Leads are dropping out of your funnel. What’s going on, and how can SharpSpring help fix it?

Anyone who’s had any contact with marketing and sales is well aware of the constant struggle to bring in new leads and cultivate them all the way to closed sales. Whenever new leads don’t result in closed sales, it’s easy to view that as a failure. In fact, I remember having a conversation with a client once who’s ideal marketing funnel was two parallel lines. In other words, not a funnel at all, but a direct pipeline where no one ever said “no” to a sale.

Let’s address the obvious: you can’t win every battle. Not everyone who enters your marketing funnel is a qualified lead, and you won’t close them all. People come to you for a variety of reasons and with a variety of needs. As they learn more about your brand, services, and products, they may drop out of your funnel for a number of perfectly valid reasons: they don’t have the budget, your product doesn’t offer some key features that they need, or someone higher up in management decides to go with a competitor instead. People have free will; your marketing has to respect their choices.

However, there are other people who will drop out of your funnel not because of a lack of interest or purchasing power on their part, but because your sales funnel is flawed. This is where SharpSpring can help, and it does so in the following ways.

Read our post: 3 Reasons We Chose SharpSpring CRM

1. Dig into your user behavior to find ways where your funnel is letting you down.

To fix a leaky sales funnel, you have to first find where the holes are. Sometimes, the key to fixing the problem is as simple as finding the right diagnosis. Are leads dropping out because you never follow up after their initial contact? Are you sending them irrelevant materials that don’t match what they want? Or are you overwhelming them with emails in a way that turns them off?

SharpSpring lets you track the behavior of leads on your site, so you can see where they go, how much time they spend on your site, and how they react to outbound communications from your team. Pay attention to this behavior and respond accordingly.

2. Widen your sales funnel throughout the buying process.

Here’s another way to fix a leaky sales funnel: make it wider. Let’s say you have a strategy in place that’s designed to take a new lead directly from their initial interest to a closed sale. Sounds good, right? But what if that lead isn’t ready to buy yet? What if they hit the “close” stage of your buying funnel and aren’t ready to pull the trigger? Do you have a backup plan, or are they now must a dead lead?

Widening your sales funnel means having a backup plan for when a lead drops out of the main workflow. Instead of neglecting those leads, find a new way to keep them engaged. Let them continue to consider your brand, even if landing the sale takes longer.

3. Use personas to tailor your marketing to specific needs.

One of the biggest reasons leads drop out of a marketing funnel is that it doesn’t send them resources that are relevant to their interests. Instead, it herds every new lead indiscriminately toward the same workflow, leaving many would-be customers feeling frustrated and unengaged.

Read our post: Why You Need User Personas in Your Marketing Workflows

However, SharpSpring’s user personas help businesses fine tune their messaging so that visitors get information that matches their interests. For instance, we’ve created different marketing materials for our clients based on whether they’re interested in digital marketing services, or if they want an e-commerce website, or if they’re a non-profit with a large member base. These groups have some overlapping needs, but for the most part, they want material that speaks to them. That’s what we aim to provide.

4. Pay attention to lead scoring to pace the delivery of your marketing materials.

Finally, you might be missing out on some leads simply because you aren’t catching them at the right moment. As we described earlier, a lead who’s still in an early buying stage doesn’t want to be bombarded by material pressuring them to buy now. Meanwhile, if your average lead takes a month to close and you design your entire funnel around that timeline, you may miss a hot lead who is ready to make a decision right this moment.

SharpSpring’s lead scoring tool is designed to address this. It factors in various data points such as at where leads are going on your site, how quickly they’re opening emails, and how much time they spend on different pages to help flag prospects who are ready to make a purchase. This allows you to approach leads in a more nuanced way that also serves your customers better.

Fixing your leaky sales funnel means rethinking the life of your leads.

One final point to address: With a broader sales funnel, you’re going to spend more time engaging leads who aren’t ready to buy yet. In the olden days, this meant your sales team lost time engaging people who weren’t ready to buy, or your marketing wasted money trying to keep brand awareness among a wide base of potential customers, and the customers themselves wasted a lot of time fending off an avalanche of unwanted marketing.

Read our post: How to Create Drip Email Marketing Campaigns in SharpSpring

When automated marketing runs amuck, this can still happen. But done right, and automation can be more respectful of your customers while also relieving your sales team of unproductive follow-up tasks. Because SharpSpring engages visitors to your website intelligently, when they’re actually interested in making a purchase, you no longer have to worry about expending resources on cold leads. And in doing so, you let uninterested buyers opt-out while also closing the leaks in your sales funnel that caused you to lose the genuinely engaged. We consider that a win all round.

Published 08/21/19 by Laura Lynch