It doesn’t matter how beautiful your website might be or how tantalizing a product you’re selling, without a carefully crafted marketing sales funnel you’re going to lose potential customers.
Fact is, not everyone who comes across your site or your product is going to be ready to whip out their credit card right then and there. Some of them need to be carefully courted and nurtured into becoming your customer. This is especially true if your product is on the pricier end of the spectrum or a little more involved than, say, purchasing a t-shirt.
So how do you turn those looky-loos into customers and fans?
You do it with a carefully crafted, monitored, and massaged Marketing Sales Funnel.
What’s a Marketing Sales Funnel?
Simply put, a Marketing Sales Funnel is the system that allows you to track and shepherd your potential customers through different purchasing stages from mere interest, to sale, to becoming brand advocates.
How do you set up a Marketing Sales Funnel?
Smart marketing tools like Hubspot make it possible to set up the different marketing activities that will usher your potential customers through the process, but, before you get to that stage, you have to do a little legwork.
Getting your Marketing Sales Funnel ready
Every company’s sales funnel is going to be a little different because every company’s needs are different. (Check out these 12 Marketing Sales Funnel examples to see how different they can get!) Step one is going to involve sitting your sales team and your marketing team down together so they can determine what prospective customers need to know about your company and your products and what you need to know about them. This information will guide how you set up your Marketing Sales Funnel and what steps you include in the process.
The different stages of the Marketing Sales Funnel
Traditionally a Marketing Sales Funnel is broken up into three sections and prospective customers are shepherded through each accordingly.
Stage 1 – Top of the Funnel
The goal of this stage is to help the customer answer the question “What do I need?” Great marketing materials to give away in this stage include solutions guides and eBooks that help the prospect gain a better understanding of how their pain points can be addressed.
Step One: Awareness of the product
Best ways to reach customers at this stage is through emails, social media, SEO, and word-of-mouth.
Step Two: Consideration of the purchase
Best ways to reach customers at this stage is through your website, e-commerce, and email.
Stage 2 – Middle of the Funnel
The goal at this point is to address the essential “Why do I need it from you?” question. It’s the ideal time to share case studies and pre-recorded webinars with potential customers so they can see what sets your company and products apart.
Step Three: Brand/Product preference
Best ways to reach customers at this stage is through email, product reviews and testimonials, press releases, and blog posts.
Stage 3 – Bottom of the Funnel
This is it, the moment of truth when you turn a prospect into a customer and beyond! The question that needs to be answered at this stage is “Why should I buy now?” Great tools to help you convert and retain are free trials, assessments, and personalized audits.
Step Four: Action
Congratulations, your prospect is on the verge of becoming a customer. Go you! At this point you really want to be communicating with them on your website, by phone, or in person.
Stage 4 – Beyond the Funnel
Did you think marketing ended with a sale? Shame on you! Once you have a one-off customer, it’s time to turn them into lifelong advocates and repeat customers!
Step Five: Loyalty to the brand/company
Now that they’ve purchased something from you keep engaging customers through email or social media to sell them further products and turn them into repeat customers.
Step Six: Brand advocacy
Once you’ve converted a customer, turn them into on-the-ground marketers who help convert their friends and fans to you through loyalty programs.
Managing the Marketing Sales Funnel
Smart sales and marketing teams know that a funnel isn’t something you set and forget. It’s something you want to be constantly monitoring, evaluating, and tweaking so that it’s constantly performing optimally.
Watch to see when prospects enter the funnel; thanks to the Internet and social media people are more likely to do their own research and to come to you at very different purchasing stages.
Testing giveaways and marketing activities at each stage will give you critical insights into your customer’s purchasing habits and preferences. You might also want to evaluate when, in the Marketing Sales Funnel, you want to be handing Marketing Qualified Leads to the sales team. It could take a little trial and error to find the sweet spot for the hand-off.
Like everything in marketing, setting up the ideal Marketing Sales Funnel will take some work on your part, but the return on investment for your time will be well worth the effort.