The two concepts the book is focusing on – the leaky funnel and the buyer’s journey – are tightly related to each other. Many potential buyers start on a journey that could lead them to your solution, yet only a few finish there. Most will get distracted on the way; some will get lured by more promising value propositions; others might give up if the journey looks too challenging, or simply get bored with what you have to offer.
Here are some basic things you can do to keep buyers on track and reduce the funnel’s leakage:
- Clarity: buyers are looking for guidance. If your offer is easy to understand, more buyers will follow your path. Keep your value proposition clear and simple.
- Uniqueness: if your value proposition looks like many others, it is easy for buyers to get confused and hop on a different trail. Make sure your offer is differentiated enough so buyers can evaluate it against the rest of the field.
- Ease: buyers today are busier than ever. In our multitasking world, they embark on many journeys simultaneously. If finding the information they need in order to take the next step is not easy enough, they may choose an easier path. Make it easy for them to find the information they need.
- Frequency: there are many bumps on the road to your solution. If buyers get stuck on one of them for too long, it may be tough to get them back on track. Don’t wait until they ask for more information; offer it to them early and often.
- Ownership: passing all the leads to sales is a sure recipe for a huge funnel leakage. As much as 70-90% of the leads that are passed to sales are never followed up since sales believe they are not worth the time.
- Timeliness: being late is almost as bad as not following up at all. Some research shows that the likelihood of reaching a prospect on a follow-on call goes down by 90% within one week from the initial inquiry.
- Relevance: I don’t have statistics on this one, but this is what happens when a salesperson calls someone that downloaded a white paper and asks if they have an active project and approved budget. If the follow-up call is too aggressive, it fails to match the next logical step in the buyer’s journey. The results can be disastrous, as buyers will not only get lost on their journey but may also tune out any future communication.
- Plan the follow-up as part of each campaign
- Match your follow-up communication to the buyer’s journey
- Dedicate specific resources to do the initial follow-up and screening of leads before they are passed to sales
- Be clear on which leads should be passed to sales
- If you don’t have the bandwidth to follow-up in a timely manner, get outside help