The Sales funnel enables teams to attract, nurture, and convert leads to generate revenue. It isn’t perfect, however — for a funnel that converts 3% of leads into sales, 97% are still dropping off. In fact, closing more deals and improving the efficiency of the sales funnel is a top priority for sales teams in North America.
Improving sales funnel efficiency comes down to increasing conversion metrics across funnel stages, and most importantly, the ROI (Return on Investment) of the sales funnel.
What’s the ROI of a Sales Funnel?
ROI of the sales funnel is determined by the difference between sales generated at the bottom of the funnel and the cost of acquiring the leads. If the costs of acquiring the leads are high, or the sales generated are low, the ROI of the sales funnel will be low.
An efficient sales funnel generates the most sales revenue while keeping acquisition costs low.
Let’s go over some sales strategies and tactics that will help you increase ROI of your sales funnel and make it more efficient.
Strategies to Optimize Your Sales Funnel for ROI
1. Optimize and scale lead generation
The lead generation process functions by attracting intent-driven leads to your top funnel. If the leads you generate aren’t the right fit for your product or service (i.e they lack intent to buy), they’re more likely to drop off. This will negatively impact your sales funnel conversions and eventually its ROI.
The same holds true for generating fewer leads than needed to convert, or acquiring leads at a higher average cost.
So your lead generation process needs to be optimized to attract the right audience at the right cost. Think of putting out content/messaging that induces intent in your potential leads. Lowering the cost per lead generated comes down to the scalability of your lead generation process.
To scale your lead generation process to attract more leads and lower the cost per lead generated, you need to automate your sales processes. Companies that have embraced automation to generate leads have seen a 77% increase in revenue, and 53% higher conversions to MQLs (Marketing Qualified Leads).
Sales CRMs like Salesforce can be used to automate, track, and scale your lead generation processes and increase your sales funnel ROI.
2. Qualify and interact with your leads earlier
The majority of businesses are too slow to respond and follow up with sales and customer inquiries. 63% of businesses take more than an hour to respond to their customers.
On the other hand, teams that take less than an hour to get back to their customers are 7 times more likely to qualify them as leads.
Lead times hold the key to generating more qualified leads — the quicker you respond, the better your chances to serve them before your competitors.
On both online and offline channels, this can be achieved using sales technology platforms. Tools like Badger Maps can be used to track down and schedule visits with your customers and get to your meetings faster by optimizing travel routes.
Similarly, Sales engagement and automation platforms like SalesHandy can be used to track and follow-up with your leads online. This will help you convert more leads towards the middle of the funnel and ultimately the bottom, increasing revenue and ROI.
3. Get the decision-maker’s attention
In a survey from LinkedIn, it was revealed that executives and finance teams are increasingly involved in the buying process. While these decision-makers might be inaccessible initially, delaying engaging with them till the last minute is likely to stretch things further.
Once you’ve gotten buy-in from your first point of contact, push for an introduction to higher management more likely to own the budget. This will help you move your deal further down the sales funnel quicker, shrinking your sales cycle and increasing your ROI. It will also make the buying process smoother and friction-free for your customers.
Sales tools like Badger can be used for follow-up reminders and in-person check-ins with your leads. Additionally, email tracking and scheduling tools can be used to keep a check on email opens from decision-makers and influencers in a deal.
4. Optimize your nurturing cadence for quick closes
Once you have qualified your leads on the basis of their intent and fit, the next step is to engage with leads that are likely to buy. Just because you have set up an email nurturing sequence doesn’t mean all your leads need to go through it to buy from you. A good number of your leads have already evaluated your products or services before engaging with you.
Research backs this too — 77% of B2B buyers are spending more time researching products, and 53% of that time is spent on search engines.
Upon identifying these leads, they should be closed earlier. Consistent and timely follow-up emails will go a long way in helping you nudge these leads to make a decision. As these leads spend less time in the funnel, they make space for new leads and shorten the sales cycle, resulting in an efficient, growing sales funnel.
5. Optimize the after-sales experience for referrals
After your leads have bought from you, they are likely to judge the purchase decision based on the product’s effectiveness and after-sales experience. A great after-sales experience is all about meeting the buyers’ expectations and over-delivering, by making sure their goals are met and the entire experience is as smooth as possible.
This will ensure your customers are satisfied — which enables them to talk about you. David Jacoby, Managing Director at Sales Readiness Group states customers who are satisfied with your products are the right people to ask for a referral since they’ve had a good experience themselves.
Check-in with your customers frequently and make sure they have everything they need post-purchase to ensure their goals are met.
And when you’re comfortable enough in that relationship, ask for the referral.
6. Re-engage and upsell existing leads
Upselling existing satisfied customers is one of the best ways to improve the ROI of your sales funnel. Since upsells come from existing customers, the effective cost of this new revenue is close to zero. You don’t need to depend on a top-funnel lead generation channel.
Regular check-ins will also give you a chance to learn more about your customers’ growing business needs. Check-in and follow-up with your customers for feedback while looking for upselling opportunities. Apart from that, re-engage with leads that mentioned they’d need you in the future.
These leads are likely to have a better conversion rate, and won’t take long to make a decision either, enabling you to squeeze the most out of your sales funnel.
Qualify, Engage, Close
Your sales funnel can improve significantly by quick optimizations like implementing automation for lead generation and qualification. But once they’re qualified, most of it comes down to personalizing the buying experience by meeting the needs of each individual lead.
You will also always find room to improve the ROI of your sales funnel as market trends are constantly changing, impacting how you interact with your leads.
Nevertheless, improving ROI will always come down to two things — acquiring more intent-rich leads, and doing so cost-effectively.
Mehdi Hussen is the digital marketing manager at SalesHandy, a cold email outreach tool. He is passionate about helping B2B companies achieve organic growth and acquire new customers through data-driven content marketing. Mehdi writes about startup growth, digital marketing strategies, sales email productivity, and remote work. You can follow him on Twitter or connect on LinkedIn.