4 Real-Life Examples Of Last Minute Sales Funnel Launch Problems (A.K.A The Evil 5%)

Who doesn’t like a good cartoon?

I used to love them. I still do. But when I was younger, cartoons were an embarrassingly huge part of my life. 

And one of my all-time favorites was Dragon Ball Z. 

This Cartoon Network anime starred kung-fu powered humans facing off against spikey-haired aliens. And it used to get my heart racing every single day after middle school. 

What I loved (and hated) about Dragon Ball Z is what I call the “Final Form” hook. 

You see, every supervillain in the show followed the same exact pattern. 

They’d cause havoc all over the world until the hero took a stand. And then, cue the epic battle. 

There was armor tearing, muscle flexing, lots of over-the-top screaming, bruises and bloody noses and broken bones.

Finally… a crushing blow! 

It’d send the villain hurtling into a mountain and collapsing under a heap of rubble. 

But after what looked like the end of the battle and the triumph of our hero, an evil cackle would snake through from under the rubble. 

Then BAM! 

The villain explodes out of his rocky coffin and emerges a faster, stronger, and more intimidating version of his former self—his Final Form. 

Just when our hero thought he’d finally won, he had to face one more battle before claiming sweet, sweet victory. 

Now, I think everyone can relate to that feeling. You’re so close to the end and then surprise! One more bump in the road. And sometimes it’s a doozy. 

When we’re launching sales funnels here at AutoGrow, we call it The Evil 5%.

Today, we’re looking at a few real-life examples of The Evil 5% we’ve experienced, and what we’ve done to prevent it in the future. And hopefully, it’ll help you prepare for unforeseen problems and make your own launch even smoother.

So, What Is The Evil 5% Exactly?

So, what is The Evil 5% exactly? And how does it apply to building your business’ own sales funnel? 

Well, we like to think of it as that last little stretch before the finish line after already running 95% of the race (hence the “5%”).

And even though you can practically see the end and hear the cheers of the victory party, you almost always run into a mission-critical problem that stops you dead in your tracks. That’s where the “Evil” comes in.

In our experience at AutoGrow, we’ve found that The Evil 5% can be broken down into 3 main categories. 

These are the primary categories that describe the overarching problems holding us back from finally launching a successful and lead-generating sales funnel. 

And just to be clear, not all sales funnels (or even marketing efforts in general) will suffer from one of these problems. Why? Because each sales funnel is a unique snowflake of course. And we never EVER lump them together or deprive them of their own special beauty. 

But seriously, you may experience a variety of other problems that don’t fit into these categories. These are just the major 3 that we’ve come across so far. 

  • Technical — As the name suggests, this is when unforeseen technical challenges plague you right when you’re about to launch. Turns out your client’s platform doesn’t use the same coding language that you’ve been working on for weeks? Does their custom-built SaaS system not allow for the kind of tracking and lead redirection you need to tie your funnel together? Are they running on Windows 95? That’s a technical problem. 
  • “Aim” — This one comes down to missing the mark on your—or in this case, our—side. When your aim is off, you can absolutely nail every other aspect of your sales funnel: the design, the copy, even the ads. And you can be bringing in leads by the bucket full. But with bad “aim”, the leads you’re bringing in just won’t be right for your service. It’s like 10,000 spoons when all you need is a knife. It’s like meeting the man of your dreams, and then meeting his beautiful wife (isn’t it ironic?). And when your aim’s off without you knowing it, it can cost you some serious dough before you figure out what the real problem is. 
  • Clients — And last but certainly not least, there’s the “client” problem. Clients are great. They’re the people we’re trying to help. They’re the ones we forge very real and sometimes lasting relationships with. And they’re why we’re in business. But they can also lead to substantial hurdles that keep us from launching. Now, part of the problem is us not setting expectations or finding the right ways to communicate. But other times, it’s a matter of them not putting the work in on their end. And again, like any other problem you can ever hope to solve, the solution lies in how you handle it.

4 Real-Life Examples Of The Evil 5% In Action

Alright, now that we’ve clearly defined the 3 most common categories of The Evil 5% that we’ve seen so far, it’s time to jump into the real-life examples that we at AutoGrow have experienced firsthand. 

For each, I’ll point out which category of The Evil 5% we encountered before launch. On top of that (and this part is important), I’ll share with you what we learned from that problem and how we’ve ensured that the next time it shows its ugly face, we’ll be ready for it. 

We’re already predicting that our AutoGrow app for the On-Demand Service we’ll be offering soon is going to help us solve a lot of the problems discussed below by giving us a more complete overview of each client. 

But that being said, there are quite a few lessons we learned from The Evil 5% we ran into with our clients. And I’ll dive into each as we go along. 

Now, we love our clients. And we always do everything in our power to forge real and lasting connections with each of them. Because doing so actually helps us serve them better

But in the following examples, I’m going to change the names and a few other key details about each business to help keep things anonymous. So be forewarned: Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious Industries is not actually a real business. 

Diamond In The Rough Branding

Type Of Evil: AIM

This Evil 5% came from one of the worst possible problems on our end—AIM. 

For this one client from our Done-For-You service, we wrote a convincing copy. The web design we created was crisp and pleasing to the eye. And all of our funnel assets were set up to usher prospects smoothly through the sales funnel. 

However, after launching this client’s account, we found that we weren’t bringing in nearly as impressive of results as we were hoping for. 

And the problem was we weren’t attracting the right kinds of prospects. 

The result? The people who landed on our page weren’t interested in what our client was offering, no matter how good the copy and website design were. 

We were tossing out a big net into an ocean of fish trying to catch tuna. But when we reeled it in, all we got was a net full of grouper. 

After taking a closer look, we realized there were two main reasons for 

  • Our keywords were off. The way we set things up on the technical side meant that we were ranking for all sorts of keywords that had nothing to do with the client. For instance, sometimes we were bringing in visitors looking for staffing agencies, even though Diamond In The Rough was a branding agency. You can see why they weren’t interested.
  • Our copy was off. While the copy had the right personality, it wasn’t as clear as it should have been. And the clarity of the copy is a problem we’ve talked about before too. Vague wording may sound clever. But when your prospects have to think too much about what you do, it increases mental friction and makes it more likely that they’ll drop off the page. Better to be clear, direct, and simple.

The Takeaway: We’ve since refined our ad creation process and developed new ways to weed out keywords that don’t match what our clients are selling. This allows for more targeted ads that only bring in the right kind of prospects. On top of that, it ends up saving our clients on ad costs and boosts their return per dollar invested. 

We’ve also tweaked the way we create copy too. Clarity is now front and center when writing the copy. And while we still inject plenty of personality and pizzaz to keep prospects reading, it comes second to easy-to-understand writing.

Picture Perfect, Inc.

Type Of Evil: CLIENT + TECHNICAL

This one was a mix of both client-side problems as well as technical problems. As we started getting closer and closer to the final launch date for Picture Perfect, Inc., we were right on time with all of our funnel assets. 

Landing pages (copy and design) were finalized, the lead magnet was looking irresistibly clickable, and ads were ready to go. We were set! 

But not long before the official launch, Picture Perfect reached out to tell us about a few organizational changes on their end. They were bringing in a changeup of executive-level leadership. And as a result, they needed to put everything we had worked so hard to create on a full pause. 

About 6 weeks later, Picture Perfect was ready to begin again, but restarting came with its own challenges. 

  • We had to reacquaint ourselves with the new leadership contacts. And they had to be reintroduced to our services too. In a way, then, we had to sell AutoGrow to Picture Perfect all over again.  
  • New leadership came with new protocols. As a result, we had to re-convince them to give us access to their servers and show them why this step was a necessary part of launching their funnel. 
  • Their goals had changed over the past 6 weeks. Rather than going with our original target market, they felt that the funnel should be segmented to 3 different niche markets. And that meant reworking the copy, design, and underlying structure of the funnel. 

The Takeaway: As we’ve seen, client-side problems are often the hardest to fix. Our main takeaway from this client was that it’s best to clearly set expectations from the outset. And getting buy-in from key decision-makers can prevent having to continually re-sell your service should organizational changes arise. 

On top of that, launching quickly can help bring in results early on. And that means happier clients that won’t need to be sold on why your service works. Because the numbers already speak volumes. 

It’s why we’ve tweaked our Done-For-You service to focus on leads first so our clients can start seeing results right away. 

Happy Homes Real Estate

Type Of Evil: CLIENT

So there we are: we’ve made it through the entire process of creating the funnel. And everything (everything!) is ready for launch. The only missing piece—a thumbs up from the client. 

The problem—they didn’t show up for the final walkthrough. 

Now, life is messy. We know that. And things pop up at the last second that demand your attention. It’s understandable. 

And that’s exactly what happened with Happy Homes. So once we didn’t hear from them after the final walkthrough, we reached out to reschedule a few days later. 

Their response… crickets. 

When we did hear back, they had already missed two scheduled final walkthroughs. And what made this all so frustrating was that this was literally the last step before launching. 

We did end up launching (albeit a week late). But even still, this delay may have cost them leads and money. 

The Takeaway: We actually solved this problem through a bit of creative thinking. 

Instead of risking another missed final walkthrough, our lead funnel strategists actually filmed a short 20-min video and sent it to the client. 

They covered all the same points that were planned for the walkthrough and still got all the same quality assurance benefits (checking correct linking paths, looking for small design or copy inconsistencies, etc.). 

And this way, the client could go through the funnel walkthrough on their own schedule

It turned out to be a fantastic solution that everyone benefited from in the end. 

Digital Artists Unlimited

Type Of Evil: TECHNICAL

Digital Artists Unlimited is a SaaS (software as a service) business. This, of course, can be an awesome and lucrative model (as our interview with Tranual’s founder Chris Ronzio showed). But it also means that their product is custom-coded and integrate into their own website. 

And with Digital Artists Unlimited, that caused some serious technical difficulties on our end when it came to presenting prospects with a special offer.

For instance, one of their main pain points was their prospects would love all the free content they put out. They’d engage and consume that content at a fantastic rate. But very few would ever take the next step and become actual paying customers. 

So our solution was to help sweeten the pot with a special offer. 

Originally we wanted to offer prospects a free trial for the service with a credit card required. This would help turn prospects who were only ever consuming free content into actual paying customers. 

However, they already had it built into their site that prospects could go through a free trial without needing a credit card. 

And switching things over would have meant that they would actually have to re-code how their app functioned.

The Takeaway: Instead of asking the client to put in an enormous amount of work on their end (after all, that’s the opposite of the point of our Done-For-You service), we tried to work around their system. 

Rather than focusing on adjusting the free trial built into their site, we instead offered a $100 discount for any prospects that quickly upgraded to a paid version instead of going through the entire 14-day free trial. 

This gave leads a direct incentive for signing on immediately instead of just consuming the free content and moving on. 

We also learned that it’s in our best interest to set technical specifications we need at the outset. For instance, communicating with the client beforehand about whether or not they could actually implement the changes we were planning could have saved us a lot of trouble down the line. 

Conclusion

The Evil 5% can be a beast—especially when you’re on the verge of breaking out the champagne to celebrate another well-made lead-generating sales funnel you wouldn’t be ashamed to write home about. 

But as with almost any other problem in life, the Evil 5% can’t stand a good ol’ dose of foresight, strategery, and planning. 

The more you can anticipate the twists and curveballs of a business initiative, the better you can prepare for them. And with any luck, the better you can prevent them entirely. 

So I hope that these real-life examples will help you pick out potential soft spots in your own personal business sales funnels. They’ve certainly helped us tighten up our processes and implement new changes to safeguard against them. 

Because no matter where you’re at in your business, there’s always always room to improve. And the best indicators for improvement are, of course, falling flat on your face. We’ve certainly learned from them. Have you? 

What is your dreaded Evil 5% in your business? What kinds of unexpected problems have taken your legs out from under you on the 5-yard line? And what are the invaluable lessons you’ve walked away with, leaving you eager only to make that final dash again?

Let us know in the comments below. 

And as always…

Keep funnelin’, stay focused,

Alex T.

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