Your Sales Funnel is a Sieve: Here’s How to Plug the Holes





 

1. Where Are the Holes?

In a movie set in space, there will always be a “punctured hull scene.” It’s like a Nicholas Sparks movie and terminal illness.
First, a rock or a bit of debris punctures the hull. Then an alarm goes off. And then the space denizens panic.
What’s the first thing they do? Look for the hole.
This is your first step. Look for the holes in the sieve.

Hole #1: Little Data Tracking

I recently had to run at night on a mountain trail. If I hadn’t had my headlamp, what would have happened? I’d have literally bit the dirt (and probably a granite rock the size of grandma).
Lack of data tracking is like lack of headlamp on mountain trails at night. The light gives me visual data on the trail so I can change course when needed.
Same with sales funnels. If you don’t have data on your middle conversions, you have no idea what’s working and what isn’t. All you have is the result.
You can’t fix the holes in your sales funnel because you aren’t actually looking for holes. You’re a Sales Jumblie ignoring your friends who think you’re gonna drown!

Hole #2: Follow Up?

Sales funnels are never set it and forget it. Yet, 48% of sales reps must think this is true. They never follow up with a prospective or a lead.
Sometimes it takes as many as 12 contacts to make a sale. That’s the full definition of try-try-again. If you think 12 follow-ups is a waste of your time, maybe you should go and do something else.

Hole #3: Wasting Time With Lead Generation

You can find a billion articles online about lead generation. It’s a hot topic. They think that if they stuff as many people as possible into their funnel more people will drop through.
The problem is: at a certain point, the same number of people drop through no matter how many leads you generate. It’s like a conventional real-life funnel. The end is only so big.
Stop lead generation research right now. You probably get enough leads already. You’re wasting your time and expending too much energy. Just relax, ok?

2. How to Stop Up the Holes

In a “punctured hull scene,” once the protagonist finds the hole, they frantically look for something to plug it with. If they don’t plug the hole, all their oxygen will be gone and the pressure will equalize meaning they will die in a vacuum.
For a space hero, this could mean any number of things. A fire extinguisher, a metal crate, or even a piece of metal alloy bigger than the hole.
There are a variety of ways to fix your sieve and turn it into a real funnel.

Fix #1: Track Those Touch Points

No matter when a customer or lead makes contact, track it. This means that if a customer has already purchased something and they come back again, you track it.



If they’ve come back three times without ever purchasing, track it. This is called touch-point tracking. From here you follow leads all the way to full conversion if they make it.

Once you’ve tracked this data, you can begin to make a customer journey map. You can then replicate this journey for your most legitimate customers and leads.



Fix #2: Simply Follow Up

Again, 12 times might be the charm. Keep going.

There are easier ways to do lead follow up than manual e-mails and phone calls. E-mail automation is a thing.

Automate your sales process as much as possible. This will allow you more time to find new leads while courting current ones.

This also means you’ll be able to run a 24-hour sales funnel operation.



Bots can help with this. Say you’re a small college trying to attract students. You can’t have an admissions digital marketing rep on call 24-7. But a bot can cover the time when your rep is sleeping.

Fix #3: Offer Something Irresistible for Free

There’s a lot of schlock on Amazon that’s free. And most of the schlock doesn’t get read.

This should be a valuable lesson for anyone trying to generate leads. You’re wasting your time with free scholck.

If it’s not worth your time to even engage, why would you even click?

Opt-in’s are great if they actually shove people toward the end of your funnel. But you’ll need to drive people in with limited time offers.

Without FOMO, you’ll never get people close to the end of your funnel. This is the step beyond generation you need to focus on.

Now You’re a Wise Jumblie

Now you can go to sea in a funnel…oh, wait, the metaphor breaks down there. I guess you now have a fairly leak-proof and effective funnel.
Where have you seen your funnel be ineffective? Let me know down in the comments below and maybe I can help you patch them.
 

5 Tips for Building a Sales Team





I’m taking a short break from my super popular As the Search Engine Turns story to bring you a piece on sales. Don’t worry, ATSET will be back soon. Whether you’ve got a mediocre or sub-par sales team on your hands or are in charge of building a brand new one from scratch, you’re going to need some help and some patience. According to SalesForce, 79% of marketing leads never convert into a sale. This is a problem. Why are these conversions not happening? There could be miscommunication between the marketing and the sales departments or one of those departments could just be dropping the ball.



To make sure it isn’t your sales team that’s responsible, check out our checklist.

1. Watch Out For Toxicity

Negativity breeds negativity. You need to either fix it or remove it completely.

Toxic employees, if allowed to fester, will poison the minds of other team members as well as turn off your prospect, potentially chasing them away to a competitor. Build a team that’s positive and reading to make things happen for the company.



2. It’s About Results

You want your team to be driven. They should want to make the sale. Your team should be about results. This is right out of the sales 101 playbook.

On top of that, they should also be competitive. They should want to do better than they did last month and better than the other teams every month. Make it a friendly competition. Winners get bragging rights for the month and have to buy the first round at the local watering hole. Something like that.

3. Coachability

A lot of hot shot sales guys aren’t great at receiving feedback.

When you build out your team, make sure to hire the people who can take constructive criticism well. Explain that it’s for the good of the company and them as individuals and then prove it to them.

As a sales manager or lead, you’re going to be required to put your money where your mouth is quite often.



4. Training and Learning

Sales professionals are sharks. But a shark doesn’t stop swimming just because there isn’t any blood in the water.

When things are slow or when new programs or courses come out, get your team on them quickly. Make sure they’re trained well from the jump but do not let them get lazy. Keep them learning new things all the time.

5. Communication is Key

Talk to your sales team. Every team has meetings, sure, but how many sales managers are truly effective communicators?

Don’t be afraid to have one on one meetings with your team members, especially if they need help. Offer to do whatever it takes to get their performance level to where it needs to be.

The Takeaway

While every business is different, the root of the sales team stays the same.

It’s easy for people to pick up bad habits in previous positions. Make sure you’re ready to retrain if necessary and communicate clearly as to what you expect and when you expect them.

Don’t be a pushover. Assertive is the way to go as a manager. You’re a leader and your team is going to be looking to you for support and help when they need it. At the end of the day, your team meeting their goals and quotas is your responsibility.

 

Not Getting Any Bites? Try These Five Marketing Hook Tactics





Fishing without the right bait is pointless. You’ll sit there on the shore or rocking back and forth in your boat all day hoping for some action. Marketing isn’t much different. If you put the wrong bit of content or information for the wrong niche, no lead is going to follow. What is a marketing hook? It’s a sample, something to give your leads a taste of what they’re missing if they don’t click.



For fish, this means the food they already consume on a daily basis yet better looking. For leads, it means the media they consume on a daily basis yet more entertaining or interesting.

Here are some tactics that might help you reel in those leads.

1. Command Their Attention

Babies and marketing campaigns are killed by passive voice. You don’t want either to happen to you, do you?

This is why it’s crucial you use a commanding and active voice in your marketing hooks. If your hooks sound like they rolled off the tongue of an academic, you’re in the wrong field.



57% of leads have already made up their minds before reaching your hook. The other 43% need a nudge.

Commands such as “Try!” “Do!” “Feel!”  compel people to act.

Here are a few examples:

Give in to your cravings and buy [insert delicious sale item]

Watch this!

Stop wasting your money!

2. Show Them a Better Future

Dissatisfaction is your friend. In 2017, only 33% of Americans said they were happy.



If over 75% of the population is dissatisfied, then it’s your responsibility to satisfy them. You merely need to find out what better future they crave.

What does your product or content do that will improve someone’s life? Hook them with a tutorial or an entertaining look at what they could be if they bought your product or clicked on your link.

3. Find That Pain Point

Sometimes people need to feel uncomfortable before they decide to make a change. Often they’ve been uncomfortable for a while and the solution just hadn’t presented itself.

This is where your hook comes in. You remind the lead of a problem they have. It needs to be fixed immediately.

Create a video that speaks to this. Write an article that solves their problem in part. And if they click the link, they could solve their problem permanently.

4. Show Off What Others Have Said

90% of consumers claim that a positive review will influence their buying decisions. A sincere, positive, and voluntary testimonial or review could be the perfect hook to bring in leads.

But be careful with this one. Your testimonials need to sound and be genuine. Otherwise, your leads will pass you by with nary a glance.

5. Show Them Value Upfront

You want to avoid sounding “salesy.” There are ways to present value and there are ways to present value.

When spouting off dollar amounts, you sound like a car salesman. Instead, show them what they could have if they clicked through to your product or content.

Ask yourself, how can you help your customers? That’s where the value of your product or content lies. Don’t sell specs or even the product. But hook them with how the product will solve a problem in their lives.