How do you determine the overall health of your company? Using a sales funnel, which is a useful visual representation of the stages required to sell your product or service, is arguably one of the most insightful and powerful ways to view your organization’s health. Once a company understands the workings of the sales funnel they can analyze, and manage their own version of the funnel.
In a sales funnel you can identify which stages are required in your company in order to complete a sale. You can apply the location of each of your prospects and where they are in your funnel so you can manage a portfolio of company's sales opportunities. It is important to remove the barriers holding this prospect from moving along the funnels path. You need to know how long the conversion rate is, for this prospect, in each stage, so that you know how effective your sales and marketing goals (and funnels) are fairing for that prospect.
If you truly want to get the most out of your sales funnel, use the following six steps that will ensure funnel coverage to meet your company’s goals.
1. Define the Stages of Your Sales & Marketing Funnel
The first step is to create “a unified picture of the funnel and standard definitions of each stage in the process” so that both your sales and marketing teams are on the same page, says Pamela Vaughan on HubSpot. This can be accomplished by defining the stages of your funnel as follows;
- Understand Lead Quality. Vaughan says that you need to focus on the definition of a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) since this is “the crucial handoff point between marketing and sales.” Pay attention to factors such as if the lead is a good fit for your company and if they’re interested.
- Implement Lead Scoring. By using “a lead scoring or lead grading program that relies on data from your closed-loop analysis” who can “determine the importance of different activities.” When doing this task, examine behavioral history, patterns, list of activities, and calculate the average closing rates.
2. Know Where Traffic is Coming From
Regardless of your industry or specific sales funnel, the top of the funnel should always begin with attracting your audience and knowing where they are coming from. A practical content marketing strategy should include writing blog posts, being active on social media, reaching out to influencers, guest blogging, and even the release of traditional public relations tactics.
According to Sherice Jacob of Crazy Egg, “Many marketers track their ROI in terms of the amount of traffic they’re getting, but that only tells part of the story.” Jacob adds, “More traffic doesn’t automatically mean more conversions. You’ll need to look beyond the raw numbers to determine just how many people are engaging with your content to begin with.”
To solve this problem, determine where your traffic is coming from. “Concentrate on areas most conducive to driving conversions. What kind of content seems to resonate best with them?” suggests Jacob. “Measure engagement by other means, such as comments, shares, time on site and number of pages visited. This demonstrates that your content is being found and being read.”
3. Keep Your Audience Engaged
As Jacob says, “Creating content isn’t so much of an issue it’s making the content engaging that marketers struggle with.” When creating content, focus on these three main points of why a prospect may not take action;
- They don’t need it right now.
- They don’t have the money for it right now.
- They don’t trust you at the moment.
To fix this problem, develop content that is visual and shared across multiple channels. Don’t forget to respond to comments and highlight any reviews or mentions that your brand has received.
Besides content, you’ll also need to implement the following methods to keep your audience engaged;
- A landing page that addresses a customer’s pain points.
- Strong and clear calls-to-action on every page of your site.
- Easy-to-find forms so that customers can contact you or leave comments.
4. Disqualify Leads
Phill Keene says on TinderBox, having “a knack for disqualification demonstrates a deeper understanding of your ideal buyer and a mindfulness of your time as well as theirs.”
Keene recommends that you start disqualifying leads by sorting them into “buckets.” He adds, “Start with leads that have the highest likelihood of closing, then work your way toward the ones with the lowest chance of closing, with multiple buckets in between.” This prevents you from wasting time on a lead that you won’t be able to sell to - so you can focus on reaching the lead who is a more likely buyer by sending them targeted emails and content.
In an article for Sales Hacker, Keene also says that you ultimately need to find out why they didn’t show interest in your company. Was it the wrong message, price, “market immaturity, or a too-long product implementation schedule?” Listen to your customers by reading their emails and monitoring social media to get to the bottom of this.
5. Track Effectiveness of Handoffs and Each Stage of Opportunities
Keep in contact with your team regarding the how they transfer ownership of a prospect and implement a documentation system so that you avoid redundancy.
No matter which stage of the sales process you are in, always make sure that you have established clear and actionable goals that can guide your team in the direction you wish to take your leads and then you can start to track conversations.