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The sales funnel explained

November 19, 2013 by

Our 1962 Ford F-100 truck sat neglected in the driveway for years. This summer, after some major elbow grease, my husband got it running and gave it a new coat of paint. When we were finally ready to take it for a spin, it wouldn’t start. Hoping it was just out of gas (the gauge didn’t work), we found a gas can and tried to carefully pour gas into the tank. But without a funnel, it spilled down the side of the freshly painted exterior and very little made it into the tank.

It’s like that with sales. Without considering your buyers’ journey through the sales cycle, many of your prospects may not make it to the intended destination—a sale. They spill out of the funnel before ever really getting to know your business.

To avoid losing prospects along their journey, let’s take a closer look at the sales funnel and the customer buying process.

A funnel is a tool designed to catch and direct a downward flow. The sales funnel does the same thing—catches prospects through engagement and brand awareness; and directs them toward a final sale. This path is not always linear. Prospects will enter the sales funnel in different spots and some will leak out of the funnel before reaching the end. But, the sales funnel provides a path as you plan recruitment, retention and nurturing campaigns.

Let’s take a closer look at the sales funnel and customer buying process.

The sales funnel is often used to describe the overall sales and marketing process. It can also be used to explain the customer buying process (their journey through the sales cycle).  According to Eloqua,1 a leading provider of marketing automation and revenue management software, there are five steps in the customer buying cycle.

  • Interest
  • Learn
  • Evaluate
  • Justify
  • Purchase

At each of these stages, you communicate with the consumer in a different way. For example, if someone has just learned about your company, you won’t immediately ask them to buy a product. Conversely, when they are ready to buy, you should not be giving a company introduction. Tailoring your message to fit buyers’ interests will ideally prevent your target audience from “opting-out.”

Click here to download an infographic that outlines your buyer’s behavior in each stage.

It takes some elbow grease to successfully move prospects down a sales funnel—especially ones you may have neglected for a while. But, don’t give up. Watch for my next blog with tips for utilizing a drip marketing campaign to get you up and running.

 

1 Eloqua. “EloquaU Power Hour: Lead Nurturing.” Topliners. Eloqua, May 2011. Web. 18 Oct 2013. <http://topliners.eloqua.com/docs/DOC-1512>.

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Kristine Garrett

Kristine Garrett joined Brokers International in 2012 as a Marketing Project Manager. She brought with her a strong background in sales and marketing that she uses to write helpful blog tips and marketing ideas to grow your business. Kristine shares a hobby farm near Panora with her husband, farm critters and beautiful bulldogs. 11854-1/30/13

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Step-by-Step Marketing: Consumer Touchpoints

August 15, 2013 by

More than likely, you spend a great deal of time preparing for client meetings. You research your client’s existing situation. You create proposals to help provide solutions for potential pain points. And you follow up with your clients to make sure they are happy with the solution.

While your client meeting may be the most important interaction you have with your client, it’s not the only one.  In other words, your client will have several interactions with you and your business before they even attend a one-on-one meeting.

As you can see in the diagram below, you interact with your client in several ways.

consumer touchpoints infographic

In my last blog post, I posed the question, “What’s your client’s experience?” But now I’d like to ask, “Do you deliver a consistent client experience?”

Have you put the same time and energy into your other client interactions, also known as touch points, to make sure they are just as deliberate and as well planned as your client meeting?

Take a few minutes and step into your client’s shoes. To get started, download our tips for consistent consumer touchpoints.

 

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Courtney Redfern

Courtney Redfern has worked for Brokers International since March 1999. In her current position, she helps drive outbound marketing, which includes strategy, copywriting, and overall project management. You can pick up a few marketing tips from Courtney through her blog entries on Step-by-Step Marketing. In her free time, Courtney enjoys reading, shopping, and any activity involving her family.

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What’s your client’s experience?

July 25, 2013 by

When was the last time you thought of your interaction with a business as an experience? Most of us don’t—until we have a bad one.

When my husband and I purchased a new camper, we sought out a loan with the lowest interest rate. As a result, we have a new relationship with a bank we have not done business with in the past.

Five days before my first payment was due, I received a letter from the bank confirming my loan total and monthly payment amount. Instead of providing the payment book originally promised, I received a web address to make an online payment.

Slightly irritated, I went straight to my computer to make the payment. After searching the home page, I finally found a blue button to gain “instant access” to online banking. I was immediately asked for my account number, which I had not received.

Little by little, my account access was becoming less instant. I called the 800 number on the letter. After weaving through the automated phone system twice, waiting on hold for a total of six minutes, and talking to two representatives, I finally received my account number. I never expected a company to make it so difficult to pay them.

Now, obviously this experience has frustrated me. I will not recommend this new bank or seek out another loan with them, because they did not make it easy for me to do business with them. They may have a better rate, but they did not deliver on the customer experience.

What are your clients’ experiences? Do you make it easy for them to do business with you? Have you actually stopped to ask your clients how you are doing?

If not, this is a great time to solicit their feedback. It can be as simple as sending a short survey. A well-crafted client survey can provide you with valuable feedback about you and your firm. It can also help you increase client retention, strengthen relationships, capture testimonials, and gain new referrals.

Plus, your clients will be flattered that you took the time to seek out their opinion and provide them with a more meaningful experience.

Download our survey tips here to help you create your own client survey.

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Courtney Redfern

Courtney Redfern has worked for Brokers International since March 1999. In her current position, she helps drive outbound marketing, which includes strategy, copywriting, and overall project management. You can pick up a few marketing tips from Courtney through her blog entries on Step-by-Step Marketing. In her free time, Courtney enjoys reading, shopping, and any activity involving her family.

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Get to know your clients

May 16, 2013 by

Even if you haven’t taken the time to crunch the numbers, you probably know that it costs less to keep your existing clients than to acquire new ones. This is why most business owners are looking for ways to generate additional business from their existing database.

How can you do that?

Connect with them. Learn about them. Discover their challenges and help provide solutions.

To get the ball rolling, you need to learn more about your clients. Start by creating 3-6 profiles that fit your existing client base. Because you work with different types of clients, you’ll want to group them by similar traits, qualities, and motivations. This can help you provide a more personalized experience according to their needs.

In each profile, you’ll list demographic information, identify current challenges, and acknowledge future wants. By participating in this exercise, you’ll get more familiar with your clients and start to think about their current struggles. You’ll also discover potential solutions you can offer to clients. And, ultimately, you’ll be able to provide your clients with the right message at the right time.

Click here to view a sample client profile.

In the sample profile, you learn more about Joe through his traits and characteristics. You can also think about his pain points and connect them with possible solutions.

Start creating your own client profiles. Access a client profile template here.

 

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Courtney Redfern

Courtney Redfern has worked for Brokers International since March 1999. In her current position, she helps drive outbound marketing, which includes strategy, copywriting, and overall project management. You can pick up a few marketing tips from Courtney through her blog entries on Step-by-Step Marketing. In her free time, Courtney enjoys reading, shopping, and any activity involving her family.

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Step-by-Step Marketing: AIDA Formula

May 14, 2013 by

When creating marketing messages to send to prospects and existing clients, it’s important to capture their attention. But, it’s also just as important that you continue to hold their interest throughout your message and motivate them to respond.

One common method to take readers through your message and get them to follow up on your call-to-action is the AIDA formula.

The acronym, AIDA, represents:

  • Attention
  • Interest
  • Desire
  • Action

You can learn more about each part of the process in the guide. Simply, download the AIDA guide to for step-by-step suggestions that can help you capture your reader’s attention and help motivate them to respond.

 

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Courtney Redfern

Courtney Redfern has worked for Brokers International since March 1999. In her current position, she helps drive outbound marketing, which includes strategy, copywriting, and overall project management. You can pick up a few marketing tips from Courtney through her blog entries on Step-by-Step Marketing. In her free time, Courtney enjoys reading, shopping, and any activity involving her family.

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Step-by-Step Marketing: Effective Letters

February 21, 2013 by

In last month’s Step-by-Step blog, you learned 10 direct mail ideas that you can use to increase the likelihood that your audience will open your letter. But, how do you create a well-written personal letter that can keep your reader’s attention after they have opened your letter?

For most, this may not be an easy question to answer. While we all learn the basic fundamentals of writing in the early stages of learning, putting pen to paper and executing a well-written letter may be a daunting task for some.

To create an effective letter, you must be able to:

  • Immediately capture your reader’s attention,
  • Speak to the reader about their particular interests,
  • Keep your audience reading, and
  • Call your reader into action.

You can craft a letter that does all of this using our guide to effective letters. Simply, download Writing Effective Letters for step-by-step suggestions that can help you boost your writing skills. Next month I’ll go more in-depth on the AIDA formula you’ll see on the tip sheet.

 

Courtney Redfern

Courtney Redfern has worked for Brokers International since March 1999. In her current position, she helps drive outbound marketing, which includes strategy, copywriting, and overall project management. You can pick up a few marketing tips from Courtney through her blog entries on Step-by-Step Marketing. In her free time, Courtney enjoys reading, shopping, and any activity involving her family.

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Step-by-Step Marketing: 10 Direct Mail Ideas

January 29, 2013 by

If your clients are anything like you, they’re more than likely getting bombarded with emails on a daily basis – emails that they delete. If your current marketing plan relies largely on online marketing, you may want to consider adding direct mail to your marketing mix.

According to the 2012 Response Rate Report released by the Direct Marketing Association, mail campaigns elicit better overall response than online campaigns.1  So, how can you add direct mail to your existing marketing efforts?

Download 10 Direct Mail Ideas to learn tips to pique your audience’s curiosity and urge them to read your message.

Using these tips for your next direct mail campaign can help increase the likelihood that your letter will get opened and read by your audience. And that’s the first step to getting a response.

 

1Marketing Charts, Direct Mail Tops Email for Response Rates; Cost Per Lead Similar, June 15, 2012.

 

Courtney Redfern

Courtney Redfern has worked for Brokers International since March 1999. In her current position, she helps drive outbound marketing, which includes strategy, copywriting, and overall project management. You can pick up a few marketing tips from Courtney through her blog entries on Step-by-Step Marketing. In her free time, Courtney enjoys reading, shopping, and any activity involving her family.

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Step-by Step Marketing: Be DIRECT in Six Simple Steps

November 8, 2012 by

Marketing can be one of the best ways to get in front of prospects that may not be familiar with you or your business. To get the most from your marketing efforts, it’s important to understand the different types you can use. With marketing, you’re trying to get the right message to the right audience at the right time. Two main forms of outbound marketing include advertising and direct marketing. Whereas advertising builds brand awareness, direct marketing seeks to elicit an immediate response from your target audience through a specific “call to action.” A call to action is important because it tells your audience what you want them to do next. It urges them to do something right now and moves them further into the sales cycle. For example: “Call now for a no obligation review.” And that’s one step closer to becoming a client and building a relationship based on the value you offer.

The DIRECT acronym can help you define and focus your direct marketing efforts. Check out the Be Direct in Six Simple Steps tip sheet, and you’ll get a bonus step!

 

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Courtney Redfern

Courtney Redfern has worked for Brokers International since March 1999. In her current position, she helps drive outbound marketing, which includes strategy, copywriting, and overall project management. You can pick up a few marketing tips from Courtney through her blog entries on Step-by-Step Marketing. In her free time, Courtney enjoys reading, shopping, and any activity involving her family.

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Step-by-Step Marketing: Introduction

October 11, 2012 by

How many times have you put together a great marketing piece that you thought would make the phone ring off the hook? How many times did the phone actually ring?

If you’re like many professionals, the answer is probably not very many. As a marketing professional, I’ve seen a lot of best efforts that just haven’t elicited the response that was hoped for and/or expected.

There may be a variety of reasons that your efforts have not worked the way you would like. It could be that you lack a strong call-to-action, you reached out to the wrong audience, or you just didn’t offer the right thing at the right time.

The Step-by-Step Marketing blog post series has been created to help give you some basic ideas to help you improve your marketing messages.

In the coming months, you’ll be able to learn about:

  • How direct marketing works
  • Writing effective letters
  • Creative offers
  • Conducting surveys
  • Building your brand
  • And more…

Subscribe to the blog to receive email updates when a new post comes out!

 

Courtney Redfern

Courtney Redfern has worked for Brokers International since March 1999. In her current position, she helps drive outbound marketing, which includes strategy, copywriting, and overall project management. You can pick up a few marketing tips from Courtney through her blog entries on Step-by-Step Marketing. In her free time, Courtney enjoys reading, shopping, and any activity involving her family.

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