How to Improve the Middle of Your Sales Funnel

How do you talk about your leads? Are all leads the same—a person expresses interest and they’re just a lead, no matter what?

If that’s the beginning and end of your lead qualification process, then you’re probably not collecting enough data and you’re not doing enough to make sure your customers get through the sales funnel with as little trouble—and as much chance of conversion—as possible.

For starters, you as a company have to ask yourself: Who is your ideal customer? Although they’re all different, what characteristics do they share and how can you monitor them for some specific actions? What actions should they be taking to let you know that they’re moving along—and when are you going to lose them (or when will they get stuck in the sales funnel)? This graphic helps you understand more about the sales funnel and what you can do to improve yours.

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Encourage Customer Journeys and Improve the Middle of Your Funnel

Via Salesforce

How to Put More Sales Leads in Your Pipeline

Successful online lead generation boils down to the quality of testing, which in turn hinges on the quality of data. Ironically, the most important data — sales leads generated by Internet marketing campaigns — is extremely fuzzy for most online marketers.

The reason for this fuzziness is failure to validate sales leads. As you will learn in the presentation below, The Critical Importance of Lead Validation in Internet Marketing, about half of all website conversions are something other than sales leads.

Half.

When marketing managers use conversion data rather than lead data to test campaign elements, their results are sure to be off — causing campaigns to be adjusted in ways that may produce more conversions, but not necessarily more leads. In fact, conversion data can result in campaign adjustments that reduce lead production.

To learn more, review the presentation here:

The Benefits of a Two Step Sales Process

There are a number of different two-step sales processes executed across a wide swath of companies and industries. There are the B2B companies that generate business leads (step 1) and then follow up to convert those leads into customers (step 2). There are the software products which “sell” free versions of their products and services (step 1) and then try to turn those free users into paying users (step 2). And there are the initial sales calls which are informational in nature (step 1) that are then followed up by more aggressive sales calls later (step 2).

In all of these cases, the two-step sales process is used for a reason: it works. It is a strategy that has been carefully honed over time.

Why does it work? Because consumers do not like to feel like they are being sold. We like to feel like we are the one making the decision, not that the decision is being made for us. When we feel like we’re being sold, we put up “walls” and come up with reasons why we don’t need or like the product in question.

A two-step sales process helps because it does not force the sale onto consumers. It gives them time to breath, time to take in new information, to try things out and do research. It gives them time to convince themselves that the decision is right, so that it feels more like their decision.

By the time the ultimate sale does occur, it doesn’t feel like it’s being forced on us. The consumer is ready to commit, so the sale is much easier for the seller.

While we would all love it if we could sell our products and services in one quick shot, most industries simply don’t work that way. If you can perfect a more nuanced approach, you can build lasting relationships with customers and grow your business over time.