Many times we’ve been asked the same questions: what is a sales funnel? How can I build a sales funnel? How can I make it work for my business? Let’s start with the basics. If you were to draw a sales funnel, it would look like an inverted pyramid.
It starts out broad as your marketing reaches out to different types of consumers and draws them in with engaging marketing. As they move further through the funnel, their needs become clearer, and by the time your salesperson connects with them, they are ready to buy.
That is how a sales funnel should work, but as most marketers know, getting people to that final stage requires a high-performing sales funnel.
Want to know more? Here are our five steps to building a high performing sales funnel.
1. Identify and target your Audience
If you think that anyone and everyone should be using your product or service, then you have not thought enough about your audience. You might argue that all types of consumers end up in your sales funnel because they sign up for newsletters or free promotions, but not all of these people are true customers.
Do not look at the top of your funnel to decipher your audience; look at the bottom instead. Who is making it all the way through the funnel and buying your product? Ask yourself:
- What were their needs?
- What was their demographic?
- Are they on your emailing lists, visiting your website, following you on social media?
Defining an audience ID will help you tailor your marketing strategies to meet the needs of most of your buyers. While you shouldn’t neglect any other buyer, not in your audience ID, focus more of your time getting qualified leads through the sales funnel.
2. Add testimonials and reviews to your website
Any lead that comes into the top of your sales funnel is looking to solve a problem. Maybe they need a new dress for an upcoming party or they need a landscaping company to help them redo their garden. Most of your leads will make the first contact with you through your website so it is important to make a good impression.
At this stage, your leads will be evaluating how you as a company appear online and whether or not they should trust you or hire you. Therefore, you need to evaluate your website. It should show them how valuable your product or service is and why they should go to you instead of your competition.
People judge value on many different factors, but there are two ways to make your company stand out: testimonials and blog content. A few great testimonials from previous clients can make all the difference with future clients. In fact, it is estimated that about 85 per cent of consumers will trust an online review as much as, if not more than, a personal recommendation.
Blogs add value because they provide useful and free information about a niche topic. If a consumer feels that he or she has learned something from you, that consumer may be more likely to purchase from you. If you do not already have a blog, start one, and if you do not have a subscriber email list, consider starting one.
3. Track your performance and optimize your content
Of course, marketing involves many more channels than just your website so you should be testing out other online channels to see what works best. If you are not already using some type of Analytics tracker like Google Analytics, sign up for one and set tracking code on your website. You will need it.
For all of the emails and social media posts you create, you should be doing what is called A/B testing, meaning you should be creating two varieties of the same content to see what works best. If your bakery wants to target brides to encourage them to buy wedding cakes, you would create two emails, send them out and see which one gets more hits and leads. This process helps you determine your audience’s needs.
Google, Facebook, Pinterest and many other social media sites have their own methods of online marketing, and they all have their purpose. One might work better for you than the others, so it is important to try all of them before sticking with just one or two marketing
4. Marketing Automation Software for a high converting Sales Funnel
In some industries, it can take months for a lead to become a sale. To close those sales, it is important that you keep your message in front of your potential clients as much as possible. As you start to learn more about your demographic, you can start to gauge when they are most active online.
Most marketers nowadays are looking at marketing automation software to help them effectively target consumers at any time of day. This software gives them the power to schedule email and social media campaigns ahead of time to very specific mailing lists and then track their success.
If your landscaping company wants to target businesses that need landscaping, you can create a tailored ad for them. Then, send it out and track how many businesses opened the email and clicked through to your site.
Posting frequently on social media keeps your audience interested and your SEO high. For a marketing team stretched to its limits though, it is sometimes hard to remember to create quality posts. With marketing automation, one person can spend an hour or so planning out social media posts for the week, schedule them and then not worry about it for the rest of the week.
In both cases, you remain on your audience’s radar, and they continue moving through your sales funnel.
5. Closing the sale and providing outstanding customer service
Content and marketing should do 90 per cent of the work moving consumers through the sales funnel, but at the final stage, it is up to your salespeople to push for that last 10 per cent and close the deal. Part of this will rely on the skill of the salesperson, but your marketing team should be doing everything possible to make the closing road as smooth as possible.
Just like your audience ID, your salespersons should fit into a certain ID as well. Not everyone was born to sell, so your ideal salesperson will have the experience, ambition and drive in order to work well and flourish in a sales position.
You should be training all employees, whether they’re new to the game or old pros. New sales techniques surface all the time so training should be an ongoing process.
The secret to build a sales funnel is more about the success of each stage rather than the final outcome. A high-performing sales funnel means that every part works together to ensure success. Focus on success at each stage, and you will be sure to see great success overall.