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Conversion Funnel Leaks: How to find ’em & fix ’em

In a perfect world 100% of prospects would convert but that isn’t the case and every business loses potential customers between stages of the conversion funnel.

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Team Maxio

November 02, 2016

In a perfect world 100% of prospects would convert. We know that isn’t the case and therefore every business loses potential customers between stages of the conversion funnel. But, excessive funnel leaks add up to a lot of lost revenue so it’s important to identify where leaks are happening so you can patch them as much as possible.

In today’s blog post you’ll learn the common causes of funnel leaks and how to fix them at different stages of the conversion funnel.

Leaks At The Top Of The Conversion Funnel

At the top of the conversion funnel, focus is on creating awareness and exposure of your brand and product. This often means prospects are visiting your marketing website for the first time, perhaps after seeing a social media post, an online advertisement, reading one of your blogs, etc. At this point in the funnel the prospects are just exploring; they aren’t ready to make a purchase.



Leak cause: You’re not targeting the right people

Fix: Before jumping to experiment with changing content, advertising channels, etc. take a step back to determine if you are targeting the right people. You should regularly review buyer personas and ask: “What’s the “job to be done” that attracts customers to your product?”

Leak cause: Your message isn’t relevant

Fix: Content marketer Dale Cudmore calls relevance “the most commonly underrated factor of conversion.” To fix a leak caused by irrelevant messaging, it is critical you match your message to the source, buyer persona, and more. “When visitors come from a specific source, they have a specific mindset and expectation. The more you match that, the higher your conversion rates,” says Cudmore.

Leak cause: Your message is confusing

Fix: Keep your message simple. This ties into the points above, as your messaging should be highly targeted, relevant, and clear. “Eliminate the clutter. Focus on your best value proposition, and limit the amount of choices your force upon your customers,” advises growth hacker Duraid Shaihob.

Leak cause: There are issues with your CTA (Call To Action)

Fix: You’ll need to experiment to determine the CTA copy that converts best for your product. You can A/B test CTA copy, button placement, and even colors. “Your Call To Action (CTA) is where all that effort put into copy, design, and branding can either nudge prospects toward completing your desired action or make them disappear into the ether,” explains full-stack marketer Danielle Devereux.

When small changes were made to Acuity Scheduling’s CTA buttons (above), the results were an 81% conversion increase with the green button vs. the control and a 95% increase with the orange CTA button. With conversion increases of over 80% it is easy to understand why testing your CTA is so important!

Moving on to the next portion of the funnel…

Leaks At The Middle Of The Conversion Funnel

Once you’ve identified that you’re targeting the right traffic with relevant and clear messaging, you’ll want to look at the quality of leads moving forward through the funnel and how those leads are engaged. In the middle of the conversion funnel, leads will be looking to determine if your solution is a fit for their needs.



Leak cause: Leads aren’t qualified

Fix: First, know that you’re not alone in this issue. A study by IDG revealed 61% of marketers report problems generating high quality leads for their organization. Look at the data related to paying customers and you’ll notice some shared characteristics. For a B2B that may include business size, ARR, industry, etc. Use those common characteristics of previously converted customers to determine guidelines for defining higher quality leads.

Leak cause: You’re not nurturing leads

Fix: Octiv Manager of Demand Generation Phillip Keene writes, “various sources, including Topo, SalesLoft, and The Bridge Group, identify 6 to 13 as the optimal number of touches it takes to get a prospect to convert. Test out multiple cadences for yourself to discover what works best for your business.” This is an extremely important issue to fix! According to Kissmetrics, “79% of marketing leads never convert into sales. Lack of lead nurturing is a common cause of this poor performance.”

Leak cause: Friction during signup process

Fix: Test different signup flows. Typeform has a frictionless signup; no information is required to begin using the tool. When you click the “Get Started” button on the home page, you’re taken to the page below. Only when a user clicks the “Save account” button are they required to enter an email address and setup an account.

A more common signup flow is to require an email and then email confirmation prior to account setup and allowing the user access to the tool or app. Slack is one of many companies who utilizes that flow and Samuel Hulick outlines their signup process, below:

Depending on your own product’s complexity, you’ll need to determine a signup flow that is as frictionless as possible.

Leaks At The Bottom Of The Conversion Funnel

Finally, in the bottom portion of the funnel… Conversions! A lead decides to do business with you! If you have a free trial or plan it may be a conversion to try your product or they may convert directly to a paying customer. Either way, the bottom of the conversion funnel focuses on conversions and making sure the new user receives maximum value from your product.

Leak cause: Leads are getting lost during the handoff between internal teams

Fix: Make customer handoff seamless. We discuss how to transition a customer seamlessly through the sales funnel in our blog “Where To Draw The Line: Inbound Sales vs. Customer Success vs. Customer Support.”

One of the easiest places for a lead to get lost in a sales funnel is during the transfer of ownership inside of your organization. Talk to your team and make sure they can talk you through the process of how they transfer ownership of the prospect, as well as ownership of their knowledge to the next person.

Phillip Keene, Manager of Demand Generation at Octiv

Leak cause: Onboarding issues

Fix: First, understand that onboarding issues may mean it isn’t easy for someone to get started using your product or that they aren’t realizing the value of your product. The obvious fix is to improve onboarding. How do you do that? User onboarding experts from Buffer, Zendesk, InVision,, Appcues, and more, share their tips for improving onboarding in “13 Tips To Improve User Onboarding From SaaS Leaders.” Start there.

As part of onboarding issues, you may also be having leakage related to making it difficult for a user to upgrade their account and get started as a paying customer. You’ll need to remove the friction and make the process easy in order to fix the problem.


For each portion of the conversion funnel, there are a variety of tests you can run to help you plug your funnel leaks. In addition to the CTA button testing we mentioned earlier, some additional places to test more granular conversion rate optimization (CRO) can include:

  • Website design

  • Copy

  • Forms (placement, number of fields, etc.)

  • Drip emails

  • Site navigation

  • Experiment with different advertising channels

There are many, in-depth blogs about testing for more effective CRO and the list above is simply to shed light on a few examples.


No one thing it going to completely change your business and conversion funnel. You have to identify leaks and slowly chip away at plugging them in order to  move the needle in the right direction.

And what about you? Where have you discovered the biggest leaks in your business’ conversion funnel? We welcome your own tips and experiences in the comments below.

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