The path customers take towards making a purchase is called the sales funnel. While these are often unique for every business, having a smooth ride through any sales funnel increases the number of leads becoming staying customers.
To create and maintain a fluid and effortless path to purchase you must continually assess each stage of your sales funnel – reviewing key metrics at every stage.
Whoa. Now that ^ sounds like A LOT of work for a small business. But it doesn’t have to be.
Here are 3 simple tips to make your small business sales funnel operate “optimally”!
1. Think of ‘Sales Funnel Optimization’ like maintaining city streets for commuters
Conducting necessary roadwork is critical to efficiently move motorists from their starting point to their final destination. Regularly monitoring roads to identify where the largest potholes are on the busiest streets is essential to avoid accidents or traffic jams. Commuters change routes very quickly when they know they will experience driving frustration.
If leads experience similar frustration in your sales funnel - if there is a gap or clog in the process to make a purchase or become a customer - leads could quickly decide, at any point, to take a different route altogether.
We’ve identified some common ‘potholes’ on the ‘streets’ of small businesses. Keeping an eye on these is a great starting point for sales funnel optimization:
- Drops in your average Lead-to-Customer Conversion Rate:
- A ratio that shows on average how many leads turn into paying customers
- Increases to your average Sales Cycle Length:
- Time it takes to convert marketing leads into customers.
- Increases in Shopping Cart Abandonment (eCommerce transactions):
- Visitors who add items to the shopping cart page but leave that page before completing the purchase
2. Keep your roadway (Sales Funnel) clean with good user experience on your website
The middle of the sales funnel is where people evaluate you against other options. Maintaining a well-designed, intuitive website allows for a smooth user experience. This goes a long way in moving leads further along the road to becoming a customer. Good “UX” (user experience) doesn’t have to mean a complete overhaul of your website. Incorporating the following elements can ensure visitors understand exactly what you do and fall in love with your offering:
- Make navigation easy to information directly related to products or services (Don’t hide it behind a mega drop down menu or cloak it in difficult terminology)
- Have landing pages with correct content AND context for each visitor (Regardless of where your leads enter your sales funnel, they don’t want to be confused with unrelated content)
- Reduce friction for users (Lessen wasted clicks, excess pages, false starts, going to the wrong page etc.), as friction causes users to give up.
Poor UX results in visitors leaving your website and dropping out of your sales funnel in frustration, which is the last thing you want.
3. Ensure your roadwork crews (Sales & Marketing Teams) work together
The bottom of the funnel is the decision phase. This is not the time for your prospective customers to veer right or left and drop out of your sales funnel. To ensure leads stay on the road and deals are closed your sales and marketing teams must be aligned. By collaborating and staying mutually informed, both teams can avoid sudden detours that may discourage leads from becoming a customer.
With today’s data driven approach to sales and marketing the teams can easily cooperate to maintain the same message routes to optimize your sales funnel.
You won’t need a massive intervention to make these teams get along, you just need to:
- Use hard numbers to define key stages of your funnel and outline each team’s expectations
When both sides can see the results in collaborating at every stage of the funnel, alignment is the natural outcome.
These three tips serve as building blocks to create a clear and smooth route for leads to become customers; and to maintain and increase your in-depth sales funnel optimization in the future. And when the road is green lit clear sailing, anything is possible – especially more sales for your small business!