In the last 4 years, I’ve seen a lot of marketing and sales funnels. Initially, I found the process of analyzing them paralyzing and overwhelming. Often, mentees ask me how they should approach this problem and after writing similar emails describing the process dozens of times I’ve decided to write it down here, in part so that I can link out to it, but hopefully so it provides value to you as well.
This is the process I follow with every client and every project I work on, and I’ve gotten to the point where its become a force of habit. Much like exercise, healthy eating, productive relationships, work ethics, and all good habits people form, I’ve come to take its value for granted.
Phase 1: Understanding the Current State
The first phase of a marketing and sales audit is to get an in depth understanding of what a business does, how it performs its functions, and why things work the way they do. This is formed with a combination of data and interviews. Often, businesses don’t have enough data to paint a full picture, and even if they do its impossible to understand data without an explanation.
Diving deep into the CRM and Marketing System to understand the customer journey, how people came into the funnel, what actions they took, and what the timeline of these actions were is critical. This is usually gatherable entirely by data, but I find creating some visualizations of what this looks like to be extremely helpful for guiding the interview conversations with key personnel. By assessing the lifecycle of a customer, we can begin to see how we win.
Second, we want to start to map out the lead lifecycle. The goal of this process is to graph out a present state of the business. The best way to go about this is to interview people at every level of the org. The best place to start is the demand gen marketing folks that are driving leads at the top of the funnel. Some great questions to ask these people to begin understanding the process are below.
What are our lead channels? Where do our leads come from?
What % of our leads are qualified? How do we define qualified today?
When is a lead handed off to Sales? How does Sales know it’s ready to be handed off?
Once you have a good understanding of how the Marketing funnel works, it’s time to talk to the sales reps. The best method I’ve found to gather this information is literally sit next to the reps as they do their every day jobs and bombard them with questions. As people, we often undervalue the importance of the minute details that make up our day to day lives, and unless you sit next to a rep and ask them why they clicked a certain screen in their CRM, where they got the email template they’re sending, or how they know the guy next to them reached out to the prospect last week, you will probably miss out on these details. Shadow the rep and interrogate them to understand every possible avenue that a prospect can move through.
Sales reps are the most acquainted personnel in a business, and often are able to surfance nuances to the customer journey that senior management or any other higher level visibility individual simply can’t provide. Asking them what happens when people don’t show up to calls, when opportunities are lost, when prospects never sign the contract, and other “fall out of funnel” questions can help drill down into the weakest parts of the process.
When you have your understanding of the sales journey, you will want to repeat your steps with Account Management, onboarding, and any other resource that touches prospects on their path to being a customer. Detailed notes from each interaction are key, and shadowing always gets better information than asking questions outside of the front lines.