Funnels are used as guides. Mechanics use them to guide oil into your car while college kids use them to guide an alarming amount of beer into their mouths. Businesses, however, rely on funnels to guide its potential customers. The sales funnel provides the enterprise with a detailed map for the buyer’s journey and ensures the business is doing all they can to generate brand awareness. It’s important in building demand for the company’s product or service, and it provides the business with actionable steps for turning warm leads into hot sales.
While crucial to sales success, the proliferation of content in today’s modern business world has muddied the sales funnel waters and made it that much tougher to navigate. Companies invest great resources into creating all kinds of content for websites, blogs and social platforms, and the idea is to use that content to get as many prospects into the top of the funnel. From there, the content is used to nurture those relationships until the prospect is willing to make a purchase. But how does all that content work together and fit into the funnel? And further, how do you optimize it all so that it’s proven to convert? While a business’ funnel will be unique to the specific company, the modern sales funnel should include the following characteristics:
- Advertising – It is at the top of the sales funnel with the purpose of engaging with as many potential customers as possible. It includes a company’s email marketing strategies, direct mail campaigns, Adword initiatives and all general advertising strategies. The more eyeballs on your advertising means more potential customers thinking about your brand. You want prospects to see your website banner, commercial, billboard or whatever ad route your company chooses, and think – Huh, I was thinking about that. I need to check them out!
- 3rd Party Verifications (Search) – Once a potential customer becomes aware of your brand, their likely next step is to see what others are saying about your company through testimonials, social media interactions and news stories that came about through public relations efforts. This allows them to ensure that your business is reputable and that the service or product meets what they’re actually need.
- Your Public Pitch – If a potential client is comfortable with your brand and in need of your service, they’ll next want to check out your owned content, like the company website and blog. By reviewing product pages and blog posts, they’ll better understand exactly what you can offer them, about how much it will cost and what it entails overall.
- Buyer Action – If all goes according to plan, and the potential prospect likes what they’ve encountered throughout the funnel, they’ll reach out directly to your company and request a proposal or demo. While getting to this point is a huge win, your company’s work is not done yet. Next will be the first, actual person-to-person interaction your company will have with the prospect.
- Personal Pitch – The last stage of the funnel is where you’ll meet with clients and provide them with some sort of presentation. To ensure success, more firms are utilizing presentation management to develop a strategy around the creation, distribution and repurposing of the crucial business communication assets that are proven to convert leads into sales. You’ll want to make sure all of your company’s communication assets are housed in one central location, formatted to present and ready to be re-used so team members can quickly find approved content that is specific to the prospect’s needs, allowing the presentation to follow the conversation, as opposed to the rigid, predetermined PowerPoint culture. While an important last step, too often, organizations focus all their resources to the top of the funnel, and don’t concentrate enough on this one last step.
A business’ specific sales funnel will change depending on how the business functions and the specific strategies it deems most effective, but by applying the strategies detailed above, companies will be sure to get the most out of its content while providing its employees with a map towards successful selling. Now, more than ever, companies are creating compelling content that will generate sales – it’s just about maximizing it to convert!