The inbound sales funnel is the visual representation of the path your visitors, leads, opportunities, and customers take before purchasing. The ideal inbound sales funnel should be completely symmetrical in form, bigger at the top where lots of visitors come in, and smaller at the bottom where your customers lie. But for many organizations, the sales funnel is a completely misshapen mess.
It’s actually very important to know the shape of your organization’s inbound sales funnel, because knowing this can help you to better invest your time, effort, and money into the sections that need the most help in order to see greater success—increased sales, greater revenue, and less wasted effort and resources.
How to Identify the Shape of Your Funnel
To understand whether or not you have the ideal inbound funnel shape, ask yourself the following questions:
- How many visitors come to your website every month?
- How many of them are converting into leads?
- How many leads are in your database?
- How many of those leads translate into sales opportunities?
- And how many of those opportunities result in closed sales?
With this information in mind, you can get a clearer idea of the shape of your funnel and where things are going wrong.
Here are four common problems that lead to a misshapen inbound sales funnel.
Middle Heavy—Too Many Leads
If the “lead” section of your inbound funnel is bigger than the other sections, you’re not alone. Many businesses have this issue. You’ve got a big database of contacts that could potentially buy from you, but you really don’t have many web visitors and you definitely don’t have enough sales opportunities, which leads you to be starved for sales.
All of the leads you do have in your database are old, and they’re not engaging with you, so they’re not translating into opportunities.
If this is the problem you’re having with your sales funnel, then what you need to do is use lead nurturing tactics on the contacts in your database in order to move them down the sales funnel. Use email marketing and social media to engage with your leads, and your funnel will start to reshape itself more proportionately as some of these leads start to move down.
Skinny Middle—Not Enough Leads
Maybe you have the opposite problem, though—you don’t have enough leads. Your funnel is consistently full with visitors, but those visitors rarely turn into leads. If this is the problem, then it’s clear that you’re great at driving web traffic, but you’re having trouble with lead conversion.
There are a few things you can do here. First, ensure that you’re targeting the correct buyer persona. Perhaps your visitors aren’t converting because they’re the wrong type of visitors for your company. You might need to re-define your buyer personasin order to refine your content and attract visitors who will actually convert. Second, find new opportunities to convert. Add calls to action to your blog posts and your web pages. Create landing pages for those CTAs. Tweak things if you already have CTAs and landing pages but they’re not helping you convert.
Teeny, Tiny Bottom—Low Close Rate
Though the bottom of your inbound funnel should be the smallest, it shouldn’t be virtually non-existent. If you can’t close your opportunities into sales, you’re not going to generate revenue. Chances are, if this is occurring, you have some gaps in your sales process. So, analyze your sales process to see where your reps might be having issues. Perhaps your sales reps need sales enablement to improve their performance and skills.
Tube Instead of Funnel—Not Enough Visitors
You should have more visitors than anything else in your inbound funnel. If your sales funnel looks more like a tube than a funnel with a big top filled with visitors, then you’re definitely having trouble attracting people to your brand. Focus your time and resources on improving your brand exposure and awareness. Increase your blogging and SEO efforts to gain more visibility and get more visitors to your site.
Posted By Author Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist
Mike is the CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist at Square 2. He is passionate about helping people turn their ordinary businesses into businesses people talk about. For more than 25 years, Mike has been working hand-in-hand with CEOs and marketing and sales executives to help them create strategic revenue growth plans, compelling marketing strategies and remarkable sales processes that shorten the sales cycle and increase close rates.