Sales Funnel Challenges to Overcome for Lead Generation

The right strategies to grow your sales funnel.
sales funnel article cover photo
Sales is a simple word yet a not-so-simple activity to master.

Wouldn't it be great if sales worked something like this:

"Look at that, we're out of milk. I know of a store down the street that sells milk so I'll go there and buy some. Problem solved!"

The type of sales we focus on unfortunately is never that easy.

Our sales industry is overwhelmingly vast and extremely nuanced. Having a great sales funnel base is a necessity if you want to keep things in good working order.

And to have a great sales funnel, you need the right strategy.

Why the Sales Funnel Matters in Lead Generation

Lead generation is the foundation of each sale your company makes. Without this initial and necessary step, you are essentially setting yourself up for failure. So don't miss out.
How to do that? Be organized and purposeful.

Whether your leads are of the inbound variety or are a result of outbound efforts, it is wise to develop strategies and systems to keep everything organized and functioning. One of the best ways to do this is to create a sales funnel.

A sales funnel is a visual representation of the journey potential customers will go through during the buying process. It always starts with a lead and ends with a sale. Alternatively, it helps keep you organized and goal-oriented, and it is very handy for qualifying leads.

Most likely you will be working with several different prospects, all with different timelines and facing different challenges that you can help them solve. A robust sales funnel will help you and your team keep all of it straight as you navigate each and every lead.

There are many reasons why building a sales funnel is important for lead generation. Aside from the ones mentioned above, a few more I'd like to share with you are not only related to lead generation but to how the sales funnel can bring the lead full circle.

When you generate new leads you are also building new relationships.

As the leads are developed and qualified, you will become better acquainted with them and they with you. This can lead to a quicker sales cycle with a deal as the likely outcome.

Because a sales funnel is compartmentalized and systematic in nature, the cold leads you start with have a clear and defined path towards becoming paying customers. You always know what the next step is for them to take, and don't miss a single follow-up possibility.

So the more structure you put around your sales funnel, the better off you will be.

Your sales funnel will also help you differentiate between the types of prospects you have so when it comes time to deliver your message through your outreach strategies (cold calling, social media connection, etc.) you will be able to develop the right message for the right prospect.

Clearly, when it comes to lead generation strategy, a sales funnel works as the north star that all your actions are planned around.

But it is not a one-size-fits-all solution.

Challenges Companies Face in the Sales Funnel and Solutions to These Challenges

Sales funnels always need some tweaking.

Although they are formulaic and useful due to this, it's important to remember no two companies are exactly the same.

Each one faces its own unique challenges depending on which industry they are in, the type of customer they seek, the length of time their particular sales cycle takes, and so on. One such challenge is elevating themselves above the companies that operate in the same space they do.

As time and technology continue to advance, the marketplace just continues to get more crowded and more competitive which gives customers more choices. Even hiring the best outsourced team won't be helpful if you do not stay on top of the market and industry trends while your competitors do.

You want to stand out from the crowd.

Always make sure you are creating and showing value - make it the front and center of your messaging so your prospective clients are always aware of this. Let them feel comfortable enough that no matter where in the sales funnel and sales cycle they currently are, they will continue to take this journey towards a solution with you.

You should also communicate what your product or service is and why there is so much value in it as often as possible. Provide case studies or testimonials as evidence of how your product or service is right for your prospect. Offer demonstrations, trials, and other promotional tools as a visual showcase for all of your offerings. Let your potential clients see themselves working with you and they will move through that sales funnel rather quickly.

Create a side-by-side comparison with several of your competitors highlighting not only where you outperform them but also where you outperform them in the exact area your prospect is currently feeling pain.

Ultimately, this is the area that your prospect cares most about. It is up to you to recognize that and deliver a solution that will keep them from looking elsewhere.

This will not only show that you are more than qualified to handle them as a customer but that you have the knowledge and understanding of their specific needs to make them long-term business partners.

If you can do that you will know you have created a very effective sales funnel and will be well on your way to more outcomes similar to this.
sales funnel challenges infographic

You Cannot Get Something For Nothing

We have been discussing the noise and the competition surrounding your business and potentially disrupting or even crushing your sales funnel. There are many reasons for this and we have another important one to talk about now.

What will your prospects always wonder when you ask for their information to build your email list? Easy:

What's in it for me?

Today's business landscape is so vast and competitive that even asking a potential customer to do something as simple as adding their email address to your website doesn't come without a price.

This is where the idea of using a lead magnet or content upgrade might come in pretty handy. Using this strategy on your website will provide the prospect with just enough trust in you to go forward.

You can offer a free toolkit, mini-course, or PDF guide in exchange for the potential customer's contact information. This shows a willingness and understanding on your part that you value your prospect's time. You want to reward them with something that will hopefully show why your company is the perfect fit for them.

Something else this add-on does is allow you to advertise that you actually do this on your social media pages and blog posts. This has many benefits but the one I like the most is that it gives you a reason to create more content.

In the digital age and a world being lived online, content is king.

The more relevant content you produce, the better. Especially content that highlights the fact that you respect people's time and the appreciation you have for them visiting your website and giving you their information is huge. It shows trust and awareness on your part and that will make folks want to learn more about you.

The best thing about using lead magnets is that they are easy to create and install. You already have content on your website so just browse through it and see what would make sense to repurpose into a guide or digital mini-course.

It already exists so why not put those words to better use?

It is also pretty simple to create a landing page and have a place where all of your offerings are listed for potential buyers to see. Whatever creative gift that you would like to give to those visiting your site could be packaged beautifully in one spot which may also give those same visitors a reason to stay on your site longer and learn even more about you.

It's a Matter of Trust

The theme of competition is running through this piece because it is an unavoidable fact throughout the entire business landscape. Competition is good for the customer: it weeds out the companies that do not step up their game and roll with the changing times.

In terms of the sales funnel, going above and beyond for your leads is something that you should strive to do.

Remember, not everyone will do this. With no end in sight for the competition issue, companies who want to close the most deals must do everything in their power to show their customers some love to ultimately build trust.

When communicating with your prospects, always personalize those interactions by using their names and talking directly about their unique experiences.

Customers are savvy and have come to expect a certain level of respect when either doing business or just looking around. There is no shame in going this extra mile even if you do not convert every lead into a sale.

These interactions you have can and should be fun: mix in some humor with your emails and social media posts. Sometimes we forget that behind each lead is an actual human being and leaving the sales jargon alone once in a while to make someone laugh might be the better move. It shows that you know cracking a smile is as important as making a sale and people will appreciate and respect that.

In this world of constant automation, sometimes people are looking for little one-on-one experiences. They don't want to feel like just another set of numbers visiting a website.

In a best of both worlds scenario, you might want to think about using a chatbot on your site.

It will be very unlikely that you miss a message from a prospect or customer if the chatbot is interacting with them. You can keep your messages all in one place including web chat, social media, and SMS. This is yet another great way to show you care about what your potential customers think and have to say.

This will go a very long way in establishing that trust that has become all-important to the sales process.

Plug the Leaks

It is common to have some problems with your sales funnel. That is exactly why this article was written.

No one, and no funnel, is perfect.

One problem that is not discussed as often as perhaps it should be is how do companies replace those leads that fall out of the funnel before making it all the way to the end?

How do they plug the leaks?

No matter how well prepared you are or how hard you may work, not every lead is the right fit for your sales funnel or your company. It is not uncommon for leads to fall out from time to time for a variety of reasons. That, in and of itself, is not a problem.

It only becomes a problem if those leads are not replaced.

It is simple math. If more people exit your funnel than enter it, you will have fewer and fewer people getting to the end of your funnel and eventually, the entire thing will just dry up and go away.

This problem can be solved as long as you recognize that it is happening in the first place and that you have a plan to fix it. You should always be aware of what your site and your content look like.

Is it attractive? Does it catch your attention? Would you post and share it on your personal social media pages?

If the answer is yes, you're in good shape.

If the answer is no, make whatever changes are necessary until the answer is a resounding yes.

Another thing to do in order to plug the leaks is to leverage your paid as well as your unpaid media.

Make sure you are getting the most out of every bit of coverage, advertising, and any other public mentions you are getting so more and more people will have the opportunity to hear and see just how good you are.
lead generation infographic

Conclusion

Business is not easy.

It takes a lot of work and a lot of commitment from everyone within your organization to make it succeed. Building a proper sales funnel is one of the best ways to ensure you are keeping tabs on everything from the very start of the sales process.

Challenges will always arise no matter how hard you try and keep them from showing up. Remember that it will never be the challenges that will define you, but how you handle and ultimately overcome those challenges will.

Build and monitor a strong, reliable, and fluid sales funnel and you will see the outcomes you are hoping to achieve.

Get in touch with us if you're looking for help to reach all of your sales goals.
Post by Rob Janicke.
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