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This Is What Your Marketing and Sales Funnel Really Looks Like

Behold, the ideal marketing and sales funnel. Symmetrical in form, it’s a model of beauty and efficiency that makes sense of your visitors, leads, opportunities, and closed sales. But that’s not what YOUR marketing funnel looks like.

Ideal sales funnel

Unfortunately for most B2B companies, the reality of their marketing and sales funnel is a misshapen figure that looks more like a funhouse mirror. And a lot of these companies don’t even realize it because they don’t know what their funnel looks like. They know how many visitors and closes they have, but everything in the middle is a mystery to them. So they assume their funnels have the idealized symmetrical form when in fact they’re horrible-looking messes.

It’s critical to know the shape of your company’s funnel, because it will tell you where you need to invest your time, money, and effort to be successful. Typically, marketers bite off more than they can chew by attacking every stage of the funnel at once. But this generalized approach doesn’t work.

When you know what your marketing funnel actually looks like, you can address the problem areas by focusing your time and effort on the right spot that’s actually going to be beneficial for you.

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In this post we’ll show you how to identify your sales funnel’s true shape and how to fix it for increased sales and greater revenue—with less wasted effort.

How to Find Your Marketing and Sales Funnel’s Shape

Not sure what your sales funnel looks like? Ask these questions:

  • How many site visitors do you have each month?
  • How many leads do you get during that time?
  • Do you already have a database of contacts?
  • How many sales opportunities come through in a month?
  • How many closed sales do you earn in that period?

Knowing these details will give you all the information you need to clearly see the shape of your company’s funnel—and address the problem spots with laser-focused attention.

Which of these funnels is yours?

How to Fix Misshappen Marketing and Sales Funnels

Too Many Leads

Sales funnel with too many leadsIf you’re like most B2B companies, your marketing and sales funnel looks something like this. You’ve got a giant database of contacts, but not a lot of website visitors and not enough opportunities—and you’re starving for more closed sales. Most of the leads in your database are old and they’re not engaging with you, so you’re only paying attention to the few new leads you’re getting.

Most people look at the trickle of new leads and go full-throttle after more visitors. If you just had more leads, you’d get more opportunities and close more sales...right?

Actually, the best solution is to nurture the leads you’ve already got. You have tons of contacts in your database who could become opportunities. If you start engaging them with email marketing, your site visits will go up, increasing your number of visitors. And many others will proceed from lead to opportunity, reshaping your funnel proportionately.

Pro tip! Your sales team might be feeling overwhelmed and frustrated because they know that many of your leads could be good ones, but they don’t have the time to make the calls. So marketing can become an invaluable sales partner by asking a couple key questions: What type of information should we be sharing with our leads? How can we nurture these leads to help sales?

Not Enough Leads

Sales funnel with many visitors and few leadsYour funnel is overflowing with visitors but you’ve got hardly any leads. You’re doing a phenomenal job attracting people to your site, but you’re not converting them. There could be two reasons for this:

  • You don’t have any way to convert them. You have a Contact Us page but no other way to collect visitors’ contact information. Find opportunities for conversion. Examine how people flow through the site. Where do you need to add a CTA? Do you need to tweak different things? What do you need to change in order to convert leads?
  • You’re targeting the wrong persona. If you have multiple conversion points but no leads, your content probably isn’t targeting the right person. Collaborate with Sales to refine your ideal customer profile and your buyer personas, then refine your content to hone in better.

If this sounds like your issue, download our Cooking with Inbound guide for recipes to get your personas, content, campaigns, and conversions flowing.

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Low Close Rate

Sales funnel with very few customersYour visits are good, leads are fine, and the number of opportunities are solid, but you have a very low close rate. Your leads are close enough that they want to move forward, but for one reason or another, they pull back at the last minute and you can’t close your opportunities.

Chances are, you’ve got some gaps in your process. Examine your sales process and identify core gaps. Look for roadblocks and any objections from buyers that are getting in the way of a sale:

  • Unqualified leads filling the wrong part of the funnel
  • Salespeople need better training
  • Supporting sales and marketing assets need optimizing
  • The buyers you’ve worked with for the deal aren’t the actual decision makers—you need to educate and turn the buyer into an advocate and empower them to help sell you internally

Not Enough Visitors

Sales funnel that looks very straightThis funnel looks more like a tube because there’s almost no difference in the number of visitors and sales. In this case, all of your visitors immediately want to buy. You have ridiculously high conversion rates all the way down the funnel.

As great as this might seem at first, it’s a malnourished funnel. This funnel is a sign that you have very little brand exposure and all of your visitors already know who you are—probably due to referrals. You’re missing out on an entire segment of buyers who aren’t even visiting your site and will never find you.

Focus on increasing your visitors by investing in top-of-funnel content and social media to boost your brand awareness. Identify your personas and start producing focused content that targets them. Get our Social Media Checklist to get some tips to help boost traffic to your site.

What Shape Is Your Funnel?

Know what your funnel looks like, and you’ll identify your greatest marketing and sales needs. Attack the problem spot over the next quarter and reassess your funnel, then adjust your focus based on the way its shape has shifted.

This targeted approach, instead of a general shotgun method that hits the entire funnel, will give your sales and marketing teams focus, high impact, and a much greater effectiveness in winning more sales and driving more revenue.

Next Steps