Every business model can benefit from the use of a sales funnel (also known as a sales process). There are numerous benefits to a more systematic approach to sales, including the standardization of sales-customer interactions, scalable sources of revenue, management of both buyer and seller risk. Most importantly, it enables you to bring to bear process-driven design and optimization tools from other industries. A successful sales funnel enables your business to process a greater number of larger sales through the funnel in a shorter period of time. However, when designing a sales funnel many marketers are frustrated by the perceived complexity of the sales funnel.
1. Identifying problems in your target niche
Some marketers spend a great deal of time on the creation of information products, only to find themselves without customers to buy them. The error here is creating products which are not tailored to the needs of your target audience. Conduct research into what your followers and subscribers are most frustrated by, and the results that they would like to achieve, and formulate products which address these needs directly. You may find that you also come up against the problem of customers who have an issue you are able to solve, but who are not consciously ready to purchase. By asking the right questions to uncover their frustrations, you can demonstrate that your solution is the right fit for them.
2. Identifying poor design
Many marketers take it upon themselves to implement every stage of the sales funnel, which can be highly time consuming and can often result in web pages and processes which are not optimized for their potential customers. This can slow down or even halt sales, having a detrimental effect on your business proposition. You can solve this problem by enlisting the services of a dedicated designer who can carry out all of the technical work for you, ensuring that your website performs optimally. When looking for a specialist, make sure that you request examples of their previous work, discuss your requirements thoroughly, and if possible provide an example of how you wish your marketing sales funnel to appear. Once this has been achieved, you should ensure that your sales funnel is properly synchronized – this means implementing sales and marketing practices when your prospect is ready to take action, not before. Asking questions about synchronization will help you to focus on finding out the customer's priorities.
3. Identifying unsustainable practices
A good rule of thumb for your sales funnel is to always replace any sales item which is 'used up'. Sales items – contacts, appointments, deals, calls, etc. – are all finite and can only be used to a certain degree before they are worn out. If you make contact with a potential sales lead, this may generate a sale but it also uses up a contact. Therefore, you should try to replace leads as soon as they are used in order to create a sustainable and steady sales funnel which will not run dry and leave you without potential customers.
4. Speeding up the sales funnel
Prospects may become stuck because the decision-makers are not clear on the importance of the problem, or the solution that you are offering. It may be that they would like to review case studies of companies who benefited from this solution, or companies who suffered as a result of failing to take up the opportunity. Focus your marketing efforts on easing the sales process by meeting the specific information requirements of customers. Sales and marketing personnel should work together to identify stages where prospective customers become stuck, and devise questions they can ask to help progress the deal.