Sales

How to stop losing customers in your sales funnel to your competitors

stop losing prospects in your sales funnel to competitors

Are you losing customers in your sales funnel?

Getting prospects into your sales funnel is good. But you shouldn’t stop there because there is another step—you’ve got to keep the prospects in your sales funnel. You can’t afford to keep losing customers in your sales funnel after investing time, money, and other resources on inbound marketing and paid advertising to generate customers. If that’s the case, then your business is probably suffering.

However, you can’t expect to retain every prospective customer in your sales funnel. According to Gleanster, only 50% of marketing leads enter a sales funnel not ready to buy while only 25% are prepared to buy.

However, you have to make efforts to retain the 25% of prospects who are ready to buy — thus, increasing your retention rate is critical if you must trounce the competition.

losing leads in the sales funnel

If you lose customers in your sales funnel, guess where they will go?

Your guess is as good as mine — they will switch to your competitors.

With that being said, here’s how you can stop your leads from leaking out of your sales funnel.

Identify the problem

The first step to solving a problem is to identify it. You should find out exactly what’s causing your prospects to leave your sales funnel.

  • Is it because your sales funnel is too long?
  • Are there some support or information they need that you’re missing?
  • Can you make the process seamless for them?

You’re probably thinking, “How do I figure all of this out?”

Well, the guys at Google are smart marketers. They knew you’d need to track your sales funnel. So they created the “Goal” feature in Google Analytics.

With this feature, you can set the goals you intend to achieve at all levels of your funnel. You’ll also be able to monitor them to know when customers are not meeting the goal and exactly where they are dropping off.

setting goals in google analytics

There might be many reasons that could be stopping your prospects from converting—identifying the exact issue will make it easier for you to fix.

Some of the reasons your customers are not converting and are instead running to your competitors could include:

  • Lack of compelling content
  • Irrelevant content
  • Confusing navigation
  • Inconsistent branding
  • Unclear pricing
  • No clear call-to-action
  • Poor website design
  • Vague descriptions or mixed-messaging

However, here are some things you could do at each stage of the sales funnel to increase your chances of converting more prospects to customers.

Top of the funnel: Attract the right buyers

When your marketing targets the wrong audience, you get the wrong traffic to your landing pages which will result in having low-quality leads or leads that aren’t ready to become paying customers.

If your prospects are leaving your sales funnel towards the top of the sales funnel, it should ring a bell—most of them might not the right customers for your business.

You should have copy that leads them to your landing page — the article, email, etc. Make sure they target and attract people who are interested in your product and your goal should be clearly communicated.

Generating sales leads that are not ready to convert to your sales department will be a complete waste of time and money.

A recent study shows that 40% of an e-commerce store’s revenue is created by 8% of its customers. It’s not about accumulating plenty of leads; it’s about attracting customers that are extremely interested in your product, and are ready to buy.

So what should you do to ensure you’re attracting the right customer?

Evaluate your content and be sure it’s going to reach exactly who you’d want it to.

Are the keywords you’re targeting attracting the customers you need at a particular stage of your sales funnel? What about your distribution channel? Ensure that you are actually marketing to customers who are in need of your product.

Middle of the funnel: Invest in a CRM

If you’ve generated leads and you are not making use of a CRM (Customer Relation Management) to follow up and nurture your them, you’re making a big mistake.

Marketers record a 20% increase in sales from nurtured leads compared to leads that are not nurtured. Another study by MarketingSherpa found that 79% of leads never convert to sales opportunities.

Yes, generating leads is important but managing your leads — qualifying them and converting them to premium customers, is even more profitable for your business.

By using the data from your CRM, you will know the leads that will be profitable to you — and focus your energy on those.

It’s essential that you stay consistent in touch with your customers.

Using a CRM software to manage your leads will also help you to measure and monitor the activities at every stage of the customer’s journey and follow up your leads automatically.

That means you’ll find out where you have bottlenecks and where opportunities exist for you to convert prospects to customers.

A CRM ensures that your sales process are seamless and better. Besides, businesses that use marketing automation to nurture prospects experience a 451% increase in qualified leads, according to a study by The Annuitas Group.

leveraging marketing automation in sales

Find a CRM that works well for your business and use it — it doesn’t have to be an expensive CRM — but a CRM that does what you need to help you make your sales process seamless.

In the end, your business will remain as top-of-mind to your prospects, and they will continue engaging with your business. Even for those who are not ready to buy, whenever they decide to buy—you’ll be a one-stop-shop for them.

Bottom of the funnel: Use a lead scoring process

Lead prioritization is an essential practice that allows you the chance to decide which lead to respond to first. According to InsideSales, 35 – 50% of sales go to the vendor that responds first.

Several studies also show that an immediate response to leads and being persistent with lead follow up results to a 341% lift in sales.

first response times influence sales

The bitter truth is if you’re not tracking your leads, you’ll be wasting your hard-earned dollars chasing the wrong leads. The bottom of the sales funnel is where you have to close the leads — a crucial stage, and the worst stage to lose your customers.

You should use tools that allow you to score your leads effectively of which an automated CRM is one.

Here is a valuable diagram of a lead prioritization model from Inside Sales.

Lead prioritization model

Conclusion

You spend a lot of money to generate customers, losing them to your competitors before they become premium customers is painful. Integrating these strategies into your sale funnel will, to a large extent, help you generate more paying customers.

Beyond these tips, it’s critical to make sure you and your sales team are organizing all collateral in a way that sets you up for success. With DocSend, you’ll be able to share sales collateral with prospects and clients while getting real-time, actionable, feedback on document engagement, so you can be in full control of your business outcome. Say goodbye to email attachments once and for all, and click here to get started with a free trial of DocSend!

About the author

Ryan Gould is the Vice President of Strategy and Marketing Services at Elevation Marketing, a B2B marketing agency. Ryan helps medium and large brands improve sales and market share by developing integrated marketing experiences distinguished by research, storytelling, engagement and conversion.

 

Sales

Does copywriting matter when it comes to sealing the deal?

sales-copywriting-techniques

Value propositions. If you trusted the insight of middle-management types, you’d probably end up believing that value propositions are all that matter, as if consumers made all their decisions through a consistent and rational process of worth assessment.

They don’t, of course. The reasons behind our purchasing decisions are quite varied, often intrinsically emotional, and colored by many different factors. And no amount of dry “Product X is technically superior to Product Y” statements can match the rhetorical power of arguments that take our irrational complexity into consideration.

So is copywriting the answer when it comes to the crunch at the end of the sales funnel? Does good copy have the power to push the hesitant user over the line, or does it actually not matter that much? Yes, yes, and no… but let’s see specifically why.

Some words work like magic

‘Imagine that you could instantly earn new sales, for free, and all because of one overlooked tactic— wouldn’t you do it? Our zero-cost copywriting course gives you the secret to talking someone into buying anything you want to sell.’

I just made rather contrived use of a bunch of words that have been found to convince people and raise conversion rates. Let’s run through them:

  • Imagine.
    • We like imagining things, and we don’t see it as effort – in fact, it’s a nice wistful break from the daily grind. Unless you ask us to imagine something really, really horrible, we’ll do it.
  • You.
    • Yes, you, in particular. We want to feel that things are about us. Each one of us is the centre of their world, after all. Why wouldn’t copywriters be talking to us? We’re special!
  • Instantly.
    • Not later. Not even soon. Right away. No delay. We don’t want to wait, we want results now. If you can make that happen, we’re absolutely sold.
  • New.
    • We’re done with the old, the familiar, the played-out. We want the unknown. The innovations that are so much better than what we’ve seen before.
  • Free.
    • The magic word. There goes all our resistance or skepticism. It’s free! What reason is there not to try something free? It’s basically like cheating at life.
  • Because.
    • It’s not generally enough to tell us what will happen. We want to know why, even if only at a basic level. We want to know that results will be consistent.

What if I’d said something like this instead:

‘You can get new sales today with an easy tactic. It’s really simple. Join our complimentary sales course to learn how to use it.’

Comparing the two, doesn’t that lack a ton of punch? I need to join a course? I need to learn? That sounds inconvenient. The first one said I’d be given the secret, which didn’t sound like it would require all that much effort on my part.

Either way, we’re offering a free sales course to quickly produce a boost in sales, but the packaging is wildly different, and so is the effect. This is a big reminder that storytelling is extremely important.

Email marketing stats prove it

If you’re looking for direct and inarguable proof that copy can affect our decisions, look no further than email marketing. Something as seemingly-unimportant as the phrasing of a subject line can have a massive difference on the success of an email, and the stats show it clearly.

Personalize an email title and the open rate will go up by 26%. That’s it, the only difference. Adding a name. And mentioning ‘yesterday’ or ‘tomorrow’ will double your chance of having an email opened relative to bringing up ‘today’. We don’t even need to know why it makes a difference to simply acknowledge that it does.

You can try it for yourself easily enough. If you set up some automated email triggers though a marketing suite like Moosend, you can configure some easy A/B testing and see first-hand how the results vary. You’ll probably be quite surprised by how unexpected some of the results are.

Sales copywriting is about more than phrasing

Having established very clearly that wording by itself has an effect, we can now address the really significant stuff when it comes to last-minute checkout cold feet: minimizing the negatives, maximizing the positives, and finding the perfect points to get sales done and dusted.

After all, copy isn’t just about phrasing. It’s about choosing what features to mention, and what angles to take, and how to position information in the most persuasive way. And this becomes incredibly important when someone is struggling to decide if they really want to finalize their order.

Take things like money-back guarantees and easy return policies, for instance. They can be plastered all over store homepages, but that doesn’t mean people will really take notice of them, so there’s every chance that someone could get right to the final stages of making a purchase without actually seeing them.

If you state them once more, very clearly, on the checkout screen, you’ll make sure they have that all-important reassurance at the most vital moment. Nearly 20% of 1200 cart-abandoners in one study cited reasons involving the site lacking information, so clearly the basic site details only get more significant right at the end of the sales funnel.

So, does copywriting matter when it comes to sealing the deal? Enormously so. The stats show it, both for the phrasing you use and the information you do (or do not) provide.

If your sales funnel keeps losing sales at the very end, give a good deal of thought to your copy, and make sure you’re doing everything you can to make completion of an order the easiest and best option.

Beyond copy, it’s critical to make sure you and your sales team are organizing all collateral in a way that sets you up for success. With DocSend, you’ll be able to share sales collateral with prospects and clients while getting real-time, actionable, feedback on document engagement, so you can be in full control of your business outcome. Say goodbye to email attachments once and for all, and click here to get started with a free trial of DocSend!

About the author

Victoria Greene is an ecommerce marketing expert and freelance writer who’s backed out of her share of orders because of questionable checkouts. You can read more of her work at her blog Victoria Ecommerce.

Sales

10 deadly email prospecting mistakes you might be making

10 deadly sales prospecting mistakes

In today’s world, email is the most important and often most successful method for selling and marketing your product, even more so than PPC campaigns and social media. And, it makes sense that when it comes to sales prospecting, email continues to be the method of choice.

This is because, unlike other channels, sending an email provides you with a direct connection with your prospect. You have so many more opportunities to personalize your message and initiate a meaningful conversation.

However, the explosion in the sheer number of prospecting emails sent each day means that writing has become a very important skill in sales – and a skill we’re all going to need to harness.

That’s easier said than done, though. But, don’t worry; below, we’ll walk you through the top ten mistakes sales reps make when sending prospecting emails and what you can do to make sure your email is perfect every time you press ‘Send’.

1. Sending the right message to the wrong person

It really does not matter how well an email is composed nor how persuasive its content is if it goes to the wrong person. Ensure the contact you’re emailing is someone that can influence the buying process, or, even better, make the purchase.  Remember, a little research into the company you’re contacting can go a long way.

Pro-Tip: Check that you have spelled the recipient’s name correctly in the body of the email. It’s an easy mistake to make, and turn your prospect off before they even start reading!

2. Using hefty subject lines

There is no doubt that prospecting emails need catchy, eye-grabbing subject lines. It doesn’t, however, need a subject line that goes on and on and on! In fact, the longer your the subject line, the more likely it ends up in the trash.

Not to mention, if you put ‘all your eggs in one basket,’ what will you have left to say in the rest of the email? Think of it this way: The subject line of your email is like the headline of an article. If the headline isn’t captivating or engaging enough, there’s no way your prospect will read the rest of the content.

“If you’re unsure of whether your subject line encaptures the rest of your email, ask a colleague to help,” explains Jennifer Hernandez, an Email Newsletter Manager at Bestaustralianwriters. “Firstly, ask if they would open the email if you sent it to them. Secondly, have them read the email to ensure that your subject line optimally describes the content of the rest of your email.”

3. Not being personal in an impersonal world

As we mentioned above, most business communications that are sent out (especially in bulk) have no personal feel to them at all. And fixing this is not as simple as just addressing a person or business by name in the body of your sales prospecting email.

If you really want to personalize your emails, you should be doing a variety of the following:

  • Mention their name more than once at the beginning of the email.
  • Use their company in a way that shows you know who they are.
  • Reference some of their customers in a way that shows you know what they do.
  • Attach blog posts, articles, or other content that are relevant to your email.

personalized sales prospecting email

With all this mind, it might be worth ditching bulk emails altogether. Think about it: If you’re sending out 100 bulk emails and only getting a few replies, wouldn’t it be far more beneficial to work on personalized prospecting emails that are far more likely to generate a response?

4. Sounding too much like you are trying to sell something

Have you ever noticed that, when salespeople approach you on the street or cold call you, they start off on a personal note? “Hi, how are you?”, “My names Joe Bloggs” and “Hello, I hope you’re having a good day?” are all familiar lines. This is because they know that jumping straight into a sales pitch will turn off their potential customers.

The ‘rules’ for a successful sales prospecting email are no different. Jump in sounding like a salesperson and more than likely you’ll never receive a reply. On the other hand, back off a little with the sales pitch and build a relationship like you would with someone in real life and your chances of success increase.

Lorri Casper, a Sales Team Leader at Assignment help, says, “Talk about their business a little, ask questions about what they need and come across as a human. This will help you gain a much greater understanding of the individual’s and business’s needs, giving you all the information you need to make a far more effective pitch.”

5. Making it all about you, not them

The goal of any good sales prospecting email is always going to be to gain more business for your company. However, to do that, you need to make your prospects feel you have contacted them for their benefit by making the email all about them.

That doesn’t mean you can’t talk about how you and your business can help with your prospective customer’s needs or how you can help alleviate any problems they’re experiencing. But, it does mean that you shouldn’t make the email a biography of your company.

Prospecting the account's objectives
Pro-Tip: Thoroughly research the company you are approaching! This should help you build up a comprehensive image of your prospect and how they go about their business. A smart salesperson should be able to analyze their prospect’s business model and identify any potential areas where his or her own company can provide a beneficial service or product.

6. Using long sentences and never-ending paragraphs

The majority of people who receive and open unsolicited email will only scan it for the bits that interest them. This is very hard to do, though, when the sentences are lengthy, and the text is in big blocks.

Keep your sentences short and concise, and do not be afraid to hit the ‘return’ key and create more paragraphs. The easier it is to scan, the more likely your prospect is to read it.

Consider this post as an example. Chances are that you haven’t read all the content of this article. More likely than not, you’ve simply scanned the headlines to find the bits that you’re interested in reading. Can you imagine if this article was just one big block of continuous text? I bet you’d see the overwhelming amount of content and move onto a different page.

The same concept applies to your emails.

Pro-Tip: If you often write long sentences or paragraphs, there are applications to help. Some will count the number of words in your sentences and others will edit them. If you need them, use them! As we have above, you can use bold text in your content to highlight certain key points that you want your reader to see.

7. Adding more information when it’s all just too much

By sending your email, you are hoping to gain more business for your company. By reading your email, your prospective client is hoping to get all the information they need and quickly. More detailed discussion can be left for once you have sparked an interest.

The only business information you should include in this first email is:

  • The reason you are contacting them
  • What you can do for them
  • A hook line (more on this to  follow)

Pro- Tip: Seven sentences will cover all the above and maybe just five, if you’re clever and concise. If it ends up being over eight, you’re going to need to revise your content. Remember that many people reading their emails will be browsing through their inbox trying to find the content that’s relevant and important to them. They’re not going to want to stop and read emails that are thousands of words long.

8. Not investing in a hook, line, and sinker

The hook line is all about garnering a reply to your initial communication. Very simply, they tell your potential client what to do next if they are interested in finding out more about you.

Keep your hook lines simple to make it easy for your client to understand their next move. Try saying something like “Let me know if you’d like to discuss this further” or “Do you have 15 minutes to chat next week? ”

hook line sales prospecting

9. Becoming an annoyance

This consideration should go without saying, but it’s essential that you don’t fall into this trap. Annoying the recipient of your email is never a good idea.

Unfortunately, it is entirely possible to annoy someone without even knowing we are doing it. To avoid this, make sure your email is valuable to the recipient by being clear and concise.

Pro-Tip: If you are worried that your emails may not be received well or are ineffective, you can always use an app that will tell you whether or not:

10. Making these unforgivable errors

Last, but certainly not least, on this list of sins committed when writing sales prospective emails is not using all the tools available to ensure that your content is perfect. There is, after all, no excuse for bad grammar or formatting not proofreading and editing and failing to do these things will only result in a lost sale.

After all, would you invest in the services of a company who have emailed you with content that is riddled with mistakes, typos, poor grammar, and misplaced punctuation?

Luckily, there are tools out there that can help. My favorites include:

In conclusion

As you can see, there are many elements of a sales prospecting email that you need to consider to maximize your opportunities for generating a sale.

By creating personalized emails that are superior in their accuracy and puts the customer first in every sentence, you’ll create a reading experience that your prospects won’t be able to resist, and, of course, generate a far more effective channel of revenue for your business.

Beyond these tips, it’s critical to make sure you and your sales team are organizing all collateral in a way that sets you up for success. With DocSend, you’ll be able to share sales collateral with prospects and clients while getting real-time, actionable, feedback on document engagement, so you can be in full control of your business outcome. Say goodbye to email attachments once and for all, and click here to get started with a free trial of DocSend!

About the author

Freddie Tubbs is a sales strategist at Bigassignments. He works as a business writer at Paperfellows and is a contributing author at The Atlantic and Australian help online blog.

Sales

7 signs your organization needs a sales enablement strategy

7 signs your organization needs a sales enablement strategy

Sales enablement is a rapidly growing trend, with the potential to significantly transform business results for the better.

Yet, some business leaders continue to resist the trend, while others remain unsure of the ways in which a sales enablement initiative can benefit their organization.

In this article, we look at seven of the biggest signs that show that your sales organization could benefit from implementing a sales enablement strategy – and explain how and why sales enablement can help.

1. Below Average Quota Attainment

The most recent Sales Enablement Optimization Study from CSO Insights revealed that sales enablement has the ability to increase quota attainment, especially when it is formalized. If you’re seeing below average quota attainment, it’s time to consider how enablement could help.

The study found that, on average, only 57.7% of salespeople hit quota. In contrast, when companies deploy a formal enablement strategy or vision, 61.9% of salespeople achieve quota. This figure rises to 73.6% percent in businesses that create a formal charter or manifesto — that’s a  27.6% improvement over the average sales organization today.

2. Long Sales Ramp-Up Times

In a previous study, CSO Insights found that average ramp-up times – meaning the time taken to get new hires up to full productivity – have increased significantly. In 2016, 60.7% of companies had an average ramp-up time of  7 months or more, compared to just 40.2% of companies back in 2003.

It’s no secret that onboarding is one of the most important aspects of sales training, and improving sales training outcomes is one of the key goals of any sales enablement strategy. If your average ramp-up time is too long, look to sales enablement as a means of improving your onboarding program.

3. Reps Struggling to Find Content

Another key sign that sales enablement could benefit your business is if you notice that sales reps are struggling to find relevant sales content, or even worse, spending too much of their selling time on creating their own content. An aligned enablement strategy ensures that marketing and sales work together to improve sales efficiency.

“The very first thing CMOs and other marketing leaders need do is get all their content into one place,” said DocSend’s CEO Russ Heddleston in an interview with MarTech Series. “Having a central library ensures that sellers can easily find and share approved content and that marketers can see what’s being used and by whom.”

4. Issues Related to Productivity

In the same study, CSO Insights found that salespeople spend an average of 35.9% of their time selling, with the remainder of their time being taken up by administrative tasks. This is one of the primary reasons why many sales organizations experience low productivity.

Sales enablement can boost productivity in a number of ways, from improving product knowledge to ensuring sales reps spend more time on sales and less time on other activities. In fact, simplifying sales processes through automation and the use of CRM technology can increase productivity by 32%, according to Salesforce.

5. Lack of Sales Coaching

A high-quality sales training program needs to be reinforced through coaching. Yet, according to CSO Insights’ 2017 Sales Manager Enablement Report, 67% of sales managers spend less than one hour per week on coaching activity, and almost half spend less than 30 minutes on coaching skills and behaviors.

This is another important indicator that sales enablement is required. Sales managers, in particular, need to have a formalized sales coaching strategy and be allocated time every week to spend on coaching activities.

6. Staff Not Using New Tools

Breaking existing sales habits can be a challenge, but when significant money is being invested in new technology and staff aren’t using them, it can also be extremely frustrating.

Fortunately, sales enablement can help by ensuring everyone is on the same page. Through a comprehensive sales enablement strategy, you can also introduce training that focuses on how to use new technology, and then follow up during coaching, in order to make sure the technology is being used properly.

7. Revenue Goals Not Being Met

Finally, that same Sales Enablement Optimization Study from CSO Insights found that increasing revenue is the number one business goal for sales leaders. And we all know that failing to meet these revenue goals is a clear indicator that serious change is required.

By investing in a sales enablement initiative, formalizing it, creating an enablement charter and aligning all departments, sales organizations can better equip their salespeople to close deals and deliver on revenue goals and objectives.

About the author

Monika Götzmann is the EMEA Marketing Director of Miller Heiman Group, a global leader in business performance solutions, helping organizations to develop and implement effective sales development strategies.