During COVID, a client reached out. They once enjoyed a healthy pipeline, but due to the pandemic leads were stuck. How could we reactivate these and convert them?
Many companies have experienced similar issues and need guidance. If you’re one of them, here are our top four tips for rebooting stalled sales funnel opportunities.
1. Categorise lead types
Not all leads are the same and they don’t all stall for the same reason. However, don’t let this tempt you into developing umpteen categories to classify them. Having fewer categories is easier to manage, and given the time sensitivity of many leads, the quicker you can communicate with them the better.
In this example, our client is a B2B operation, targeting mid-size companies. Its sales cycle runs between three to six months, and the markets it focuses on are the UK, Nordics, Benelux, and DACs. We split their leads into three categories:
- Stalled at negotiation
- Stalled due to COVID
We then agreed the action to be taken, the communication needed and the desired outcome:
Need to re-awaken the lead.
Remind target what you have to offer.
Gather more information on the lead to turn it into a marketing qualified lead so teams are ready to negotiate.
Stalled at negotiation
Understand why the lead stalled.
Tailored follow-up to re-ignite interest.
Help to close sale or push the lead back into the nurture track.
Stalled due to COVID
Understand where leads are in the sales funnel.
Split messaging by company introduction or negotiation.
Help to either close the sale or push the lead back to the start of the nurture track.
2. Map leads to funnel stages
You have your three lead types, now it’s time to map them to the sales funnel. This will really help you understand what prospects want at each stage.
In our client example, our next step was to plot what prospect information sales teams needed to help progress the lead, and then what tactics we could use to get them to share these details. These were our four information stages:
Consideration and research
Company size, vertical, and the role or title of the person making the enquiry.
Their budget, timeframe to purchase, and the authority of the person making the enquiry.
Technical due diligence – checking what you sell is compatible with their systems — and their thoughts on the sales proposal.
Whether the contract was signed or not.
3. Allocate content across sales funnel
Now you must establish the right content to serve at each stage to give prospects what they’re looking for, as well as allowing sales teams to capture the info they want.
Your content’s focus should move from fact-finding to financials the closer prospects get to purchase. It’s also worth focusing efforts on post-sale too to ensure new customers are receiving a good return on investment.
In our client example, we wanted to give sales teams a choice of content to share with a lead, so for each funnel stage they had four to six pieces to pick from. Here were the stages and content types we proposed and helped develop:
Fact-finding: blogs, webinars, partner events, brochures, and datasheets, and customer references.
Third-party validation: case studies, whitepapers, analyst reports, competitor analyses.
Trial and negotiating offers: user group session, free product assessment, money back guarantee, virtual event, second business referral offer.
Compatibility check: system audit, installation support, maintenance offers, future upgrade discounts.
Usage: training sessions, welcome email series, customer aftercare, first 60-days questionnaire.
4. Optimise sales journeys
By this point, you’ll know what your leads look like, the info to gather from them at each stage, and the best content to share. But, for sales teams to be able to manage and chase multiple prospects, the communication flow must be automated.
In our client example, we enabled this through a series of four emails that were sent automatically to the prospect based on how they responded to the previous one. Each email pushed the prospect to a gated landing page for info capture. Prospects who didn’t respond after four emails were disqualified to avoid causing frustration.