The zombies in your sales funnel

The zombies in your sales funnel

Welcome to some Halloween-themed posting. Your sales funnel might be a bad episode of The Walking Dead. Here’s why.

People are eating brains in your sales funnel?

No. Well, not quite. Rather, think of another definition of a zombie: not all there, not interested, checked out, um… undead.

A lot of sales funnels have these “zombies” within them. They are somewhere around middle of funnel. They’ve never bought and never really experienced a desire to buy aside from taking a few calls or periodically responding to emails. They seem to drag their feet often (as that’s how zombies walk).

Bad sales reps/principals — or those desperate for/overly evaluated on quota — move these zombies along in the funnel quarter to quarter.

This makes sense: if they are being judged on the quantity of their funnel in any way, it looks good.

They can even drop this old line: “My funnel is FULL of sales opportunities!”

Eh. In that situation your funnel is FULL of something, and that word also starts with a “S,” but it’s not “sales opportunities.”

Feast on this:

This research found “the odds of making a successful contact with a lead are 100 times greater when a contact attempt occurs within 5 minutes, compared to 30 minutes after the lead was submitted. Similarly, the odds of the lead entering the sales process, or becoming qualified, are 21 times greater when contacted within 5 minutes versus 30 minutes after the lead was submitted.” (Oldroyd, 2007)

That’s about immediate lead contact — more in a second — but similar research has shown that after about 28 days maximum, a lead is essentially becoming worthless.

Speed is often the name of the game, and that’s as true in B2B these days as it always has been in B2C.

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So how do you beat the zombies?

Shove a spike in their head.

By that I mean: drop them out of the funnel. They’re not going to buy. Forget ‘em.

But this creates another problem: now your funnel numbers don’t look as good, right?

Well, the logical thing you need to do is refocus on top-of-funnel.

See how healthy your top-of-funnel is. If it looks good, proceed to that quote above — focus more on your contact speed and getting in front of them. Work on your quick research and scripting and adapting from that.

If your top-of-funnel isn’t healthy, it’s time to work with your marketing or sales development/leadgen side. Traditionally marketing has more responsibility for top-of-funnel in terms of “attraction elements.”

If you hate your marketing team, try to kiss and make up.

That’s not possible?

Get ready for cold-calling, cold-emailing, and the trade show circuit.

Either way, kill the zombies and get back to top-of-funnel with a new batch that won’t become undead in under 30 days.

Happy Halloween!


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