Do you ever feel like your sales pipeline has more holes in it than Swiss cheese? You’re not alone. Every successful sales team experiences occasional revenue leakage, but it can be hard to pinpoint exactly where the issue lies.
To help bolster your pipeline, I’ve identified seven common causes of leaky pipelines, such as manual processes and an incomplete customer journey, and tactics for fixing them. The solutions are designed to prevent potential customers from slipping through the cracks. So you can stop wasting time, focus your sales efforts on recurring revenue and show your chief revenue officer you know how to prevent revenue leakage so well that they’ll call you the sales plumber, like Mario.
Understanding revenue leakage
Revenue leakage is the loss of potential or actual revenue due to inefficiencies, errors, or mismanagement in a sales funnel or process. While “revenue leakage” is one term, salespeople can also refer to it as a “leaky sales funnel.”
For more in-depth information on revenue leakage, please refer to this post.
However, the leaky sales funnel doesn’t just affect the sales process. The entire revenue team, including marketing and customer success teams, is impacted by a leaky sales funnel, as it can impact customer churn and lifetime customer value in the long run.
What causes my pipeline to leak and what can I do?
Revenue leakage occurs when sales opportunities are overlooked or not followed up on, customer data is not tracked properly, and communication between departments is unclear. It also occurs when leads aren’t qualified correctly and there isn’t an effective nurturing program in place.
Other factors failing to leverage social media platforms like LinkedIn for sales outreach can be a major cause of the leaks in the sales funnel. By recognizing these common causes of the leaks, businesses can take steps to ensure their pipeline remains strong and profitable. Let’s break them down:
1. Poor Processes
Poor processes in sales and marketing efforts cause revenue leakage instantaneously
Poor sales and marketing processes can have a dramatic effect on the sales funnel. Without proper lead qualification, follow-up, communication, technology utilization, referral management, network leveraging and data tracking processes, it is difficult to identify where problems may exist.
A Revenue Operations team provides structure
Having a revenue operations model aligns sales and marketing efforts and results in sales and marketing effectiveness. However, my businesses don’t have RevOps teams yet. If your company doesn’t have a RevOps team, you can still take a RevOps approach to plug revenue leaks.
Start analyzing your sales productivity, and see what you can control. A revenue intelligence tool like Revenue Grid can give you full visibility into your sales pipeline. It will allow you to use AI-based Signals and comprehensive customer data to determine what actions to take to impact your revenue. You can also use it to detect gaps in your revenue generation process by analyzing current and historical data with AI before they turn into leaks.
Create a daily, weekly, and monthly schedule of events you monitor. I like using a process I created called the COMMI$H 5 that incorporates personalized videos and emails into my daily workflow. It has increased my sales revenue significantly while giving my prospective customer a different vibe to outreach.
2. Failing to prioritize leads
Failing to prioritize leads is one of the most common causes of revenue leakage in a sales funnel
When businesses don’t properly assess and prioritize their leads, they risk missing out on opportunities with key customers and losing out on potential deals.
Often called “lead scoring,” prioritizing leads within a marketing automation platform is a key part of a marketing funnel. When revenue teams don’t prioritize lead scoring in their marketing strategies, it affects the number of customers and the overall revenue.
Create your own prioritization of leads within your personal sales process
It can be frustrating if your company’s marketing efforts don’t include lead prioritization or lead scoring as part of the customer acquisition strategy. One way you can manage this yourself or within your sales team is to gamify lead activity.
Assign points based on what action that lead took. For example, if prospects who listened to a webinar convert more than those who downloaded a whitepaper, prioritize your outreach to them first.
3. Not Tracking Data Correctly (or at all)
Not tracking data correctly or at all is a major cause of a leaky sales funnel
A best practice in revenue operations is tracking the right data. Without proper customer data tracking, businesses can miss out on important insights that could help them better understand their customers’ needs and make more informed decisions about how to target the right buyers. It also ultimately impacts customer success.
Without accurate and up-to-date customer information, companies may not be able to effectively follow up with prospects or nurture leads through the buyer’s journey with their website content or on landing pages. Poor data can lead to fewer qualified leads entering the pipeline and impact revenue growth.
Clean your room
Dirty data never turned anyone into a customer. To avoid potential leaks, update your CRM at every step of the revenue journey. If you see inaccurate data in the CRM, clean it up. Having the correct data helps you focus on closing deals.
Revenue teams are impacted by customer churn, and we all know churn happens if there’s a lack of customer success with your product. Keep your data clean. Input the right information. Even if you don’t have a revenue operations team to keep you honest, make it a habit to clean your room (aka CRM) daily.
You can use the power of automation for data integrity. Using Revenue Grid, you can automatically capture all sales activities and data from different communication tools and save them to CRM. This ensures up-to-date and complete data in your CRM without burdensome manual data entry.
4. Lack of Lead Nurturing Strategies
Failing to have an effective lead nurturing program in place can be a major contributor to the sales pipeline leaks
Failure to follow up properly can lead to a significant revenue leak. Without such a process, opportunities with key customers may be overlooked or not followed up promptly. Lack of lead nurturing prevents prospects from receiving necessary follow-up communication or the relevant information they need to move forward with your company.
Stop complaining about marketing and join in on the customer journey
Marketing departments are not the only part of the revenue team that should implement a nurture strategy. Good salespeople know they must follow up with a prospective customer during the sales process, but often they don’t think about “marketing” to their prospects in other ways.
Send a brief weekly email to your prospects and paying customers. You can include industry data, news about your company, a case study, or a cool video you recently watched.
Talk about business leaders or best practices that focus on your prospective customer – something you found cool or think would increase customer engagement. It sets you apart from your competition.
5. Overlooking referral and partner opportunities for leads
Neglecting to explore referral and partner opportunities for potential leads can significantly impact sales pipelines that are already leaky
A key part of revenue growth is tapping into referral and partner opportunities. Failing to leverage referrals or partnerships with other companies doesn’t necessarily cause a broken sales funnel, but it does impact revenue growth, revenue operations and customer experience.
Referrals often come with an implied stamp of approval so that they can speed up deal velocity and result in increased revenue. Many businesses lead with partnerships to get data on potential customers or create new revenue opportunities. Failing to do that within their sales operations impacts revenue streams and prevents sales teams from being on the same page quickly with their ideal customer.
Build your own referral and partner network to increase revenue
Start networking with other sales reps at companies that have similar ICPs. Most businesses would never attribute revenue or a new customer to a virtual happy hour, but the reality is that salespeople talk. If someone sends you a prospective customer, send them a gift card to Uber Eats so they can have lunch on you. A $30 lunch here and there to generate recurring revenue or new business is worth the investment.
6. Failing to utilize the right technology
Not using the right technology can cause major problems in a pipeline
The right technology is key to aligning sales goals and marketing initiatives within a revenue operations model. Strong revenue operations teams know that the right technology can ensure customer success, impacting overall customer lifetime value.
Without the proper tools and technology, companies cannot effectively track customer data or manage leads through the buyer’s journey. This can result in fewer qualified leads entering the pipeline and ultimately lower revenue for the business.
Maximize the tools you do have, advocate for the tools you want and leverage free trials when you can
Remember when I said to control what you can control? Well, how you use technology is one of those things. If your company gives you technology, make a practice of learning it regardless if someone told you to or not.
Find tools that make your revenue operations process easier and advocate for them. I like Lavender for optimizing the emails that I send, Revenue Grid for real-time pipeline visibility and guiding reps with AI-based Signals, and Loom for creating videos to send to prospects.
7. Not leveraging social media platforms
Companies that don’t use social selling set themselves up to lose revenue
There. I said it. Companies and sales reps not using social media or social selling are guaranteed to lose potential revenue. Dismissing social selling results in fewer qualified leads entering the pipeline.
Businesses that don’t implement social selling techniques make it much harder to gain insights into customer needs. These key insights allow businesses to make informed decisions about how to target potential buyers.
Get on Linkedin and use it daily
The minimum you need to do is leverage Linkedin Sales Navigator to avoid losing leads and potential revenue. Social selling is a great way to multi-thread any account, but it is key if you use account-based selling. Social selling helps you get in front of multiple decision-makers and gain valuable information about what motivates them based on their social activity (for example, what they comment on, post, and share).
It also allows you to start conversations without even picking up the phone. You can share key information by posting, but you can also comment on a prospect’s post or start a conversation with them.
Want to really grow revenue? Then personalize your emails and videos (remember the COMMI$H 5) based on your social selling efforts to maximize your outreach.
In conclusion, revenue leakage can easily be prevented when you take the right steps
It is important to be mindful of the various factors that can contribute to the leaks in the sales funnel. By following the steps outlined in this blog post, you can ensure your pipelines are airtight and stop potential customers from slipping through the cracks.
Thanks for reading! If you found this information helpful or have questions about anything I tackled here, feel free to dm me on LinkedIn – I’m always happy to chat.