As the old adage goes, a leaky ship sinks an empire. In today’s competitive market, having a leaking sales funnel can represent the difference between putting money in your pocket or handing it straight to a competitor. Even so, the perfect sales funnel is an extremely rare breed, so if you’re making one of these five mistakes, it’s time to plug the gap now.
Your sales funnel is too complex
Research suggests that only 50% of marketing leads enter a sales funnel ready to buy. Every step of your sales funnel requires a potential customer to make a decision.
With every extra step in your sales funnel, you increase the chances of your customer opting out. The more steps you have, the more people you lose during the process.
Keeping your sales funnel as clear and concise as possible without cutting corners is the only solution. While removing redundant steps is vital, you should be wary of combining steps because a single overly complex will always be worse than two simpler steps.
Instead, stick to one idea that requires one action per sales funnel page and don’t let customers drop out of the final step by not adding simple payment technology that makes paying in a couple of clicks easy.
Failing to follow-up with leads in a timely fashion
Is the top of your sales funnel set up to generate leads? The bad news is that if you’re not following up on those leads in a timely fashion, it could be costing your business a serious amount of money.
Writing for Marketing Donut, founder of Marketing Wizdom Robert Clay suggests that "80% of potential opportunities are lost without trace simply due to lack of follow-up."
When they should be working in synchronicity, all too often, communication between a business’ marketing and sales departments breaks down. Combining a robust CRM system with regular meetings between departments can help improve collaboration and boost sales by redressing the negative ratio of lost leads.
Going for the hard sell
Salesforce recently published a blog welcoming in the Age of the Customer. It argued that today’s always-connected consumer no longer looks for "products, features or gimmicks; they’re looking for a complete and effortless customer experience."
In other words, consumers are becoming immune to traditional marketing tactics and shun away from the hard sell. To connect with modern buyers your business’ sales funnel must focus less on features and benefits and more on providing solutions for customers’ pain points.
Anticipating your prospects’ needs, addressing their concerns and telling them how your product or service can solve their problems is key. By taking the time to understand their needs, your sales funnel will provide the power to convert prospects while building lasting customer relationships.
Trying to take every penny your customer has
An extension of the hard sell is the idea of using buyer momentum to try and squeeze every penny from a prospect during the initial sale. Leaving your customers with the impression that your company will use every opportunity to take their cash is unlikely to encourage them to shop with you again.
According to research by Sweet Tooth, 40% of an e-commerce store’s revenue is created by 8% of its customers. What’s more, the average customer conversion rate for repeat customers is between 60-70%, compared to just 1-3% for first-time buyers.
As these stats illustrate, returning customers are more likely to keep coming back to your business again and again. The upshot is that by focusing on delivering value instead of aggressively chasing the first upsell opportunity, you’ll increase your chances of converting first-time buyers into becoming repeat purchasers.
Forgetting to say thank you
After converting a prospect into a paying customer, it’s time to say thank you. As a bonus, incorporating a thank you page within your sales funnel represents the best opportunity to start building brand loyalty.
Some of the key components of an effective thank you page include leading with a message of gratitude, before recommending related content and money off complementary products. You can even add social sharing buttons to encourage happy customers to spread the word about your business and the option to opt-in for an email newsletter.
When creating a sales funnel, the thank you page an afterthought for many companies. However, because existing customers are worth more to businesses than most new ones, they represent the ideal opportunity to forge valuable ongoing customer relationships.
To learn even more about improving your conversion rates, download our whitepaper on optimizing your sales funnel.
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About Olivier Gachot
Olivier Gachot is EVP of North America Sales at NewVoiceMedia, responsible for accelerating growth through new customer acquisition and maintaining successful and trusted partnerships with existing customers. He is a proven leader in building and transforming SaaS companies at scale on a global basis. His 20+ years of experience include leading several companies from early years to successful IPO and acquisitions.