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Building a Watertight Lead Funnel: Preventing Leaks and Maximizing Revenue


In the world of sales and marketing, a well-structured lead funnel is essential for efficiently converting potential customers into paying clients. Just like a plumbing system needs to be free of leaks to function properly, your lead funnel should be designed to prevent any “leaks” that might result in lost opportunities and revenue. In this blog, we’ll guide you through the process of designing a watertight lead funnel and discuss common cracks and leaks to watch out for. We’ll also explore methods to find and fix these leaks, ensuring that your funnel operates smoothly and maximizes your revenue potential.

Build It Right

The Demand Waterfall:

The demand waterfall is a crucial framework for visualizing and managing the lead conversion process. It consists of stages such as Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL), Sales Accepted Lead (SAL), Sales Qualified Lead (SQL), and Closed-Won or Customer. Each stage represents a level of engagement and interest from the lead. By tracking these stages, organizations can optimize their strategies and resources for maximum efficiency and revenue generation. Key metrics to track in the demand waterfall include volume, conversion rate, velocity, and revenue forecasting.

Implementing a Lifecycle Processing Program:

To track these metrics effectively, it’s essential to implement a Lifecycle Processing Program within your marketing automation system (e.g., Marketo). This program aligns marketing with a goal-based revenue model and categorizes prospects, placing them on lead nurture paths. It also facilitates lead assignment changes as prospects progress through the funnel, ensuring efficient processing and reporting.

Common Funnel Leaks

Look for the Obvious First:

Start by asking critical questions and building reports to answer them. Ensure that all new leads are properly tagged from all entry points and investigate whether leads are skipping stages due to misconfigurations in your Lifecycle Processing program. Monitor the timing from lead entry to sales assignment to prevent unnecessary delays.

What to Check Within Processing:

Review your lead intake processing to account for all channels and avoid creating too many stage detours. Properly handle timing within your funnel process, as timing can significantly impact lead progression. Implement a centralized organization of new record processing to control timing and reduce data errors.

Finding Leaks

Leveraging Marketo Features:

Within Marketo, you can use smart lists to identify records missing a lifecycle stage or to find anomalies like significant drops in lead progression over a specific period. Additionally, the People Performance Report provides a breakdown of your database by lifecycle stage, offering valuable insights for monitoring and reporting.

Fixing the Leaks in Your Funnel

Temporary vs. Permanent Fixes:

When you discover a leak, assess its severity, the number of affected records, the location within the funnel, and how long it has been occurring. Consider the level of effort required for both temporary and permanent fixes. Temporary fixes can be used to address urgent issues, but a more permanent solution may be needed to prevent future leaks.

Get Ahead of the Leaks:

By monitoring conversion rates and velocity of lifecycle stage conversions, you can stay ahead of potential leaks and catch them quickly. Cohort analysis can help visualize these metrics and develop meaningful KPIs based on different inbound sources.


A well-designed lead funnel is a critical component of any successful sales and marketing strategy. By understanding the demand waterfall, implementing a Lifecycle Processing Program, and actively monitoring your funnel for leaks, you can ensure that you capture every opportunity and maximize revenue. Remember, a watertight lead funnel is the key to sustained success in today’s competitive business landscape.

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