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How to Empty Your Sales Funnel With Advanced Marketing Analytics

By John McTigueNov 2, 2011

Sounds like a perverse goal doesn't it? Isn't the role of marketing to fill the sales funnel with qualified sales leads? Well, yes and no. Yes, you need to attract potential buyers, but if you let them languish in the funnel forever, what have you accomplished? Your ability to demonstrate positive inbound marketing ROI depends on your efforts to convert leads into customers and keep them engaged for ongoing purchases. Here's how you can deliver on that responsibility using advanced marketing analytics.

separating the wheat from the chaff in your sales funnel

Finding Wheat Amongst the Chaff

Conventional wisdom in marketing says that if you fill your funnel with reasonably qualified leads, they will eventually find their way to the bottom, like separating the wheat from the chaff, as if gravity has something to do with sales. You can improve throughput by continuously lubricating your funnel with compelling reasons to do business with you via lead nurturing, daily blogs, and social media. That's all very good if you don't mind waiting and you don't mind striking out a high percentage of the time. A much better strategy is to identify the hot spots in your pool of leads and reach out to them individually at just the right time. A great example is the way Amazon.com knows who you are, tracks your buying preferences and sends you suggestions via e-mail or presents them to you when you visit their site. This type of "smarketing" really works, but how do they get it done?

  1. They know who you are - they track you via a cookie from the very first time you buy something or register as a member.
  2. They track everything you do - from buying decisions to searches, favorite categories, time of day, month and year when you buy. They know what you want before you want it, and they remind you at just the right time.
  3. They develop timely responses - they show you a list of what's hot (for you of course), send you an e-mail precisely when history has shown that you are ready to buy something, and they give you sensible opportunities to buy more things just before you submit an order.

Seem Out of Reach for Most B2B and B2C Companies?

Amazon has spent millions of dollars developing their advanced marketing analytics programs and processes, so where does this leave us mere mortals? Amazingly enough, the technology is readily available at a reasonable cost. Fortunately, this is the way technology works. Early adopters, such as Amazon, spend the big bucks developing the ideas and the software and get the early bird rewards. A few years later, however, the technology filters down and becomes mainstream at a small fraction of the original cost. Sort of a Moore's Law thing.

The bottom line is that you can do much of what Amazon does to empty their sales funnel as fast as they fill it up. We use HubSpot's Advanced Marketing Analytics for our own marketing and for clients to reach out and find the most likely buyers throughout the sales funnel, learn how they behave and reach out to them earlier in the process with our compelling reasons. By doing so, we start building stronger relationships earlier in the sales cycle by paying attention to their needs and responding to them quickly and appropriately.

In our next few blog posts, we'll describe in more detail how we do that and give you some specific cases.

Photo Credit: CIMMYT

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The Author

John McTigue

With over 30 years of business and marketing experience, John loves to blog about ideas and trends that challenge inbound marketers and sales and marketing executives. John has a unique way of blending truth with sarcasm and passion with wit. You can connect with John via LinkedIn, Twitter and Google Plus.
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