If you’re in sales, we’ve got good news and bad news.
The good news is there are potentially millions of people who could be interested in your product.
The bad news is there are potentially millions of people who could be interested in your product.
Yes, there are millions of prospects out there who could help boost your revenue and drive business growth. But finding, nurturing, qualifying, and converting these leads takes a huge amount of time and resources. In fact, a BrightTALK survey found that 53% of marketers spend at least half of their budget on generating leads.
The only way to find and ultimately convert new customers without wasting a huge amount of your precious time is by leveraging the power of automation.
Whether for internal streamlining, outreach campaigns, or onboarding, automation has many applications in a sales context. Today, however, we’re going to talk about a way to streamline both marketing and sales through a tried-and-tested automation method—funnels.
What are automated sales funnels?
The name “funnel” comes from its real-life counterpart. Like we said in the beginning, there are potentially millions of people who could be interested in your product.
But that doesn’t mean all of them are going to be interested in it.
A funnel allows you to cast your net wide in order to make contact with a large number of people. Then, the funnel is designed to attract only those who are really interested in your product to the next stage. By the end, the individuals who are left are theoretically the most likely to actually make a purchase.
Think of it like a self-selection process. You don’t want to waste time on leads who aren’t going to convert, so instead you attract people who are interested in you, while filtering out unqualified leads.
There are many different types of funnels—we’ve spoken about welcome email funnels before—but they all follow the same basic idea.
You offer something in exchange for handing over their contact information, whether an ebook, newsletter sign up, landing page, or anything you can think of.
Then, you have to start leading them through the stages. But how do you do that?
Well, let’s begin by outlining the stages.
Before they can make a purchase from you, they need to know you exist—and that they have a problem.
Raising awareness of the lead’s problem (and that you exist) is the first stage in the funnel and occupies a lot of time for both sales and marketing professionals. In fact, 89% of marketers say that promoting brand awareness is their top goal.
There’s are many viable ways you can generate leads using content marketing but whatever way you do it, you need to:
- Communicate the problem in a way they can identify with it.
- Give them a reason to hand over their contact information.
With content marketing, it’s also important that you start establishing your brand identity and authority in the sector. After all, if you want them to eventually convert, you have to set yourself up as someone they will trust.
It helps if you break each stage down into sub-stages to try and tackle each one most effectively. Within this first awareness stage, let’s say you try to move the lead from being completely unaware of anything to being aware of the problem.
That’s: Completely Unaware to Problem-Aware
Your prospects are aware they have a problem and they believe you know what you’re talking about. At least enough to hand over their contact information!
Now they’re in the stage where they’re both researching the solutions to the problem and beginning to consider who might be the best person to provide that solution.
So, at the beginning of this stage, you want to give them information on the solution without talking about your product at all. Once they’re aware of the different solutions out there, it’s time to bring your product into the equation—but without making a pitch.
In short, you want to move from: Solution-Aware to Product-Aware
Finally, we have the consideration stage.
Now, they are Most-Aware and really what matters is the deal. Just because they’ve been with you for this whole time, doesn’t mean they’ll necessarily choose you.
This is the time when you want your sales team to take over. If everything’s gone to plan, they should be pretty close to making the decision and just need extra proof that you really are the best option out there for value and money.
The object here is to get them on a call!
Once you have them on the call, if they’ve come through a funnel, the sale is really yours to lose. Make sure you have lots of material on hand and know the best practices for closing deals.
Most of your revenue comes from current customers and you need to make sure they’re happy with your service.
It’s essential to deliver a quality product as well as exceptional customer service experience to ensure your customers stick around and say good things about you!
Creating an automated sales funnel
It goes without saying that to create an automated sales funnel, you need an automation platform. While you can of course achieve this with tools like Mailchimp or other simple automation brands, it’s recommended that you invest in a CRM.
In short, a CRM provides many more opportunities beyond creating a funnel that allows you to streamline your sales and marketing efforts while collecting relevant data.
Assuming you have a CRM that you are happy with, it’s time to begin setting up your sales funnel!
Laser-focus your purpose
Funnels are only as effective as they are targeted. That means you need to get super focused on a specific niche of your audience.
When carrying out market research or analyzing any data that you have, it should become clear to you what specific pain points your customers are experiencing. These are fantastic opportunities to set up a funnel.
But it’s not just pain points you should keep an eye out for. Common questions, demographic information, and what competitors are doing can also serve as a basis for a funnel campaign.
What’s important is that you tap into something that your target audience cares about and that you can ultimately solve with your product.
Develop your content
It begins with a landing page or sign up form and ends with a sale. But there’s a lot that goes on in between.
When creating content, it’s important to address the concerns or questions that customers have at a specific point in time. That’s where our Awareness-Consideration-Decision process comes into play.
Completely Unaware – This will be your landing page or similar. It needs to be short, gripping content made available where your audience is active that outlines the problem. This could be through organic or paid SEO, a pop up on your website, or through cold outreach.
Problem Aware – By now, your sign ups should be problem aware to a certain extent. You can build on this with the content. Videos, blog posts, or ebooks are good ways to heighten their awareness of the problem and begin moving them toward a solution.
Solution Aware – Remember, this isn’t about your solution, just about solutions in general. It’s the difference between talking about how ice cream can cool you down on a hot day, rather than Ben and Jerry’s. Focus on the benefits of your product without naming it.
Product Aware – By the way, we have a product that does just that! Now is the time to introduce your own product. Material comparing your product with others is good here. And be honest—if you have your target well identified, your product should naturally be more appealing. Case studies are also good here.
Most Aware – They’re ready to make a decision. Now we need to ramp up the trust factor. If you haven’t used a case study yet, you definitely should now. Or at least include a testimonial too. It’s also time to talk brass tacks and any offers or final incentives should happen here. Ideally, you’d get them on a call with one of your sales reps.
Sales funnel top tips
If you’re thinking about creating a sales funnel, here are our top tips:
- Put a lot of thought into your lead magnet. The more value you provide, the better able you are to build trust. It can also help move them down the stages of awareness more organically.
- Create purpose-first content. Base it on your users’ needs and our awareness outline. From there, do everything you can to make it creative and engaging.
- Look at how your users respond! Don’t just create your funnel and forget about it. One badly placed email can have a huge impact, whether positive or negative. Analyze behavior and optimize accordingly.
Choosing your CRM
While each funnel is highly focused and addresses a specific pain point or issue, together they feed into a larger strategy. The fact is that funnels can’t live in isolation.
This means that it’s essential to have the right software that is capable of maximizing your funnels’ potential and giving you an overview of how effective they are.
The CRM you choose will define not only how useful your funnels are but how well your overall marketing and sales strategy performs on a long-term basis.
At Pipeline.so, we offer an end-to-end CRM solution with best-in-class funnel building and automation capabilities. If you’d like to find out more about how our platform can help you to convert more leads into customers, reach out to us today!