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Plugging the Leaky Funnel: Preventing Lost Marketing Leads


In most businesses, data is passed from marketing to sales in one direction. While this makes for a neat, tidy process, it isn’t necessarily the best way to close leads.

Many strategists argue that sales and marketing should be considered one team, so that data can flow in and out of both of them. Before we look closely at this idea, let’s examine the reasons why uni-directional flow can be so problematic for your funnel.

How Leads are Lost

The word ‘funnel’ can be a misleading term, because it promises a neat flow in one direction. Often, the marketing process is not that straightforward. This is why so many leads lose their way.

There are five key reasons why your business is losing leads. Essentially, all five leaks point to a mismatch between customer behaviour and business process:

  1. Leads get lost, ignored or discarded
  2. They are not scored, or have been scored incorrectly. MarketingSherpa found that 79 per cent of B2B marketers had not established any form of scoring
  3. They are not qualified, and not yet ready to spend
  4. There is a lack of communication, which may make it difficult to understand their position and whether they should be passed to the sales team
  5. They are not re-engaged after a sale. According to MarketingSherpa, 73 per cent have no process for nurturing leads after a sale has taken place

Calling these ‘leaks’ makes the situation sound minor; a small margin of error, perhaps. But according to SiriusDecisions, 70 per cent of the qualified leads that are passed to sales end up being lost.

DemandGen Report predicts that 80 per cent will go on to buy within 24 months – but they may not necessarily buy from you.

Plugging the Leak

Handling the constant flow of consumer enquiries is challenging for any business. But while data is still flowing one way, there will always be missed opportunities. Manual labor only makes control more difficult, because a CRM can only go so far to lighten the load.

Marketing automation helps to prioritise leads that are ready to be passed to the sales team, using algorithms and scoring to automatically trigger the process. This includes automatic scoring, the critical piece of the puzzle that is missing in so many businesses. It factors in the realization that leads enter and exit the funnel in different places.

Automation also lets you track real time developments in the buying cycle. If someone purchases a product, then comes back to make a second purchase, your sales team can respond with relevant information. Sure, they have the CRM already. But they’ll have the customer’s last time of visit, details of the pages they viewed, and the segment they have been assigned.

Armed with all of this new data, they can engage in personal discussion, deliver the right information, and nurture that second sale.

The Next Step

This continuous monitoring, scoring and qualification automation transforms the marketing and sales process. From a fixed, linear and leaky funnel, it becomes a cycle; a way to re-engage, re-market and re-assess from minute to minute.

If you haven’t implemented marketing automation, you might be amazed at the effect it will have on your ROI. Talk to us today about aligning your sales and marketing teams more effectively, using automation to drive efficiency and profit.

Team Position2

October 28, 2015

By Team Position2