There are so many things to do when starting a business. When someone is starting a business for the first time, it’s easy to get caught up in doing the work that seems important or is the most fun and creative or is a similar activity as some other business is doing.
But what happens is: Entrepreneurs end up ignoring critical parts of their sales funnel and then wonder why their business is struggling. If you are starting a business, be aware of these top sales funnel mistakes that many entrepreneurs make:
1. A haphazard sales funnel
A good sales funnel is clearly defined and highly efficient at keeping contacts moving through toward a sale. But many sales funnels — especially in new businesses — the sales funnel is haphazard. A few marketing pieces are thrown out there. A sales effort is made from time to time. And a couple of people buy… but many don’t. Fix this by first drawing out your sales funnel before you do any marketing.
2. Insufficient marketing efforts
In a high performance sales funnel, there should be several marketing activities taking place concurrently so that the unaware audience can’t help but discover your company in multiple places and get drawn into your sales funnel. Unfortunately, those who are brand new to business put up ONLY a Facebook page or a Twitter account and wonder why their phone isn’t ringing off the hook. Remember: A funnel is funnel-shaped, partly because you need to cast a wide net at the very beginning.
3. Insufficient sales efforts
Once your target market discovers who you are, they become leads and then they become prospects. But at some point, if your sales funnel is to work the way it’s supposed to, those prospects SHOULD become customers. There needs to be a point of transaction — a “conversion” — in which the prospect agrees that your product or service will solve their problem or fulfill their need and they hand over their hard-earned money. That conversion happens only when you sell (either through person-to-person sales or through copywriting or whatever). But sales is the hardest-to-use tool in your sales funnel toolbox. (In fact, I’ve said in the past that I believe a lack of selling effort is the most common reason for business failure). And compared to marketing, it seems way less fun and creative. (Not true… but it seems that way). Once you’ve put your marketing in place, revisit your sales funnel to make sure that you also have some selling in there too.