All of us in marketing or recruiting know about the sales (or recruiting) funnel. It’s the sales lifecycle! And yes, it’s disappointing that so little comes out at the end with all the effort that we marketers put into the top.
But how can you tell if your sales funnel is broken?
First, let’s do a quick recap so we’re on the same page when we’re talking about the sales lifecycle:
(Or skip this section and scroll down if you already got this. If you want a deeper dive, click here.)
- Who and where is your target audience?
- How do they interact with media?
- How does your audience know who you are?
- Are they aware of your brand?
- Is your audience engaging with your content?
- Are you retargeting prospects that haven’t converted?
- Do your prospects know what to do to purchase or apply?
- Are you collecting data on those conversions?
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s talk about when that process is broken. Here are three indicators that something is wrong.
1. Your cost per conversion is really high.
We’ve all seen this. You’re in the middle of toasting to marketing’s success in converting an additional 1,000,000 prospects (in Dr. Evil’s voice) when someone awful asks how much you spent converting them. Yes, you brought in the sales the company needed, but that sort of spending isn’t sustainable.
A high cost per conversion usually indicates a lack of targeting. If you are spending money trying to get beauticians to drive your flatbed trucks, you could probably narrow the target a bit.
Mass marketing has it’s place, but get some data and research to help you know where and when to target your marketing. Look for media with a hyper-targeted audience, and only go to industry specific events.
2. You’re not converting enough prospects.
You’re running a beautiful advertising campaign spouting the fancy new features of your skid steers. You’ve got exposure all over the place. Brand awareness is up! But there’s no champagne-popping going on because you can’t show any conversions. Marketing departments that can’t show an ROI are in hot water these days.
A lack of conversions usually points to a lack of engagement. Yes, it’s important to reach out to your audience, but they also need ways to reach back out to you. The numbers vary between studies on the number of touchpoints that are required for a conversion, but all the studies agree on one thing: it takes more than a few.
You can increase conversions by providing engaging content and retargeting the prospects that engage with that content. For instance, if you are selling tire retreading, put out a gated white paper called “8 Tire Retreading Myths Busted.” Send out an email to those that download the white paper with a very specific call-to-action or discount. Then use the cookies from the white paper landing page to try to re-engage those prospects (again with a specific call-to-action).
3. No one clicks on your ads.
You’ve got the content, the research, the targeting, but you can’t get anyone to trust your paid search ad enough to click on it. You’re scratching your head wondering what’s going on. Do you look like a scam business or what?
Clicks mean trust. If there are no clicks, there is no trust in your brand. But why? You’ve never cheated a single customer! Simply put, people trust brands they KNOW. There is a lot of noise in the market place. Your prospects need to know who you are.
Get yourself some paid media exposure! With a careful eye on consistent branding, it might be time to get some banner ads, print pages, and booth space where your audience is already hanging out. The more they see your brand, the more likely they are to recognize you, then trust you, and then convert.
Those are just three indicators of a broken sales funnel (or driver recruiting funnel). Undoubtedly there are many more (let us know in the comments), but hopefully these will help you avoid some of the major pitfalls. A working sales funnel is a beautiful thing, but they leak and break easily. Make sure you’re maintaining yours so you can look like the marketing rock star that you are.