An Expert Guide to Sales Funnel Management: 22 Sales Experts Share The Biggest Mistakes Businesses Make In Sales Funnel Management

 In All Things Productivity, Blog

A sales funnel is a concept that most smart salespeople and knowledgeable business owners understand very well, and it is essentially a visual marketing model that represents a customer’s journey from initial contact to the final sale.

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And while a business could potentially have a truly great product or service, and also have tons of potential customers and incoming inquiries ready to buy, it is only with proper and effective sales funnel management that the business can maintain a successful sales process from beginning to end.

Since Docurated’s content solutions help streamline and improve many of our clients’ sales funnel processes, we wanted to learn more about what else goes into effective sales funnel management. More specifically, we wanted to find some expert tips from sales experts regarding the most common (and avoidable) mistakes companies tend to make in different aspects of a business sales funnel. To do this, we asked 22 sales experts to answer this question:

“What’s the biggest mistake organizations make when it comes to sales funnel management (and what can they do to fix it)?”

We’ve collected and compiled their expert advice into this comprehensive guide to successful sales funnel management. See what our experts said below:

Meet Our Panel of Sales Experts:

Ian Altman

Ian AltmanIan Altman is the CEO of Grow My Revenue, LLC. Ian helps companies discover how to become outrageously successful targeting and winning business. He is an internationally sought after speaker and two-time bestselling author on how to grow business with integrity. Ian writes a weekly column for Forbes.com on Sales Leadership. His book, “Same Side Selling”, is one of two books that luminary Seth Godin recommended for B2B Consultative Selling (the other being “SPIN Selling” by Neil Rackham from 1988). Ian grew his own services businesses from zero to values in excess of $1 billion.

When it comes to the biggest mistake in sales funnel management, many organizations make the mistake of…

Centering their sales funnel management on what ‘they’ want (i.e., The Sales) instead of what the customer wants or needs (i.e. Results). Effective sales are about asking the right questions to the right people.

Sales Managers need to ask good questions of their salespeople, and salespeople need to be comfortable asking what might appear to be tough questions of customers. It’s also important remember that how you ask the question is as important as what you ask.

Here are 4 questions salespeople should know for each of their customers. Do this, and you’ll have a clear sense of which pursuits are real, and which ones are a waste of time. Each question should be answered in the customer’s words.

1. What Happens if They Don’t Solve It?

Top sales performers always know the answer to this question and uncover this information from the customer early in the process. If the customer’s answer is insignificant to their business, then your sale probably won’t happen. Ultimately, you have to not only know the Issue, but also the Impact and associated Importance.

2. Who Else is Impacted? Are They Involved?

If you ask your customer, “Who is the decision maker?” You’ll always get the same answer: “I am!”

Instead, ask your customer “Who else is impacted?” The people most directly impacted by solving the customer’s problem need to be involved early in the sales process.

3. Why Would We Lose This Deal?

Know why you would lose each opportunity. If the customer tells you it was about price, that means they felt they were getting better value from someone else. You can deliver better value without being the low bidder. Price matters most when the person selling believes price matters most.

4. Why would your customer change from what they are doing to what you are selling?

The single greatest competition is the status quo. Build a list of every reason why a customer would change from their existing vendor or solution to you. Then you can ask great questions to see if those conditions exist.


Meagan Rhodes

Meagan RhodesMeagan Rhodes is the Digital Marketing Lead of @Pay, a simple, secure email payment technology that makes buying, paying & donating easier. Prior to joining @Pay, Meagan was Community Manager and Editor of 12th & Broad Magazine (Gannett), UGC Editor of The Tennessean newspaper (Gannett), and Production Manager of Nashville Arts Magazine and ArtNowNashville.com. She has served in leadership roles for many arts organizations & boards and has recently been recognized as a 2014 Nashville’s “30 Under 30” and as a 2014 “NELA (Nashville Emerging Leader Award) Finalist” by the Nashville Chamber of Commerce. With nearly 12K personal Twitter followers, Meagan has created a media voice with an audience interested in lifestyle and tech. She has spoken on several panels and taught workshops on social media marketing and engagement.

One of the biggest sales funnel mistakes I know of is…

Not adding a simple payments technology to their websites and emails.

For example, 39% of email recipients will read their email on a smartphone & then click through to the website. But only 13% of those online transactions are completed (SeeWhy, 2013). They drop out at the final purchasing step.

Payment technologies such as @Pay, PayPal, or GoogleWallet simplify the process to a few clicks, rather than asking a customer to fill out a long billing and shipping form each time they make a purchase. Simple payments technologies allow you to capture those impulse buys–especially when they are buying from mobile.


Barney Cohen

Barney CohenBarney Cohen is the President and CEO of Business 360 Northwest, a business consulting, content and social media firm based in Seattle, WA, and has more than 40 years of experience in starting and operating businesses. For a single retail record store, he built one of the largest wholesalers of prerecorded music in the world. Once Barney’s company (Valley Media) reached $900 million in sales, he took it public. He now helps businesses manage their growth and take with companies to the next level.

The biggest mistake most companies make managing the sales funnel is…

They ask the sales department to take a potential customer from zero to one hundred.

The first two-thirds of the journey should be the responsibility of the marketing department. And the funnel should be called a marketing/sales funnel.

A well-run company would have a robust marketing department working side by side with the sales department. The marketers would be responsible for generating leads and keeping the lead pipeline full. This would include prospecting, initial contact, sending out samples and brochures, and creating a profile in the sales database. When the prospect indicates a willingness to buy, the marketing department would hand them over to the appropriate person in sales.

Salespeople are good at making presentations and getting orders. It is a waste of their time–and the company’s resources–to have them spend time prospecting for leads. So the biggest mistake is involving the sales person too early in the process of converting a prospect into a customer.


Andy Paul

Andy PaulAndy Paul is the Author of “Amp Up Your Sales: Powerful Strategies That Move Customers To Make Fast, Favorable Decisions” AMACOM Books, 2014) and “Zero-Time Selling: 10 Essential Steps to Accelerate Every Company’s Sales”. A sought-after speaker and business coach, Andy conducts workshops, coaches and consults with CEOs and sales teams to teach them how to maximize the value and power of their selling to rapidly increase their sales. Learn more about Andy and his work at Zero Time Selling.

The biggest mistake companies make in their sales funnel management is…

They start right at the top of the funnel with the failure to responsively follow up with new sales leads. Research conducted by Insidesales.com has shown that only 27% of sales leads received by companies are ever followed up. Companies across the US are investing approximately $200 billion each year to develop brand awareness and generate leads for their products and services. And yet, three quarters of those dollars go to waste as sales teams fail to follow-up on the interest that is created.

The problem stems from companies not having adequately defined expectations set for their sales teams when it comes to lead follow-up. The most effective way to establish these expectations is to put into place tightly defined and documented sales processes for all customer facing activities, including lead follow-up. Responsively and effectively following up its sales leads is the easiest and fastest way for any company to increase its sales. Take a look at the math. Assume any close rate for your sales team. Let’s say that they convert 25% of all qualified prospects into orders. If they were suddenly to increase the percentage of leads that they followed up from 25% to 50%, while keeping their close rate the same, what would happen your sales results? They would double!

A sales lead is like a scratch-off lottery ticket. It has unknown potential. It could turn into a qualified prospect that ultimately orders your product. Or it could be someone whose requirements are not a match for your product. But until the wax is scratched off the surface of the ticket, you don’t know whether you have a winner or not.

So too should it be with sales leads. After all, the unscratched lottery ticket never pays a prize.


Dacia Coffey

Dacia CoffeyDacia Coffey is the President and CEO of Blender, a B2B marketing agency that specializes in aligning the real world sales cycle with story, psychology and resonant marketing to drive measurable sales growth. With 15 years of sales and marketing experience, she is passionate about teaching the business world that work is not a place, but the way in which an individual or organization can positively impact the world.

The biggest mistake organizations make when it comes to sales funnel management is…

They don’t navigate the fears of the decision maker effectively.

This mistake is a killer, because the decision maker doesn’t always choose the best ; they choose the best at removing fear. This mistake harms sales funnel management, because fear can stall decision makers from moving to the next step. What does this mistake look like in practice?

  • Talking features and benefits instead of customer pain points and goals
  • Using long words and sentences instead of mirroring the customer’s words
  • Not actively listening to the prospect’s concerns
  • Avoiding objections, instead of seeing them as an opportunities

 

In short, this mistake happens when a sales professional is focused on their own pains, fears or goals, instead of their prospect’s.

Education is the fix to this problem. Anticipate the needs of the prospect and teach them how to solve their problem. Be the expert in understanding their situation and lean into your strength by serving them, instead of selling to them. Your humanity will speed up the sales cycle and create a change in your customer relationships that has the power to transform your market position permanently.


Anthony Kirlew

Anthony KirlewAnthony Kirlew is a speaker, author, serial entrepreneur and digital marketing expert. He advises businesses ranging from the small business to the enterprise organization with the goal of helping them grow their bottom line. You can learn more about him and his services at www.AnthonyKirlew.com

I firmly believe the biggest mistake companies make in sales management is…

Not seeing the pipeline as the core of the business.

This means you need to be consistently filling it and moving people through it. The key to successfully moving people through it, is having a solid CRM system that notifies you of the next touch point (call, email, visit, etc).

There is a saying in sales, “the fortune is in the follow up” and it’s true. I have had people actually thank me for consistently following up with them during a sales process because while they might need and want your service, they often have many other things pulling at them for their attention.

If you keep your message in front of them (without being obnoxious), you will often see more people move through your pipeline resulting in an increase in sales.


Patrick Sprouse

Patrick SprousePatrick Sprouse is the Director of Sale and Operations for Urban Igloo, a real estate start-up founded in Washington, DC. He has been in organizational and sales management since 2000, starting in Washington, DC and recently in Houston, Texas. He’s led successful sales teams of over 200 agents and brokers, and is currently excited to be part of a new, young, growing company where he can see his experience and knowledge make direct impacts every day.

The biggest mistake organizations make with sales funnel management is process oriented:

Most organizations have trainings and methods in place, but largely leave it up to their salespeople to manage their own funnel, so long as specific milestones are recorded. This is a big mistake.

It’s not that salespeople shouldn’t have autonomy, they should. But rather most salespeople, even superstars, do not understand that having a logical, repeatable, and observable process is the key to success. And in many cases, that means the organization needs to lay out a process that works, and hold salespeople accountable for following that process and improving upon that process.

Knowing the ‘what’ and the ‘why’ of pipeline management activities is important, and unless a process that is logical, repeatable and observable is in place, most salespeople are just ‘winging it.’ And ‘winging it’ can be directly translated to lost revenue potential, unhappy clients and customers, the ups and downs of a sales cycle (prospecting then clearing the pipeline then back to prospecting).

This is really a problem of the organization, not the salespeople. Because the organization is not holding the salespeople accountable for having these processes in place and instead trusting the salesperson’s gut or experience, the organization is allowing their team to not optimism the return on all the marketing efforts and brand value that helps fill the funnel; the organization is not only losing deals due to lack of structure, but is also wasting money.


Deborah Schroeder-Saulnier

Deborah Schroeder-SaulnierDeborah Schroeder-Saulnier, D.Mgt. is the Founder and CEO of Excel Leadership Solutions, a global management consulting firm that works collaboratively with business leaders, and a highly sought advisor to senior executives. Leveraging her 25-year career in senior leadership roles, and consulting to business/industry, she partners closely with executives to solve problems, clarify focus, and accelerate the pursuit of critical market, organization, and leadership priorities. She has worked with a number of Fortune 500 companies worldwide, including Boeing, Citigroup, Bunge LTD., Scottrade, Danfoss, IPC-The Hospitalist Company, RGA – Reinsurance Group of America, Scottrade, and World Wide Technology. Deborah’s new book: The Power of Paradox: Harness the Energy of Competing Ideas to Uncover Radically Innovative Solutions, brings a counterintuitive approach to solving problems to help you face chronic challenges with confidence and uncover unexpected and infinitely better solutions.

When it comes to sales funnel management, should you build relationships with prospects or look for smart ways to use social channels for lead conversion? Should you focus on pulling leads through the funnel or flex as prospects enter in at different points in the process. Should we stick with the way we’ve done it before or change our approach? The best answer may be “yes.” Here is my advice for sales funnel management…

  • Sales and marketing.
  • Focused and flexible.
  • Continuity and change.

 

Paradox thinking is “and” thinking. It enables balanced management of interdependent and seemingly conflicting objectives toward a singular goal or aim. Adopting an appreciation for paradox can be the “fix” for your sales funnel management mistakes.

As complexity grows, so does the need for paradox thinking. And today’s world is indeed complex. Today’s customer is frustrated, fearful, and forgetful. There is simply too much! So, you need to engage them in the experience from the very start, after they buy, and when they are in conversations with others. Below are but a few of the key paradoxes in sales funnel management.

Sales and Marketing.

Be engaging and relevant as you choose which social networks and tools are best fit to guide prospects through the funnel. For example, millennials are always online, yet traditionalists are not. Make it easy for both of them to reach you in personally attentive ways. Then, put on the charm and solve their problem with your product or service.

Focused and Flexible.

The sales funnel is still a valid focusing tool for sales and marketing professionals, yet being flexible and acknowledging prospects enter at any point is critical. So, shape your funnel to capture the spontaneity.

Continuity and Change.

Testing everything (even ideas) and often will indicate when it is time to hold or make a change in your approach.


Ben Landers

Ben LandersBen Landers is the President of Blue Corona, a digital marketing and analytics firm with 50 employees and two offices. Blue Corona helps small medium sized businesses accurately track their advertising programs and generate more leads and sales via online marketing campaigns.

The biggest mistake I see SMBs making with sales funnel management is…

Lack of timely follow up with leads received.

Companies go through great lengths to generate leads and then let them sit for WAYYY too long. The longer a lead sits, the colder it becomes. Today’s consumers expect a near instantaneous response.

Looking for a quick and easy fix, a lot of companies try to solve the problem by purchasing marketing automation software (HubSpot, Marketo, Infusionsoft, etc.). Going this route without addressing the people side of the equation never works.

You’ve got to clearly communicate your (new) expectations to your sales team. You’ve got to provide continually training and feedback, and put in place incentives for the behaviors you want. No software can do all this for you, and none of it is “quick or easy,” but it’s absolutely what you need to do if you want to close more business and beat the competition.


Ramon Khan

Ramon KhanRamon Khan is a Sales and Marketing expert with a passion for helping businesses grow. He is currently the Marketing Manager of National Air Warehouse, an online leader in the HVAC industry.

Having set up several sales funnels myself in multiple industries, I have a lot of experience regarding what it takes to be successful. Some of the most common issues I see with organizations when it comes to sales funnel management are:

  • Not properly measuring performance. Each funnel is like a machine with several components that need to be finely tuned to work in harmony. Properly measuring each step of the funnel from A-Z including conversions at each step, ROI, and timing to complete each step is crucial. This is especially true in the beginning; otherwise, you won’t have a baseline to track improvement.
  • Complicating the sales process with CRM overkill. CRM tools are necessary but make sure you choose the right tools for your needs. A small business might not need an enterprise type tool that comes along with the hefty price-tag. Keep the steps simple, easy to track and implement. You can accomplish this with several free CRM tools as well like Sugar and ZOHO.
  • Not adapting quickly enough. Depending on the size of the business/organization, change might come about slow. To properly manage a successful sales funnel, you need to adapt quickly based on market trends and consumer demand. This is a crucial function to stay fresh and ahead of the game.
  • Lack of communication between marketing and sales. There is usually a big gap in most organizations between those departments. In reality, they should be working in a synchronized fashion. Making sure feedback is constantly being shared via meetings, company wiki etc is very important. Sales and marketing should always have close communications and collaborate while building and optimizing a sales funnels.


David Tendrich

David TendrichDavid Tendrich is the Co-Founder of creative marketing firm, Unexpected Ways, as well as the new PSD to HTML & WordPress service, ReliablePSD.com. His expertise is in helping companies find the right voice that cuts through the noise, and actually tells their customers exactly what they need to hear, in just the right way they need to hear it.

With the rise of sales funnel management tools like Salesforce and Infusionsoft and so many others, I think the biggest mistake companies make in crafting their sales funnels is…

Getting too wrapped up in technology.

If they don’t have the right automated systems in place, many companies hold back or don’t take action altogether, losing precious momentum and opportunities to connect with their markets.

The best way to fix this is to take action – no matter how imperfect it may be. Connect with your market. Learn what’s in their thoughts and feelings and figure out where you fit into all that in a way no one else does.

Then, you’ll have the fuel you need to craft a message that will light up any sales funnel. Even if your current funnel is rudimentary and customers have to jump through hoops to get through it – they WILL jump through those hoops if you connect with them in the right way.

The technology should only be a sales multiplier. It’s not a replacement for substance. Once you have substance down, the technology and fine tuning the funnel is just icing on the cake.


Micheline Nijmeh

Micheline NijmehMicheline Nijmeh is CMO for LiveHive, Inc., whose cloud-based, sales engagement platform provides real-time intelligence based on customer engagement with digital content. A seasoned Silicon Valley executive, Nijmeh has served as Senior Director, Integrated Global Campaigns at Salesforce.com, where she led the market launch of Salesforce’s Chatter and Force platform. Nijmeh also served as Senior Director, Integrated Marketing for Silver Spring Networks, where she oversaw global marketing strategy for networking solutions across multiple organizations, including brand awareness, product marketing, demand generation, and management of worldwide marketing events.

To successfully manage the sales funnel, organizations must know the number of opportunities in the funnel that are likely to close and understand prospect signals of interest and timing. The biggest mistake organizations make is…

Not getting the accurate insight needed to achieve both of these requirements. For a healthy sales funnel, organizations must know the:

  • Number of opportunities in the funnel – and the rate at which opportunities are acquired
  • Value of every deal in the funnel
  • Average amount of time prospects are in the funnel until they are acquired
  • Win rate

 

One way to solve this problem has emerged through new sales acceleration technologies that deliver instant and actionable intelligence about prospects’ engagement with sales content. By seeing how engaged prospects are with their content, sales organizations can better assess their interests.

If, for example, an organization can immediately see how a prospect engages when they receive a proposal – not only when they open the proposal but also how long they spend on each page and to whom they forward it – that data can be invaluable. By seeing that a proposal has been forwarded and to whom, organizations can tell if it’s moving ahead for internal approvals – insight that allows organizations to make more accurate forecasting to better manage the funnel.


Brad Hines

Brad HinesBrad Hines is a Digital Marketing Strategist, Writer, and Founder of HungryKids.org. Hines has appeared in over 30 media outlets including USA Today, Mashable, Fast Company, Market Watch, and Bloomberg Businessweek, discussing topics such as startups, marketing, finance, Internet, tech, and more.

The most common problem companies make with sales funnel management –a huge one at that– is…

Spending money on finding new customers, vs. spending the money to develop old customers into repeat customers, or at least to use it converting leads to customers. The spray-and-pay model of considering anyone a potential customer is an unrealistic one.


Jai Decker

Jai DeckerJai Decker is the CEO of DrivenTide, a firm that speeds online growth through performance-based search engine optimization, search engine marketing, and social media marketing.

With over 17 years of adverting, social media and lead generation sales under my belt, competitive data is the first thing I check starting any marketing initiative. So when it comes to sales funnel management, this is what I have found to be most effective and would advise companies to focus their efforts on…

First, always follow up within 24 hours of initial contact with a personalized email. Second, use simple but customized emails – no templates!

Third, create custom and succinct sales decks with:

  • 1 to 3 pages MAX!
  • 3 to 4 solutions your business can solve for their company
  • Custom URLs to example pages on their company website
  • Tracking pixels to track opened PDFs and website engagement

 

And finally, always follow up your sales presentations with a phone call to go over the proposal or deck personally.


Ozana Giusca

Ozana GiuscaOzana Giusca is the Founder & CEO of Tooliers, the premiere platform with online tools to enable small businesses to get bigger, and an international expert on business growth, speaker, author, and successful entrepreneur with businesses in the U.S., U.K. and Romania and clients on all continents. She is also the Managing Director of Bridge Europe Consulting, one of the companies that develops online business growth tools for Tooliers, and elected Member in the Advisory Board of Cass Business School.

I definitely can contribute some perspective, since one of my biggest challenges with Tooliers was to build and optimize our sales funnel. After a lot of trial and error and a bit of research I realized we were not focusing on the right things…

We didn’t pay enough attention to some important steps in the process (example: getting people to buy our tripwire, the cheap version / part of our offer).

Even though we identified quality leads and prospects they were unable to smoothly transition from one stage to the next. On the other hand, we focused too much on the early stages (social media activities on facebook and linkedin).

We managed to identify a lot of good prospects but we failed to give them enough opportunities to interact with our products and get them prepared for our offering.


Ely Delaney

Ely DelaneyEly Delaney is the Co-Founder and Lead Trainer of YourMarketingUniversity.com, a marketing education company designed specifically to teach you how to take control of your marketing, online and offline. Ely simplifies the complex when it comes to marketing your business and becoming THE expert in your industry.

The biggest mistake I see so many organizations making with their sales funnels is…

Not segmenting their list of buyer and prospects properly.

Simply put… don’t try to sell them something they’ve already bought! Be sure your sales funnel is moving them forward, not back.

Just recently I got a “one time only 50% off” promotion for a WordPress theme that just 2 days earlier I had bought. Now, when I confronted the company they did refund back the difference but nothing frustrates clients more than finding out that they could have got a better deal if they had waited a bit!

Simple tracking can help you cater your message differently to to customers that have bought to never try to sell them something they’ve already bought before. Know your customers better than that!


Duston McGroarty

Duston McGroartyDuston McGroarty is a Digital Marketing Expert and Consultant who helps businesses of all kinds “sell more stuff” online. Having a more profound web presence is one thing but doing it effectively and being able to increase revenue is where Duston shines. Learn more about Duston’s work at http://dustonmcgroarty.com.

The biggest mistake organizations make when it comes to sales funnel management is…

Incongruence.

A lot of times, when a specific offer in the funnel is not converting as well as expected, organizations put their focus on improving the sales copy, reducing its price or even changing the offer completely. But nine times out of ten the issue is actually incongruence.

To achieve maximum results, organizations should focus on making their offers in the funnel be as congruent as possible with the initial, front-end product.

Take a web hosting company, for example. If they were to offer their new hosting customers a subscription to Better Homes & Garden magazine, their conversion rate would be dismal. But on the other hand, if they were to offer those same customers SEO services for their new website, their conversion rate would obviously be much higher.

Congruence. It’s often overlooked as the culprit to many sales funnel problems.


Tamara Nall

Tamara NallTamara Nall is the CEO of TLN Worldwide Enterprises, Inc.(dba The Leading Niche), an award winning and internationally recognized company known for using data and cutting-edge consulting to deliver ‘actionable intelligence’. TLN offers mission critical work to support commercial, Defense and Civilian customers in domestic and international markets, including the United States, Canada, Europe and Africa.

With sales funnel management, the biggest mistake that businesses make is that…

They often do not end their follow-up communications with potential customers with a ‘call to action’.

Whether via email, call, or in-person formal meeting, or informal cocktail reception, there should always be a ‘call to action’ that both parties agree to.

As well, the actionable steps need to be easy for the potential customer to execute against. We do the hard work for our current/potential customers. For instance, if a customer needs to introduce me and my company to someone else within the organization, we will draft it so that they can simply forward it.

The Solution: Agree on what the ‘call to action’ will be in advance, and make the ‘call to action’ simple and action-able.


Reuben Yonatan

Reuben YonatanReuben Yonatan is the Founder and CEO at GetVoIP.com, a comparison resource for communication solutions. Reuben has founded multiple review sites, written on various publications, and featured in dozens of interviews and podcasts. His writings blend commentary, research, and perspective on e-commerece trends, business strategies, leadership, and enterprise communication.

The biggest mistakes organizations make when it comes to sales funnel management are…

1. Relying too much on technology – There’s no shortage of amazing software capable of managing sales numbers. But it’s no substitute for an experienced sales agent that knows what to say to the lead. A good CRM software can augment a sales agent, but a sales agent who is great at CRM software will never be as good as a sales agent who is just great at sales.

2. Getting too many leads, ranking too few – Everyone knows the “Coffee is for closers” speech from Glengatry, Glen Ross. But the rest of the movie is about a handful of sales agents fighting hard for good leads. Those good leads have been carefully vetted, and are ready for the right agent to make a sale. That agency knew the importance of not just collecting leads, but determining which leads were the hottest, and assigning them to the right agent.

3. Waiting too long, or pushing too fast – Studies have shown that waiting even an hour decreases the chances of qualifying a lead. But, paradoxically, if you try to close too quickly, you’ll look like a pushy salesman. You have to understand the right rhythm of the sales funnel. Timing is everything.


Dalia Asterbadi

Dalia AsterbadiDalia Asterbadi, a pioneer in in technology-driven marketing communications and sales analytics, is CEO and founder of realSociable, a company focused on social insight for deeper engagement with customers. Engineer, inspirational speaker and author, her upcoming book is titled “The 31 Immutable Plays of Prospecting: The Truth Behind a Winning Culture and Bridging the Gap between Sales and Marketing.” Customers that have worked with Dalia include HP, Microsoft and Salesforce.com.

The biggest mistakes in sales funnel management come from…

Not acting effectively to convert more contacts into contracts.

Obviously, you are not going to convert everyone, because not everyone is ready or able to be a customer, but you can trip yourself up by not having enough information about your leads and their place in their own sales cycle. You end up focusing energy on the wrong people or the right people with the wrong message. Another mistake is being unable to sort through the noise to find the signals that matter.

Sometimes in your focus to convert, you assume your prospects think about you as much as you think about them. Your priority is not their priority. Instead, you should aim to get a pulse on what matters to them to always establish a positively reinforced mutual relationship that changes the conversation. You want to be able to have certain topics alerted when they occur in your funnel. You could call it triggers. The more you are able to set triggers, the more you can manage the data and find the right people at the right time with the right message to get the conversion from contact into contracts.


Alejandro Velez

Alejandro VelezAlejandro Velez is the CEO of Doitwiser.com, a company that provides green office supplies and eco friendly stationery, and an online destination for tips to make a better world by shopping smart.

The biggest mistake organizations make in sales funnel management is…

Thinking that if they increase their traffic, they will definitely get more sales.

The concept in general is correct, but what they’re not seeing is that no matter how much traffic you get, if it isn’t from people who will potentially become leads and prospects, they will be wasting time and probably money. It is important to increase traffic, but you have to be very careful where you put your marketing efforts.

The first thing you need to do is identify your buyer personas. To do so, think about whom might be interested in buying your product or service. Then, create a full profile for each type of customer. You need to know things like: gender, age, profession, financial situation, education and shopping habits (what they buy and where).

For example, we know that one of our buyer personas are small business owners, based on that and all the demographic and financial information we gathered, we try to understand what problems are they struggling with, how our product will help them and what is the best message to show them that we can help. Finally after identifying their shopping habits, we know where they can be found and where our marketing message should be displayed.


Victor Mandalawi

Victor MandalawiVictor Mandalawi is the Founder of Choice Home Warranty, one of the top home warranty companies in the US. Choice made the Inc 5000 in 2013 with over $16 million in revenue and employs 100+ people in the home improvement industry.

A big mistake many companies make in sales funnel management is…

Failure to nurture clients after-the-close into long term company advocates.

Moving on to a new customer once another hits the bottom of the funnel reduces your opportunities for upselling and referrals. Focusing a percentage of your lead generation into following up with existing leads can pay off handsomely in future new business.

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