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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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Nurturing Dos and Don’ts for Sales

July 16, 2013 by

If your business mantra is stuck on “recruit,” you may be missing an essential sales element – nurture. While this may sound like something you do to a Bonsai tree, it also applies to relationships. Nurturing client relationships is as simple as taking care of their needs on a regular basis.

When I was in sales, nurturing clients meant you took them out to lunch; dropped off Krispy Kreme donuts; and called them about the latest products available—and “oh, can I bring you a sample?” Then came the internet, email and The Atkins Diet and out went phone calls; face-to-face meetings; and carbohydrates!

Now that clients can visit your website and research products/services online, you’re probably not talking to them as much as you have in the past—making it difficult to maintain and grow those relationships. So how can you nurture them if you aren’t feeding them donuts?

Here are a few Nurturing Dos and Don’ts to remember (Notice I said, “Remember,” because you know these things; you just may need a reminder.)

Don’t give your customers the silent treatment.

When was the last time you talked to your current customers? If you’re not sure and don’t have a plan for regular follow up, it’s time to make one. Dive into your client database, and see how often you are actually communicating with your current book of business. If it’s been a while, it’s time to reconnect. If you don’t, someone else will.

Don’t take business for granted.

You know the customer that you rarely speak to, except when they need something? Every day that client probably has other sales people clamoring for his/her affection. Make sure you are the one they call in times of need by staying in touch.

Don’t get distracted.

Anyone that has been in sales before understands the cycle—prospect, service, repeat. First, you are busy looking for new business. Then, you are focused on servicing that business. Soon you realize there is not much in the pipeline and repeat the cycle. In the meantime, the customers you once worked so hard to get fall to the wayside. If you don’t have a nurture plan, your hard work may be wasted as you slowly lose contact (and sales) with customers.

Do have a strategy.

Benjamin Franklin once said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”1 That pretty much sums it up! Make a plan to follow-up with past clients.

Do be proactive.

Create a client profile to help identify your customers’ pain points. Use this to send them relevant information such as webinar or meeting invites on relevant topics—not just what you want to sell them.

Do make your customers feel valued.

It’s not price. It’s not product. The reason customers leave? It’s more than likely that they think you do not care about their business. They were not nurtured. If they were a Bonsai tree, they would be kindling! Show your customers you care—send a hand-written thank-you note, or find ways to save them money without being asked.

To help you learn how to nurture client relationships, click here to read a previous blog post about getting to know your clients.

Check out our website at www.biltd.com for more sales and marketing tips!

 

1 Benjamin Franklin. (n.d.) Benjamin Franklin Quotes. In Brainy Quote. Retrieved June 18, 2013, from http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/b/benjaminfr138217.html.

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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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