The Discovery stage is where your prospect’s interest is piqued. They are curious about your company and products and want to learn more. In this stage, you are sharing valuable educational content related to your prospect’s problem or need. This stage occurs while you are qualifying your prospect, conducting initial meetings, and defining their needs.
Getting a clear understanding of the process can help you optimize your campaigns to ensure these leads come out the end of the funnel as customers. However, it would be important to note that each business have its unique processes and sales situations. Their actual lead generation funnel may differ slightly from what is presented here, but for general intents and purposes the following describes the basic and most common stages involved in the sales funnel.
Traffic sources. As you’ve probably noticed throughout this article, different traffic sources work better for different stages in the marketing funnel. Sometimes, however, a traffic source can surprise you, so it is a good idea to track how many people are entering your marketing funnel from each source and stage so that you can give your top sources more budget and attention.
But, given the volume of leads that fill your funnel, sales teams have a hard time converting leads into customers because they cannot discern the hot from the cold. This results in unqualified hot leads in the top of the funnel that either drop out due to slow response times, or remain stuck in the middle of the funnel, eventually becoming cold leads. For a business, this means missing out on golden ($) opportunities. And, that’s just one leak. There are more ways you lose leads in the sales funnel.
Market trends suggest the mismatch will only widen between customers’ actual experiences and the models of the funnel or Customer Decision Journey. One key trend is the integration of marketing into the product itself. The funnel presumes that marketing is separate from the product. But for digital products like games, entertainment, and software-as-a-service, the marketing is built right into the product. Examples include the iTunes store and Salesforce’s App Exchange.
However, there are even some who see the funnel as being split vertically, with both sales and marketing owning the full funnel. They argue that the sales people are increasingly becoming thought leaders to drive awareness by doing outbound outreach. In this scenario, both marketing and sales would work to nurture leads and prospects from awareness to purchase.