Moving leads from one stage to the next in the sales funnel sometimes resembles how transport companies deliver people and things from point A to point B. From time to time, leads, just like passengers or cargo, get lost in transit, causing delays in conversion or even adding to the pileup of missed opportunities.
Losing leads already in the pipeline means there might be leakages or gaps somewhere in your sales funnel. Left unplugged, these leaks drain revenues and drag down growth. A leaky sales funnel typically give off some tell-tale signs such as:
- Low lead-to-close rate
- Low opportunity-to-close rate
- Very low sales pipeline coverage, leading to missed sales targets
- High number of stalled opportunities
- High number of leads not followed up
Transport companies aren’t immune from leaky sales funnels. In fact, with prevailing trends in some segments of the industry, the problem of leads getting lost in transit becomes even more serious.
Accenture reports that around 52% of logistics companies say their account-targeting plans need improvement while 37% want to better understand the customer buying process. McKinsey, on the other hand, points to a clear need for container shipping firms to shift from a cost-plus approach to one that emphasizes value.
All this indicates that purchase cycles in this industry are becoming more complicated. When customers’ buying processes lengthen and expand, there are more possible places in your funnel for prospects and leads to flow out. That’s why if you’re starting to see the signs and symptoms outlined earlier, it’s time for you to find and fix the leakage. Here are five ways to do this:
Draw a clear sales funnel roadmap
Can you identify each step that a prospect has to follow before becoming a customer? You’re going to need a detailed list of every single step in your sales process—from lead capture all the way down to closing a deal.
Because sales funnels can sometimes grow complex, it helps to take this tip a bit literally. A good visualization of the process lets you pinpoint possible unwanted exit points in your pipeline later on in your analysis.
Related: The Metamorphosis of a B2B Lead
Fine-tune the sales dashboard
You can’t manage what you don’t measure. So, if you want to find and fix sales funnel leakages, you have to see to it you’re looking at the right numbers. This further implies you should be tracking how each lead progresses from one stage in your funnel to the next.
Marketing automation platforms and CRMs typically provide these capabilities out-of-the-box. At the bare minimum, managing funnel leaks require reports on lead sources, conversions, rep/agent performance, and wins/losses.
Accelerate response times
It’s already common knowledge that the sooner you respond to leads, the more likely they’ll convert into opportunities. Timely lead response can make all the difference in the world when it comes to closing deals. So this should be one of the first tactics to try when handling sales funnel leaks.
The shortest time that the inquiry is addressed, begets higher chance of converting the query to a Lead, to a Proposal, and to a Close. Read: The 5 to 5 Calling Rule for Inbound Leads (That Generated Over 40% Increase in Sales)
Measure both the time it takes for your team to respond to leads and the time required for leads to convert. Clearly, it’s (relatively) easier for you to work on improving your team’s response time than speeding up your leads’ transit time.
Tackle traffic congestions
Leads don’t move down your funnel at the same speed. Some transit more slowly, while some get stuck at specific junctures along the way. These choke points can turn into leaks when left unattended.
The key to managing points of congestion in your funnel is to come up with strategies for engaging stalled prospects. These leads need a different set of touch points to get moving once again. In some instances, it’s better to segment these types of leads out separately.
Avoid unnecessary detours
If leaks persist despite your best efforts, it’s probably time to revisit your targeting and segmentation strategies. Are the marketing materials in each stage of the funnel really appropriate for what leads need? Are your entire sales funnel even aligned with your target buyer’s journey?
Keep in mind that content needs to be mapped to both buyer persona and sales funnel stage. You don’t want to give top-of-funnel leads the same level of engagement and content type that bottom-of-funnel leads receive.
As more transport customers choose providers based on value rather than costs, the buying cycle and (consequently) the sales process become even more nonlinear. This increases the chances for leads to seep out of the pipeline undetected. That’s why it’s more crucial to monitor and manage leaks. Leads lost in transit drag performance down and waste business resources. So, start plugging the holes in your funnel right now.
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