5 Reasons Why Your Sales Funnel Isn’t Working (And How to Fix It)

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Written By Kas Szatylowicz

Closing sales is the backbone of your business’s success.

To survive and thrive on the market, you have to bring in the profits however, building an optimized sales funnel isn’t easy as it looks. 

Just look at Hubspot’s 2019 sales funnel statistics roundup:

“40 percent of salespeople say that sales prospecting is the most challenging part of the sales process, while 36 percent struggle with closing sales and qualifying leads”

As you can imagine, there are plenty of factors that can cause your funnel to be very leaky.

That is why in this article we will take a look at the five most common reasons why your sales funnel isn’t working and what you can do to fix it.

Ready? Let’s dive in!

1. You didn’t define your target audience 

If you don’t know who your ideal customer is, you are most likely targeting the wrong crowd. Some businesses go the opposite way and try to reach everybody at once. 

But there is a saying in marketing – “If you’re trying to reach everyone, you’re not reaching anyone.”

Feel like it might be your case? Here is what I recommend you do.  

How to fix it

1. Analyze your product

The first step is to understand what problems are your product or service solving and who would benefit the most from using it. You can do it by finding answers to the following questions:

  • What features would attract my target audience?
  • How do my current consumers use my product? Does it correspond to the product’s intended use?

Make your product analysis active rather than passive. It will help you understand how your target audience makes purchase decisions. 

2. Research the market and competitors

Secondly, it is important to really understand the niche you are operating in, your existing, as well as, your potential customers. 

There are a few ways you can do it.

a) Conduct competitive analysis

Competitive analysis arms you with the knowledge of industry trends and marketing strategies that could work for you. Here is a chart you can use for yours:

5 Reasons Why Your Sales Funnel Isn't Working

b) Send out questionnaires to existing customers

I’ve already mentioned that to fix your sales funnel you need to check how your existing customers are currently using your product. But there is so much more you can get out of it. 

Here is what you can ask them about.

  • Their overall satisfaction with your product
  • How often they use your product
  • What they are dissatisfied with

You can use tools such as SurveyAnyPlace to design functional questionnaires and surveys.

3. Create a buyer persona

All the above-mentioned steps boil down to the final point – creating a buyer personaIf you own a B2B company, here are a few questions to help you define your target audience. 

  • What industry and niche are they in?
  • How many employees does their company have?
  • How much revenue does their company bring a year?

2. Your content marketing and SEO strategy brings poor traffic

You might have heard about SEO optimization before but…

Are you doing it right? 

It is common to see businesses pouring money and time into publishing as much content as possible, without really thinking through their strategy. If you write content that is bringing poor traffic or unqualified leads, your sales funnel is also doomed to fail.

How to fix it

1. Perform keyword research

The first step to creating a solid strategy for your blog is to conduct keyword research. There are multiple ways to approach it and an abundance of tools to choose from. 

Here is what I recommend you do. 

  • Create an extensive list of keywords your audience could be looking for
  • Target long-tail keywords
  • Divide your keywords according to the intent

Manual keyword research can be very time-consuming. Luckily, you can use a few automated keyword research using online SEO optimization tools. 

For example, let’s say you are a college paper writing business, such as Bid4Papers and you are looking for popular topics that you can write about to bring new traffic. Using a tool such as BuzzSumo, you can research trending topics that perform well for your competitors. 

Here is how that looks:

5 Reasons Why Your Sales Funnel Isn't Working

You can also use more advanced SEO tools such as SE Ranking or SEMrush to spy on the best-performing content of your competitors. 

5 Reasons Why Your Sales Funnel Isn't Working

Remember that search intent should be your main priority.

2. Invest in link-building

Once you’ve sorted your keywords and wrote quality, educational content, it is the time to get some valuable backlinks pointing back to it. 

Through link-building, you get links from other web pages to your own website. 

To increase your chances of ranking higher on Google, you need to acquire quality links that basically inform Google that your content is of high value. 

A good idea is to focus on articles that have the potential to convert readers into leads or prospects into paying customers. The more traffic you are able to bring there, the higher the chances of acquiring new clients. 

For example, here are the results of the intentional (white-hat) link-building for an article about WordPress chatbots published by Tidio that eventually resulted in ranking #1 for the main keyword.

5 Reasons Why Your Sales Funnel Isn't Working

You can start your link-building strategy based on the content you already have or dedicate some of your future content specifically to link-building. 

3. Perform regular SEO content audits

If your sales funnel is leaking, it might be because a part of your content is not relevant anymore. How to fix it?

Enter SEO content audits

I recommend you make them a part of your routine. Here is what you need to keep in mind when conducting SEO content audits:

  • Update your content inventory regularly. Every time you create new content, make sure you enter the information on the name, URL, and description, like below in Screaming Frog:

5 Reasons Why Your Sales Funnel Isn't Working

  • Categorize your content. Determine the channels, through which you get your main traffic and monitor content you publish there. 
  • Use a content map to find underperforming content. If some pieces of content have poor performance, you can repurpose them to make them more engaging. 

Always compare your findings with your marketing strategy and your sales reports to see the holes in your sales funnel and get ideas, how to fix them. 

3. Your landing page isn’t optimized for conversions

Are people coming to your page but not taking any action? Well, chances are that your landing page is far from ideal. In fact, your landing page might be putting people off! 

According to WordStream, only 52 percent of businesses and agencies that use landing pages also regularly test them to improve conversion rates. Your landing page is like your business card. To be effective, it needs to be optimized.

Let’s take a look at how you can do it.

How to fix it

1. Adjust copy and add clear CTA

Take a look at the following example of LeadQuizzes landing page:

5 Reasons Why Your Sales Funnel Isn't Working

Source: LeadQuizzes

What do you see here?

  • the copy of this landing page is short and clear
  • it directly addresses the target audience
  • CTA
  • convincing testimonial

From it, we can gather that your landing page should have these components:

2. Strong CTA(s)

Here’s what I recommend you do to create a compelling and engaging CTA:

  • Use a commanding verb that inspires immediate action
  • Include FOMO (fear of missing out)
  • Use numbers

3.  A clear copy

When a person first visits your landing page, how do they know that your product is right for them?

A clear message addressing your target audience, like in the example above, will drive more high-quality leads to your website and increase conversions. 

4.  A testimonial 

Including social proof (such as testimonial) adds credibility to your product. 

You can either include a review from one client or list some of your biggest clients to show off your credibility:

5 Reasons Why Your Sales Funnel Isn't Working

Now, let’s see what it can do for you in terms of improving conversion rates. 

5. Install live chat or chatbots

Studies show that 62 percent of customers are more likely to buy a product if they get answers to their questions in real-time, immediately. 

That is why you might want to consider installing a live chat or chatbots on your website. It will help you slash your response time to mere seconds (and keep your customers satisfied).

Here is how such technology can look like on an eCommerce site like Care Package Depot:

5 Reasons Why Your Sales Funnel Isn't Working

6. Improve page speed and UX design

Low page speed can be the reason why visitors leave your website so fast. It also affects your SEO.

For optimal page speed, you should aim at 0.5-1 seconds on mobile devices and no more than 3 seconds for the desktop version. 

5 Reasons Why Your Sales Funnel Isn't Working

Note: page speed isn’t a stable factor. It can depend on, from the UX design of your landing page to the quality of the internet connection. 

4. You don’t have lead nurturing strategy in place

According to InvespCRO, an established lead nurturing strategy generated 50 percent more sales-ready leads at a 33 percent lower cost. Yet, only 35 percent of marketers report having a lead nurturing strategy in place. 

So if you are not satisfied with your sales funnel, chances are that you are in the other 65 percent of those missing out on the benefits brought to you by lead nurturing. 

How to fix it

1. Invest in email marketing

Email marketing is a must-have in your lead nurturing toolkit. Heard that before but not sure how to make things happen?

Take into account the following points to make email marketing work

a. Segment your leads.

Make sure you know your audience inside out. Qualify and segment your leads in order to build several email funnels.

b. Personalize your emails. 

Make sure to run your email marketing campaigns depending on the individual preferences of your audience’s members. You don’t want to come across as a spammer sharing irrelevant content. Collect the right data and use personalization to turbocharge your email strategy.

c. Make limited-time offers. 

Scarcity is the key. Experiment with running limited-time campaigns for certain products and services to engage your leads and encourage them to take an action.

What is next?

2. Offer loyalty programs

Treat your leads like members of an exclusive club with a loyalty program. It can help your sales funnel. 

As members of your loyalty program, your customers receive exclusive discounts and can enjoy a savings system to receive bonuses. So, introducing a loyalty program pushes your customers further down the sales funnel and converts them into returning clients.

5. You didn’t invest in customer service and success team

Nowadays, purchasing a product and receiving high-quality customer service comes in a bundle deal. Customers dissatisfied with your customer service might immediately dislike and stop using your product. 

Thus, you have the fifth possible reason why your sales funnel is leaking. 

How to fix it

1. Build a high-performing customer success team

There are three main principles that define good customer support team candidates. 

  • They are patient, empathetic, and understand customers’ needs.
  • The follow-up and try to resolve the issues, no matter if the feedback is good or bad. 
  • They closely cooperate with other departments to help address all the inquiries. 

To make your team even more effective, you can also consider investing in sales training

This will ensure that your employees have the necessary skills to move potential customers down the sales funnel (upselling and cross-selling) right after answering their questions. 

2. Improve your onboarding process

Customer onboarding aims at improving a user’s satisfaction with a product. If someone doesn’t know how to use your product, they won’t be interested in paying for it.

Here are some tips to make onboarding smoother:

  • Customize your customer’s experience
  • Involve email marketing for follow-ups and nurturing
  • Train your customer service team to be able to address all issues, including technical ones.

Some brands practice regular 1:1 calls with free trial subscribers to help them make the purchase decision in favor of their product. 

However, if you are still in a startup phase and tight on budget, instead of recording professional product demos or hiring a team for 1:1 calls, you can record a series of simple webinars showcasing your tool.

Key takeaways: How to fix a sales funnel that is not working

Searching for a reason why your sales funnel is leaking might seem like looking for a needle in a haystack. 

I’m not going to lie to you, it will take some time and effort. Start with figuring out your target audience. Otherwise, who are you selling your product to?

Isn’t it? 

Try to check whether your landing page is optimized. Maybe your CTA isn’t encouraging enough. While you’re on it, check the performance of your content marketing strategy. 

Still not it? 

Do you have a lead nurturing strategy in place? You need to guide your leads to help them make the right purchase decision. If not, then the problem must be in your customer service. 

Make sure you invest in improving your customer service team and have a strong customer onboarding process for perfect customer experience. 

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