Creating the perfect sales funnel is something of an art form; it’s also an ongoing process of refinement that never really ends. But nobody said creating art was easy – and you’d be forgiven for finding the process a bit stressful. If you’ve been breaking out in cold sweats over the efficiency of your sales conversion funnel, and you’re not seeing the results you want, you might unknowingly be making a few mistakes which can be easily remedied with Salesforce.
Want to know if your sales funnel is under-delivering for a reason? Then take a look at our list of the five most common sales funnel mistakes – and how Salesforce can fix them.
You’ve simply over-engineered your sales funnel
All sales funnels are built on the idea that as a prospect progresses down the funnel, their chances of converting to a sale increase. This is true, but the rule of diminishing returns is in full effect when it comes to conversion funnels. Simply put, the more opportunity stages you have in your funnel, the more likely it is that a prospect will drop out and not convert. Rather than removing stages from your funnel entirely, try to combine them in order to simplify the sales process. One great tip is to restrict each stage to a single action for the user, making the process as frictionless as possible.
The wrong salespeople are tackling the wrong leads
Did you know that you can use Salesforce to automatically assign salespeople to leads based on any criteria you choose? If you didn’t, the info we’re about to share will be like gold-dust – because not assigning sales staff in a logical way can lead to prospect confusion, a disgruntled sales team, and – at the extreme – a knock to your bottom line. To solve this, and to ensure that you match the right leads with the right salespeople, it’s a great idea to set up Salesforce to assign leads to salespeople based on common factors. These factors may include things such as geographical location (this one is key for those ‘Let’s meet for a chat’ calls), their prospect history (i.e. niches), lead value, and so on. In this way, you can rest assured you’ve always got the best person on the job.
Letting your leads go cold
The problem with funnels is there needs to be some sort of force to keep the momentum up – otherwise, even qualified leads can wind up going cold and simply disappearing. This issue is often seen at the very top of the funnel, where strategies like content marketing are in effect. A prospect may have clicked a CTA in an email or filled out a form on your website, and so they’re taking their first steps with your business. An overburdened sales team or simple process inefficiency can mean that reminders aren’t sent in good time and, by the time a salesperson does call the prospect, it’s already too late and they’re colder than a January day. Salesforce can help you solve this right out of the box – simply set up a Workflow Action which works in tandem with a Workflow Rule set a certain number of days after that initial pre-conversion event. This type of Time-Based Workflow will allow your sales team to get on with their day safe in the knowledge that they’ll be notified of the right time to reach out to prospects – before they go cold.
Failing to identify lost-lead patterns
One of the greatest benefits of using CRM software like Salesforce to track your sales funnel is that you have absolute visibility of the pipeline – and that includes the successes and the failures. No sales team is perfect, (and all circumstances are different), so of course there’ll be times when a Market Qualified Lead drops out of the funnel, even near the bottom. In some ways, understanding why these leads dropped out at this opportunity stage is more valuable than understanding those that didn’t. Why? Because identifying the patterns of lost leads will help you to avoid them in the future. Try setting up reports or alerts to help you track these losses to gain valuable insight into your pipeline.
You’re forgetting the bottom-of-the-funnel ‘thank you’
As we’ve discussed, sales funnels are made up of multiple opportunity stages, each of which is assigned a certain conversion probability percentage which increases as the funnel progresses down. But what happens at the end? Once a conversion is made and that probably hits 100%, most companies move back to the top of the funnel — makes sense, right? It does — but there may be another missed opportunity here. Retention is a vital part of any business – and saying a quick post-conversion “thank you” can be an easy way to secure a customer from day one. Salesforce Developers can trigger an alert every time a prospect is converted into a sale which you can then use as a reminder to send them a personal thank you email or phone call. This is particularly effective in hyper-competitive marketplaces where every competitive advantage counts.
So, if your sales funnel feels like it could do with some optimisation, why not take a fresh look and see what you could do differently? It may just give your business the boost it needs. And remember: for even more enterprise-class Salesforce solutions for businesses of any size, don’t hesitate to contact our friendly team at 4C.