The case of the broken sales funnel

I once had a client tell me that digital marketing was a waste of time. His feelings on the subject surprised me, especially because his business involved selling products to a defined region — circumstances ideal for such a promotion.

After a lot of discussion, he agreed to test a small-budget online ad campaign to generate leads for a new and struggling product line. He was having a difficult time hitting his sales goals each month and was considering eliminating the product from his offerings, despite its high profit margins.

I was excited to give digital marketing a shot.

Together, we set up a draft social media advertising campaign and targeted potential customers in his area. We pointed ad clickers to a custom landing page, which we populated with a tracked phone number and form. Then we published the ad campaign and waited for the results.

The calls and form submissions started within the first couple of days. By the end of the first month, he had around 30 quality leads. I was happy with the results considering the small budget. He was happy that it was working. Everything seemed to be running along smoothly.

That is, until we listened to the recorded calls.

The company’s inside sales team had been tasked with answering the campaign’s incoming calls. We learned by listening that, more often than not, the reps were losing sales due to lack of product knowledge and other misinformation. It became clear that digital marketing was not the problem, but training was.

So, we paused the campaign and he jumped into immediate action. He educated the internal sales team on the product, features and benefits, and developed a Q&A and spec sheet for use. When he was confident in the team’s abilities, we turned it on.

Over the next month, he gained another 30 leads. But this time the results were very different. The internal sales team closed the leads and increased sales, exceeding his monthly goal. The product became a profitable endeavor.

We both learned from the experience. He gained respect for the power of digital marketing. I learned that doing a deep dive into the full customer experience can shed light on unexpected areas that might be impeding success.

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