Sometimes business conditions can lead to failure. Sometimes you need to surf.
On a recent family ski trip to Jay Peak in Vermont, the snow was packed-powder perfect and the sun was shining bright. These are two big elements for a resort to have a great day at the ticket booth. Yet, there were a handful of skiers on the mountain and most of the lifts were closed.
No, this wasn’t like an episode of The Leftovers where people mysteriously vanish off the earth. Northern Vermont experiences some severe wind that could make a cat fly—as a result, Jay Peak has a lot of days where wind affects lift status. On this particular day, the wind was howling at 25 MPH+ with temps sub-zero.
Find the Problem and Fix It
Jay Peak could write a letter to Mother Nature’s wind division but instead decided to do something completely different to weatherproof ski vacations.
CEO/President and co-owner Bill Stenger went out of the box to build a state-of-the-art indoor waterpark and surfing FlowRider, complete with luxury slopeside accommodations. That’s only the beginning of the investment as further development is planned in the next few years.
Now when Mother Nature throws a wrench into the ski day, the kids head over to the waterpark to splash and surf the day away. The point is Jay Peak identified one of its top issues, addressed it, and found a way to succeed.
The end result–Jay Peak has now transformed itself into one of the premier family ski destinations in New England, thanks to Stenger and his team.
What is Your Marketing Funnel’s Top Problem?
Maybe your issue isn’t as drastic as Jay Peak’s, but every business has some kind of issue that can throw its marketing funnel model off. A healthy marketing funnel should seamlessly bring leads through their journey until they reach revenue. Unlike weather, companies can usually fix the problem themselves. The important thing is to identify that condition and offset it with a positive action.
Let’s look at a couple of examples.
I worked recently with a company that was having great success converting deals at the bottom of the funnel. It also had no problem creating leads at the very top of the funnel.
This company’s “wind” was that some factor was causing extremely low open rates. Those top-of-the-funnel leads weren’t converting because people weren’t engaging with the emails. After recognizing the problem, that company then began a data and email delivery analysis to get its marketing funnel producing as it should.
Leads Lost at Sea
In another example, a company was producing plenty of MQLs but noticed that those MQLs weren’t converting.
Why? Its “wind” was the Salesforce assignment rules that were assigning some leads to old reps. Those MQLs were getting lost at sea as they leaked out of the funnel. A simple adjustment to those rules got MQLs flowing again.
How to Fix Your Marketing Funnel Issue
As a first step, businesses need to know what their top challenges are. Like using a thermometer to measures the temperature, businesses should perform regular assessments to find gaps in their business and marketing funnel processes. In Jay Peak’s instance, the issue was obvious but that’s not always the case.
A few of the many questions to ask:
- Are Sales and Marketing skiing on different slopes? Reading between the lines, how many times has Sales and Marketing pointed fingers at one another in the past year? Too many or zero can indicate the Sales and Marketing teams are not aligned.
- Ask 10 Sales reps…”What is an MQL (or whatever equivalent term you use)?” You should get a consistent answer from at least 7 reps.
- Go look at today’s inventory of MQLs. If it’s more than low double digits, ask why? MQLs should be a temporary status. See last week’s The Drive-Thru Approach to Accelerating MQLs Through the Funnel.
- Are your systems setup for success? Or is your organization still using MS-DOS-like systems?
Don’t live with the status quo. The second step is to build a plan to fix what’s broken. Jay Peak could have just said “oh well, what can we do about the wind?” Instead, Jay Peak went to the extreme and built a kid’s wonderland–although your solution probably won’t be as drastic.
In summary, don’t just write off your business problems and sweep them under the bed. Whether it’s Sales and Marketing alignment, technology issues or process problems, find your top issue and develop a plan to turn that problem around and reach success.
See you on the slopes or woods of Jay (or maybe in the waterpark if it’s windy).