Five Steps for Fixing the Broken Sales Funnel

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The traditional sales funnel is broken, costing millions of dollars in lost revenue and customer relationships. Organizations of all shapes and sizes are missing opportunities and experiencing a higher cost per-lead and sale because sales and marketing data are not integrated. The two chief challenges organizations face in the sales funnel is that 70 percent of buying decisions are now made based on information found online well before a sales person has gotten involved, and that 73 percent of leads are lost because they are sent to sales before prospects are ready to buy.

Adding to the complexity is the sheer fragmentation of the customers' decision path, with customers engaging on average with 10.4 buying sources before making a decision, including web, company websites, events, sales, peers, social media, email and digital. Yet sales and marketing in many organizations have not shifted their sales strategies with the times. Too many organizations are still treating prospects with a "one-size-fits-all" approach, trying to rush them through the sales funnel with generic irrelevant messaging.
However, by integrating marketing and sales data with analytics, organizations can improve sales conversions and optimize digital marketing acquisitions leading to higher revenue. Here are five steps to get your organization on the way to fixing its broken sales cycle:
  1. Collect information that is falling to the floor. Organizations need to make sure they are collecting all pertinent information generated by prospects along their path to purchase, especially when they are online. Some of the most actionable data can be: time of day, day of week, geography, sites visited, behavioral attributes, persona, and keywords searched. In addition, marketers should track what content is being consumed, the numbers of visits prospects make to a landing page before conversion, and the types of devices used (mobile, tablet, desktop). Sales data is also crucial to collect for analysis including sales terms, order value, contract terms, and products, objections, missing content that could have converted prospect, average handle time and length of sales cycle, additional decision makers, and whether prospects are ready to convert.
  2. Connect engagements by creating a 360-degree view. Making these metrics actionable requires the ability to connect the marketing and sales data back to the individual prospects and customers, and will require the adoption of an evolved methodology and the integration of technology to bring the required connectivity. To do this, the web forms, phone numbers, and lead forms must be connected with the sales engagement. The connection can be accomplished through the use of temporary numbers, web tracking and systems integration with a lead management system, and/or a CRM system.
  3. Develop addressable markets. The key to making actionable changes is grouping your users based on similarities in performance and engagement metrics. Leveraging a statistical modeling tool may be required at this point to crunch the data. The key is to be able to isolate addressable groupings that are demonstrating similar behaviors and performance metrics that could benefit from customized and differentiated media and engagement strategies.
  4. Create customized, tailored relevant assets. Once you have been able to establish logical groupings of users demonstrating common behaviors, you have a great platform to begin testing messaging, user experience, offers, nurture strategies, and a whole host of variables that affect the ability to acquire new customers.
  5. Develop seamless engagements across marketing and sales. Developing this 360-degree view of the customer decision path will be enlightening and will stimulate a suite of ideas about how to better engage, and ultimately convert, your prospective customers. The key is to test, measure, and iterate. A powerful feedback loop has been created and the best progress will be made by those who use it and use it often. 

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