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In our previous post we wrote that SEO is Big Pile of Crap, in that post we talked about the need to target the right audience, and to turn prospects into leads. We also mentioned funnels briefly. We’re big fans of funnel management here at NorthIQ. Part of our work with our clients is in building a solid digital strategy.

As part of that digital strategy, we talk about the “Buyer’s Journey”, and how you need various touch points during a business relationship before you get the sale.

The number, frequency, and intensity of those touch points can vary based on the product or service, and the price point that you’re working with.

A low priced product may only need one touch point, while a higher priced service may need multiple touch points which explain various benefits of that service.

There are quite a few misconceptions that affect the performance of your funnel management.

For example, for most marketers more is better. However, this mindset often results in lower quality leads.

The mistakes made in funnel management lead to fewer sales and increased efforts of the sales team to find leads, even low-quality ones. Additionally, approximately 71% of online generated leads are squandered.

We crafted a short guide on the biggest misconceptions in funnel management. This post will help you learn how to improve as a marketer by closing more sales.

Myth # 1 – You Don’t Have to Insist or Respond Right Away

To close more sales, you must ensure that you make it easy for your prospects to contact you. You also need to respond to leads faster.

Some potential clients are quite busy and need to find out their the next step immediately. By making them wait, you’re actually sending your leads straight to your competition.

Keep in mind that the average sales rep only contacts leads 2 times, which is simply not enough. Sometimes the inboxes of your potential clients are full. Therefore, before assuming your lead is not interested, check to see if the email you sent was ever opened.

This is why an automated funnel that provides multiple touch points, and multiple pieces of valuable content is important.

Myth #2 – The Marketing and Sales Team Should Work Separately

One of the biggest misconceptions is that the marketing and sales teams should work separately. Both teams have the same goal: to bring more customers. However, the lack of communication can sometimes be an obstacle for both teams.

If the marketing team communicates with the sales team more often, both sides learn more about how to address certain objections.

The sales team can provide feedback for the marketing team on how qualified most of the leads are, as well as the objections and behaviors of clients when contacted by a sales representative.

This type of information is vital because it can detect the pain points of potential customers.

You then need to iterate on your marketing messages, and continually refine your entire lead flow.

Myth #3 – The Shorter the Sales Cycle, the Better

Many marketers try to shorten their sales cycle, spending less time with leads and moving on to find more potential clients.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t change the psychology of the consumer. Leads often take their time analyzing their buying decisions, especially on costly products or services.

The more money is at play, the more you should strive to convince your leads instead of trying to shorten the sales cycle.

This means providing timely, relevant content to your leads as they work their way through the sales cycle.  You will be refining them as suspects, prospects, qualified leads, customers, and eventually repeat customers.

Myth #4 – If a Lead Doesn’t Buy, They Are Lost

One of the biggest misconceptions about funnel management is that once a lead is stuck in a certain stage of the sales funnel, they will never become a client.

The truth is that some clients don’t have the financial resources to buy from you right at the moment. However, that doesn’t mean they won’t have them in the future.

Establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry and continue to nurture your leads, keep regular contacts with them, and engage with them on  a regular basis.

Myth #5 – Your Funnel Ends at a Sale

There are obviously two possible outcomes with a funnel, sale, or no sale.  While a “no” is not necessarily a never, it might just be a “not now”. A sale isn’t the end of the journey either.

Retention is the beginning of a whole other sales funnel, as your customer who has previously purchased from you is now your most likely prospect to buy from you again.

In fact, a new prospect has a 5-20% chance of purchasing from you, while a repeat customer has a 60-70% chance of purchasing from you according to Marketing Metrics.

The White House Office of Consumer Affairs says that on average, a loyal customer is worth up to 10x as much as their initial purchase.

Funnel Management Misconceptions Cost You Clients

The secret to figuring out how to transform more leads into happy clients is understanding their behavior.

Start by understanding that leads often need time to make the buying decision. Make sure to conduct follow-ups in a timely manner, and address all the objections they may have.

One of our most successful tools is lead marketing automation, we’ve posted a couple of articles on the basics of starting an automation program with Mail Chimp, and we will have more articles on this in the future.

In the meantime, get in touch with us through email, or on Twitter @northiq if you want to learn how a Digital Strategy can help you fill your funnel and create a pipeline of hot leads over time.

Brian Garside has been building websites for two decades and has worked on some of the largest websites in Canadian media. He focuses on creating good user experiences and building websites that make their owners money. Brian is certified in blogging and content marketing from Shaw Academy.