Why your lead nurturing funnel is failing

Cape Town, 15 Jun 2017
Read time 6min 10sec

How do you know whether your lead nurturing funnel is succeeding? And, more importantly, how and why do funnels fail?

According to Marketing Sherpa, 79% of marketing leads fail to convert. A separate report by Gleanster meanwhile notes that only 50% of leads are ready to buy. Gleanster also reports that 15-20% of warm but not-quite-there-yet leads will result in converted sales. Some other statistics worth noting include the following:

* Lenskold Group & Pedowitz Group state that six out of 10 survey respondents using marketing automation saw an increase in quantity as well as quality of leads.
* DemandGen Report state that lead nurturing campaigns see 4 to 10 times the response rate of stand-alone campaigns.
* Market2Lead state that nurtured leads have a 23% shorter sales cycle.
* Gartner Research states that lead nurturing can potentially save up to 80% of direct mail budgets, while offering a revenue increase of 10% or more in just six to nine months.

What this means for marketers is that lead nurturing is something that you cannot afford to get wrong. When leads are nurtured through an automated, carefully planned funnel, they have far more chance of converting.

Throughout each stage of the lead cycle, there are many opportunities to reach your intended audience. Often, when lead and sales funnels break, the issue either lies with one or more of the various lead stages. Other times, something as simple as failing to automate your e-mail marketing can ruin even the best laid plans. You may even find that you are trying to automate poor or broken processes. It can take just one leak for the entire funnel to fail. How you reach your audience at every stage is crucial to your success. How you implement your strategies and automate them is also key.

Is it time to fix your lead nurturing funnel?

Wondering how to tell if your lead nurturing funnel is dead in the water? The following warning signs should help you identify any potential weak areas in your overall lead strategy.

* Low e-mail open rates. This is especially important on the first e-mail you send new leads. The first e-mail sent out is by far the most opened e-mail. According to Aweber blogger, Andreas, you can set your sights on a 60% open rate. But you can realistically aim for anything from 17.8% if you are in the marketing and advertising industry, says Smart Insights. If you are getting a far lower open rate on your first e-mail, something is not right. Low open e-mail rates for subsequent e-mails should also be considered, of course. Check your bounce rates, do thorough testing of your e-mail subject lines, and be fully sure that e-mail addresses are correct in your database if your numbers seem lower than they should be. If you are still seeing a low rate, it may be time to make some serious changes to your entire funnel.
* Low clicks to your landing page. If you are getting a high number of leads, but a low number of clicks to your key landing pages, something is definitely wrong. This could be anything from underwhelming content to a lack of calls to action, problems with the link, lack of interest or even a technical issue. The simplest way to check clicks to your landing page is to test, and test again. Try A/B testing different calls to action, consider a content audit to evaluate your mailer wording, and check that you are able to access the page without any difficulty.
* Low sales. A failure to convert leads to make a purchase can be caused by any number of things, including a broken funnel. According to the Annuitas Group, businesses using marketing automation to nurture prospects see a 451% increase in qualified leads, while nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads. Thinking back to those statistics on how many leads are ready to make a sale, how would you rate your lead nurturing efforts in the initial stages? Are you putting leads off with aggressive sales content, e-mailing them too frequently, not e-mailing them enough, using language not suited for each stage of the lead cycle, or even misreading your audience? As the name implies, lead nurturing is about carefully taking people through the funnel. Automating a funnel that is trying to speed things along will end up having the opposite effect.
* Slow lead progress. If leads are slow at any other stage in the funnel, it could also be a sign that something is going wrong. The entire reason to have a funnel in place is to ensure that your marketing automation efforts do not go to waste. If a lead starts out warm, but quickly goes cold, you will have to take a closer look at every stage, as well as the funnel as a whole. As we mentioned above, there are many reasons that leads fizzle out. Getting too sales focused too early in the process can put leads off before they have had a chance to convert. Likewise, not presenting the right offer at the right time can also cause delays or bottlenecks in the entire funnel. This is once again where automation can be so useful. If you have a well-planned lead generation strategy that is backed up by automation, you will be able to reduce the risks of delays between messages, while also keeping your leads interested until they convert.
* High unsubscribe rates. Another sign that something is amiss in your lead nurturing funnel is a high unsubscribe rate. One reason for this to happen is when bad processes are automated. Typos, broken landing page links, segment issues, formatting problems, personalisation failures, Automation is not always to blame for this, however. A GetData study done in 2015 showed some interesting results on why people unsubscribe from e-mails. One of the biggest reason is the volume of e-mails received, with 46.4% of respondents stating that too many e-mails put them off. About 17% of respondents cited spam like e-mails for being the reason they opted out, while 15% found the content irrelevant, 9.1% didn't know what they were signing up for, 7.2% found the content not tailored to their preferences, and 4.3% found that e-mails had too much or too little content.

There is no doubt that lead management can do wonders to help you bring in more sales, reach more people and achieve your goals. Whether you are aiming to boost your downloads, increase sign-ups or simply convert browsing customers into purchasing customers, marketing automation is the most effective way to get the most from your lead strategies.

To learn more about the Grapevine tools that help you get the most from your lead nurturing efforts, simply get in touch today.

Editorial contacts
Grapevine Group San-Marie Smith (+27) 21 702 3333
Have your say
Facebook icon
Youtube play icon