Your Sales Funnel Is Broken. Here’s What You Need To Know!

I’d like you to take a minute and think about the last time you received a call, asking if you were interested in buying a credit card from a bank.

  • Did they know what exactly you were looking for?
  • Did they know why you were looking for a credit card?
  • Did they know the benefits you were looking for?  
  • Did they know that you already got a credit card from the same bank 6 months ago!?

The answer is usually NO.

They simply gave you a call based on one query that you’d posted on a comparison site a few days, months or even worse, years ago. That’s how most B2C inside sales happen, at least in traditional industries!

If you have a savvy marketing team, you’re running multiple campaigns across several channels to acquire leads from. If not, you still can as easily buy leads from lead-gen or performance marketing companies. In either scenario, if you’re in a competitive market, your cost per lead is really high.

Are all teams really spending time sifting through leads, prioritizing the best ones, figuring out when to reach out to them, or to see if they’re even worth reaching out at all? Several founders told me last week that they can’t get over 50% of their leads on the phone and aren’t using other channels such as sms or email that well. That’s half your marketing budget gone down the drain. HALF!

More often than not, there’s a simple set up that has their sales reps tirelessly calling everyone on the list.

The result? A demotivated and ineffective sales team.

The current state of B2C sales is clearly terrible and one of the biggest factors to be blamed is a leaky sales funnel.

So I doubled down on some of the conversations I’ve had with B2C Founders, and the practices their sales teams had been following. Here’s where I’d raise the red flags and I’m sure you’d agree too! A lot of these challenges are faced by growing teams with say 20-30 reps, but surprisingly, sometimes even 150 member teams were doing the same thing.

B2C sales challenges that kill conversions

1. Not knowing enough about the lead or how to reach them

This one’s pretty obvious and yet not taken into consideration by a lot of businesses. When you don’t know something about the person you’re reaching out to, it’s hard to know the best way to approach them, or what to say to them when you do.

Similarly, in a lot of cases, you don’t know enough about the leads you just received. You don’t know for sure if they all qualify to fit your target customer segment. Not knowing anything about your leads puts you in a spot because you don’t know if you should reach out, how you should reach out, and what should you probably be saying when you do.

That’s where lead enrichment comes into play.

Lead enrichment is the process of equipping your sales team with the intelligence to have better conversations with the leads. Which piece of information to add to each lead completely depends on the industry you’re in.

Let me give you an example.

Let’s say that market data suggests that people over the age of 40 are 3x more likely to buy life insurance – so knowing how old someone is, is very useful. If I know I’m selling a credit card to someone, having access to ‘soft-credit-pull’ may be helpful to see if they qualify. If it’s renewal of someone’s auto-insurance, getting motor vehicle records could be useful. If it’s someone renting out their home, it could be a check to see if the title is under their name.

When you start the conversation with a better context of who they are, the leads too appreciate your effort of understanding their needs, bringing them closer to a conversion.

But most importantly, it also helps prioritize your lead buying, and also your sales efforts.

2. Not being able to personalize the outreach

Continuing with the same example.

Not knowing enough about the lead forces you to follow the same plain-vanilla outreach method that you follow with every lead. I prefer being approached with a value proposition on email, before actually getting into a conversation with you. My mom, on the other hand, doesn’t have an email account.

Most B2C sales outreach campaigns have ineffective personalization today. The moment most teams get a lead, they prefer to call them right away. This works when your time-to-contact is really quick, and while this works in competitive markets, not everyone can afford that infrastructure.

Lead enrichment doesn’t just tell you who the person is but also gives you insights into how they can be contacted.

Right from matching the lead to the best of your sales reps, based on their experience and demographics, to what time, message and channel you should be making use of to strike the first conversation, lead enrichment gives you actionable insights to personalize your sales outreach for higher and trackable conversions.

3. Not leveraging an omnichannel outreach strategy

Like my co-founder, Apurv, pointed out in the previous post, if he really isn’t responding to calls at a certain time, why do sales rep keep on trying to reach him at the same time, as opposed to dropping him a message or an email, asking for an appropriate time to have a conversation?

Most B2C sales still lack an omnichannel communication approach. Not a lot of tools offer this in one place or help you orchestrate a ‘playbook’ (in sales parlance).

While a faster turnaround time still matters, cold calls aren’t the only way to reach your leads. Sometimes, an insightful email, an SMS, or even an IVR call on what you offer to address their challenges, at the right time, can get you to have a better conversation with the lead.

When enriching your leads helps to highlight the channels that your prospects may prefer, why not put that data to use? Why not combine calling efforts with other ‘touch-points’?

4. Not having an effective lead qualification system and team in place

Not every business out there has a large sales team. As someone that manages sales teams, I know first hand how difficult it is to find and train the right talent to scale your sales team. Most sales leaders will agree with me.

If sales hours are so precious, then why is it that we are okay with them spending time on aimlessly cold calling leads, trying to establish contactability, and qualifying them?

Having a lead qualification process that moves only interested and sales-ready leads to your team, helps them focus on selling, instead of trying to get in touch with them and understanding if they’re even relevant to your business. They will actually be spending time only engaging those leads that are closer to conversion, driving higher productivity and eventually, more revenue.

A lot of teams don’t even have a clear split between ‘lead-qualifiers’ and ‘sales-reps’. Sales Development Representatives (or SDRs) normally perform this function, especially in B2B sales but this team is rarely found in case of B2C inside sales.

I’ll build on the previous example.

What if, instead of a blanket outreach, the ‘lead-qualification’ team gets in touch with me to better understand what my needs are and where I am in the buying cycle. You’d know if I’m even ready to take the conversation forward or would like to push this out. If I’m interested, that’s when your sales rep gets involved and can focus on driving me to closure.

But that’s not the scenario at the moment for a lot of B2C businesses today that have inside sales teams.

5. Not having the right technology and ability to track performance

Sales and Marketing technology is one of the most well funded, evolved, and competitive segments for SaaS companies.

However, a lot of teams are not equipped with the right set of tools that can not only seamlessly talk to one another, but also track the performance of their outreach campaigns effectively. Most teams keep juggling between multiple tools to manage the entire sales process.

In a typical scenario, the sales and marketing teams use at least one CRM, one appointment scheduler, an email marketing tool, IVR, and whatever their outreach approach requires. While these tools are self-sufficient, they don’t talk to one another, and the sales reps often end up just pulling data from one to another – often, missing out on the important aspects of the conversations.

What they ideally need are platforms that bring the entire sales process on a unified dashboard and prevent the loss of data. At the same time, they should also be able to track the entire outreach performance, highlighting the key metrics that define success. While there are tools that do that, they also come at a really high cost and sometimes, are way outside the budget of mid-sized teams.

6. Not being able to manage sales team productivity

Looking back at the last five challenges, it isn’t surprising that according to the ‘State of Sales’ by Salesforce, a typical sales rep spends only 36% of their time on actual selling. The rest of the time is actually spent ‘trying’ to connect with leads or on administrative tasks.

As a sales leader, this is painful to see. You spend months hiring and training the right reps and effectively take them away from the work they are meant to do! Not only are you making them manage data more than using it, you’re slowly demotivating them and killing their productivity, quarter after quarter.

In the opposite scenario though, a lot of B2C businesses face a challenge in load balancing. With a larger number of leads coming in seasonally, and sometimes even during certain hours of the day, the existing team of reps is under massive pressure to offer a good turnaround time – which is broken between chasing new leads that are still unqualified, following up with leads that had to be rescheduled, and inactive leads that got dropped off at some point.

I was talking to a friend in the real estate space last week and he mentioned that 50% of his leads go untouched because his reps would rather follow up on leads that are fresh because there’s a higher chance of closing them as opposed to even a day old leads.

A lot of us are leaving a lot of money on the table because of this.

Improving B2C inside sales with meaningful conversations

In a consumer-centric world, it is becoming increasingly important for sales teams to focus on having two-way conversations with leads. But, in order to spend more time building relationships and increasing facetime, reps need to spend more time with the customers by selling; and not ‘trying’ to get them to the conversation table.

We’re building a way for teams to leverage technology for qualifying their leads better and getting into conversations that lead to actual selling – all leveraging the data that they haven’t been able to tap into yet.

Interested in knowing some behind the scenes on how we’re addressing the B2C inside sales challenges at SquadVoice?

You can reach out to me by simply clicking here or visiting our website and requesting a demo. We’d love to talk more, understand your challenges, and share learnings!