No one likes a leaky B2B sales funnel, or one that’s too dry from the start. If you’re consistently losing deals and not sure what went wrong, it’s time to take a close look at your sales process to find the issue.
There can be several reasons that your team is struggling to produce wins, and the challenges can appear at different stages in your sales funnel. Luckily, there’s a fix for any sales challenge and a way to turn funnel struggles into wins.
Here are a few common sales funnel challenges that frequently plague B2B teams — along with fixes you can apply for a smoother sales process.
Get the guide to B2B sales success during a recession.
1 ) Your Sales Pipeline is Dry
If you don’t have enough new leads regularly entering your B2B sales funnel, you can’t expect significant new business and revenue at the end of the funnel.
One of the biggest reasons for a dry sales pipeline is targeting the wrong customers, or even attempting to target “everyone.” You have to nail down your target audience to bring in leads who are more likely to make their way through the sales funnel.
Fortunately, you have a solid starting point: your existing customer base. Ask how your current customers found out about you, why they chose you over the competition, and whether they would recommend your company to others. If you don’t already collect it, be sure to also ask for demographic data like annual revenue and company size.
You can collect customer data through surveys, 1-on-1 interviews with best-fit customers, and requests for case studies and testimonials. If you go the case study and testimonial routes, you’ll also be able to build up your bank of references to help land future business.
Once you understand why your customers chose you and what they have in common, you can make sure you’re targeting the right audience through your sales and marketing efforts. If you’re still having trouble seeking out leads that match your identified audience, consider working with a sales development partner to find them.
2 ) Lead Qualification is Poor
Once you’re getting better-fit leads in your pipeline, your next step is to make sure they’re marketing qualified — before they’re handed over to sales representatives.
Some indicators that your team is getting on the phone with unqualified leads? Routinely short sales calls that end with swift “no’s,” for starters, or leads with budgets that are nowhere near the costs of your solutions. You may also get leads that ask basic questions about your business — questions they should already know the answer to by the time you’re on the phone.
If these types of issues are coming up during sales calls, then the leads have not been properly nurtured through marketing channels. To fix this, work with the marketing team to institute better lead tracking and scoring, and save calls for high-scoring leads.
Allow leads to learn more about your business through blog posts, webinars, videos, demos, emails, and other resources. This gives them a chance to be informed about your solution, the problems you can solve, and pricing. Qualification like this helps establish if it’s worth moving forward with a call, which saves time for both the lead and your team.
Improving qualification can also prevent being ghosted by a lead further down in the sales funnel, especially when you’re looking to schedule additional, more in-depth sales calls.
3 ) Your Sales Cycle is Too Long
B2B sales cycles are notorious for being long and complex. Most B2B sales will have a minimum of 3 to 5 decision makers. According to HubSpot, the small-to-medium-size business sales cycle is usually around 60 days. For enterprise sales, they’re about six months or longer.
To help shorten the sales cycle, your account executives first will need to find a champion among the decision makers. This should be someone who is excited about the solution, and can share that excitement with others. The decision maker roles can range from IT to security, operations, and more, so the best champion will be someone whose role would receive the biggest positive impact from your solution.
Then, your account executives will need to answer an important question for the champion and other decision-makers: “What’s in it for me?” The prospect cares about how your product or solution will help them, and the account executives need to be prepared to answer that question. A solid answer from the beginning will help align the decision-makers on the value you bring and will allow them to move on to more specific questions more quickly.
Developing a positive relationship with the champion and supporting all decision-makers with clear, prompt answers will also instill more confidence in them toward your business—and help them reach a decision.
4 ) Your Win Rates Are Too Low
Better qualified leads and a shorter sales cycle should lead to more closed deals, right? Not if you’re struggling to differentiate your offer.
The analytics and advice firm Gallup recommends that sales teams experiencing low win rates start to fix the problem by developing a solid understanding of key win themes. They describe key win themes as comprehensive knowledge of a business’s competitive advantage along with the strengths that the business brings during the proposal stage.
Consistent sales enablement sessions are critical to preparing sales reps to share key win themes in a way that’s scalable and repeatable for new business. In these sessions, provide resources and information such as competitive analysis, the language used to describe products and services, and best practices for interacting with customers.
Regular sales enablement training with a focus on key win themes can help close a leaky B2B sales funnel where strong-fit clients are lost due to not understanding what you bring to the table.
5 ) You’re Dropping the Ball with Existing Customers
Once you win customers, it’s time to involve your customer success teams and make sure your new customers are satisfied and still excited about working with you. It’s cheaper to retain or upsell customers than win new ones, and as we shared earlier, your customers are a great wealth of information for helping you target new opportunities.
Work with your customer success team so that they’re knowledgeable of your past engagements with customers in the sales process. You can do this by making sure they have access to CRM data — letting them see lead history and the sales & marketing efforts the customer engaged with. This knowledge transfer will result in a more personalized and seamless customer experience.
Make sure the customer is receiving everything promised to them in the sales process, and keep in contact with them to help make sure they’re solving the problem they initially set out to solve by working with you.
Solving These B2B Sales Funnel Challenges
B2B sales cycles are often long and complex. The challenges lie in bringing in the right leads, making sure they’re qualified to progress down the funnel, and providing them with the right information for them to confidently choose your business.
This process leaves many opportunities for issues to reveal themselves. Addressing those issues quickly and efficiently can be the key to achieving revenue targets and consistently bringing in new business.
In addition to addressing the challenges in your funnel, make sure to provide the necessary attention to your existing customers so that they remain with your company and help you bring in new business by sharing their success stories and testimonials.
Guide: Growing B2B Sales in a Recession
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