before getting in touch. So by the time they get in touch, they’ve already been busy. Very busy. And they’re doing the same with your competitors.
2. By the time an inbound prospect speaks with your sales team, they’ve already made a decisionNot surprising. The fact is that by the time most prospects get in touch, they already know what they want. Of course, they never tell you that. But your sales guy (bless him) is often doing little more than simply validating the prospects’ thinking.
3. Marketing funnels don’t consider competitorsThe truth is, prospects know all about you and your competitors before they even reach your funnel. They know what makes you different. They know your strengths and weaknesses. And they know how to drive you down on price. You can pretty much tell them what you want. Most of the time, they already know. The rest of the time, they’re not actually that bothered.
4. Most companies receive lots of traffic but few enquiriesRegardless of what you read, most websites only hear from around 1% of visitors. Targeted landing pages can earn more. But we’re talking across the board here. And your sales team are expected to wait patiently for that 1%. Whilst the rest of the prospects go and do other stuff. Usually with your competitors.
5. Too much pressure comes with inbound opportunitiesYou’ve driven 1,000 visitors to your website and heard from 5. The pressure’s now on the sales team to win the deals and bag the money. Even though, we now know those prospects have already decided what they’re going to do. You’re just telling them they’re right or giving them a better price.
6. Most marketing teams ‘over-nurture’Even after the prospect gets in touch, there’s a common marketing tendency to nurture them some more. Like one more email click will make all the difference. And if there’s any part of the funnel that’s strangling the sales team, it’s this one. Because the clocks ticking. And behind the scenes, those prospects are being busy. More than likely emailing your competitors as we speak.
What the sales team needs to do to fix this
It’s worth pointing out what’s not the answer in this situation:
- Firstly, the answer is not to just drive more traffic to the website. With more traffic commonly comes more cost, poorer quality and lower conversion rates.
- Secondly, the answer is not to disturb these prospects before they’re ready. This is the principle that many IP tracking tools like Lead Forensics are born upon. And let’s be honest, nobody likes to be called unless they’ve requested it.
So, if you’re responsible for closing deals (and you want to keep your job), here’s what you should be doing:
- List your best 5-10 customers (business names and individuals) that converted in the last 3 months. Rank them in order, best downwards.
- Supply that list to your marketing team (or do yourself if suitable) and access your CANDDi dashboard
- Create a template (excel works well) containing the following fields:
- Number pages visited
- Landing page
- Key pages visited
- Total number of visits
- Duration between first visit and becoming customer
- Search for each customer in your CANDDI dashboard and complete the template fields for each visit where possible
- Identify who else in your CANDDi dashboard is a Pre-Pipeline Prospect, or developing into one.
- Create automated trigger reports (as they happen or daily/weekly) letting you know who’s in the Pre-Prospect Streams at each stage.
- Work with your marketing team to replicate and drive as many prospects as possible through those Pre-Pipeline streams.
By Tim Langley, CEO, CANDDi