The Key to Optimizing Your Sales Funnel
Carlos Abisambra is an engineer-turned-marketer, as well as the Founder and CEO of Vortice Services LLC. Vortice is a B2B online lead generation consulting firm that specializes in helping businesses optimize their funnel management processes.
I invited Carlos on the show to discuss trends in lead management and funnel optimization, and how marketing automation can be used to improve sales and marketing processes.
Here are a few of the highlights from our conversation:
TECHNOLOGYADVICE: What does “engineer-turned-marketer” mean? How did you find yourself in the email marketing and lead generation business?
CARLOS: I used to be an engineer. I used to focus on optimization of manufacturing and logistics processes. Then I moved over to marketing and sales in 2011. One of the things I realized is that the processes there are not that far off from what you see in a production plant: You have some inputs, then you do something to them, and you have outputs.
In sales and marketing, you’re putting in time, effort, and money from your budget— and you hope to get sales on the other end. So that’s how I got involved with it: by applying some of those logistics and different process optimization techniques to other processes in sales and marketing.
It all comes down to data-driven decision making. If you look at an engineer, they rely a little bit more on their analytical prowess instead of their gut feel. With marketing, with the scalability of the data available we have nowadays, it is very easy for marketers to actually use that data to make more meaningful decisions.
TA: What trends are emerging in funnel optimization, lead generation, and email marketing? How do they all come together into one delivery?
CARLOS: With marketing automation specifically, a few years ago, companies with failed implementations only had a handful of technical people who were able to use the necessary tools. Nowadays, it’s become a little more ubiquitous where not only marketers will have the necessary access to use these tools, but also have dissipating fears about using the technology. That is driven by three things:
- Ease of use: A lot of the marketing automation software companies have made their software basically a lot easier to use, a little bit less of a barrier for entry for marketers.
- More interest from marketers themselves: Because they are embracing that data-rich environment in which we are nowadays, they are actually able to prove their ROI’s and their budgets— which was one of the biggest headaches for marketers.
- The last thing that is competitive dynamics where there are other companies in your space trying to steal your customers in new ways.
So that is one of the trends I see: going from failed implementations to a more ubiquitous state with more access for marketers.
The second one I see — and you’ll probably see at the conference this year — is I expect more corporate higher-ups attending. Because now they’ve seen sporadic results within their organizations and they realize that this could be the source of a competitive advantage.
Another thing I’m starting to notice is that, as marketers gain more access and more marketers start using it, there’s also a little bit of an interest spike in the sales teams. So a lot of sales people are starting to use those tools to actually help themselves to meet their quotas.
Unfortunately, the hand-off between marketing and sales is still lagging. There are a lot of issues and a lot of conversion issues that are happening in that stage. It’s either too many hand-offs, or there’s delayed response time, or the sales guy is taking too long to call the person. But I think we’ll get there
TA: How do you help your clients take steps to improve the funnel and streamline that pass off from marketing and sales?
CARLOS: A lot of times what I see from clients, is they have preconceived notions on where their problems are within the the funnel. For an example, a client will bring me in, and they’ll say “Hey! Our PPC is terrible. We need to optimize that.” I first come in with the plan to either confirm that PPC is actually one of the top three things they should be focusing on or not. Because if they’re missing the big picture, and the handoff from marketing to sales is actually their biggest issue, no matter what you do and people see, you’re still going to have a bunch of leads just leaking out of your funnel.
What I help companies do is look at their overall front end to back end funnel. We call it “Total Funnel Optimization’. We look at the big picture, figure out what are two or three places that they need to focus on the most. We actually dive into those places and work with their internal teams to fix these high leverage places.
And what I mean with high leverage is you’re going to get the most results for the effort you put in because they are your main trouble spots. And as you work on those, then you can move on to the third and fourth issue and the fifth and sixth. And as you’re working throughout the funnel, you actually will have a multiplier effect of improving your conversion throughout. If you are able to increase your regeneration conversion by two percent, then you’re nurturing conversion by another two percent, and you’re closing by another five percent. All of those will multiply and will actually yield a much better ROI.
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