Presales: If you know exactly which product you want to sell but haven’t created it yet, then preselling might be something you should look into. There are several benefits to preselling including: generating revenue before your product is launched (which you can later invest in your product), testing different pricing points for your product, validating demand for your idea, gathering feedback about your product before it’s launched.  

SEO: Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving your content’s visibility in search engines. Or, in simpler terms, SEO is about getting traffic to your site from sites like Google, Yahoo, Bing, and other search engines (this type of traffic is known as organic traffic.) For that to happen you have to try to rank your content in the top positions of the search results for specific terms or phrases (known as keywords.) Something you should keep in mind about SEO is that it’s not a fast process. Pursuing SEO early can have a huge pay off down the line—when you start getting free and consistent traffic from search engines—but if you are just getting started and need traffic right away, I recommend that you look into immediate sources of traffic while you work on SEO.  
PPC campaigns: Most online paid advertising platforms will allow you to link a landing page. You can create an informative and concise landing page with a relevant CTA. This will encourage your audience to submit the form. All platforms such as LinkedIn, AdWords, Facebook etc give you this option. In fact, Facebook has designed a whole ad format called Lead Ads that deals primarily with lead capture.
The concept of “creating customers” may at first seem to be an odd one. Don’t you find customers, not make them? Well, yes and no. While it is extremely hard to turn someone into a customer if they have no interest in your product/service or don’t have the money to make the purchase, with a proper sales funnel, can can create fans out of people who never even knew you existed (or at least never realized how much they needed whatever you’re selling). A sales funnel can also turn an “on the fence” customer into a raving fan who refers even more people to you!
Sales funnels are right for businesses that rely on a high degree of prospect interaction and engagement to make sales or close deals. Their sales process may be long and complex or they may be selling a high-ticket item that requires a lot of consideration by the customer. Both business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) businesses use sales funnels.
Learn the secrets to creating highly persuasive online growth systems which are proven (we actually do this stuff), sustainable (nothing "blackhat"), and personalized (based on where you are at today). We publish quality resources as well as paid training products to accelerate your success with sales funnels, increasing traffic with content, building your email list, or growing your client and product conversion rate.
Now, this basic sales funnel offers a simplistic view of the consumer journey and the stages buyers go through before making a purchase. So you can use this as a basic template for your marketing strategy. For example, you create brand/product awareness campaigns to build an audience, target this audience with ads to generate interest and deliver content to build emotional desire before hitting them with the big CTA.
Case management tools are especially helpful at the end of the sales funnel when the prospect becomes a customer and you want to handle and track support issues. Effectively managing support issues leads to increased customer loyalty and improves your chances of getting repeat business and referrals. Having case management in your CRM enables you to build customer loyalty because support issues will be top of mind until they are resolved.
You can configure the lead scoring rules to match your ideal buyer persona by simply adding or subtracting points for the lead property. For example, if your business is purely local, then for a lead to become your customer the minimum criteria is to be within your service area. Add 20 points. If the lead doesn’t belong to an industry you serve, subtract 10 points. In addition to that, you can also customize scores for email, application and web activity. Bring everything together, and you have a list of hot, warm and cold leads in the sales funnel for your sales reps to focus and close more deals faster.
Whitney is a real estate investor and personal finance trainer whose vision is to launch 10,000 families on the path toward financial independence. After purchasing her first rental in 2002, and hitting a homerun, then nearly losing it all on her second deal, Whitney took control and figured out how to invest in real estate the right way. She realized that success must leave clues. So, she studied and replicated the very personal finance and wealth creation strategies the wealthy use to create financial freedom. Today, Whitney is a partner in $370MM+ of real estate assets, including 3,000+ residential units (MF, MHP, SFR, and assisted living) and 1,430+ self-storage. Additionally, she has flipped over $1.7MM in residential real estate and a solid portfolio of commercial notes. (Don’t tell anyone, though... BRRRR investing is still one of her favorite ways to invest—26 units and counting!) In 2018, Whitney founded ASH Wealth, where she helps you develop a clear, workable plan that gives you the results you dream of, solves your business startup or scaling issues, and drives massive progress toward your real estate and financial goals.
Getting this timing right prevents losing prospects by bombarding them with too much information or giving them the hard sell too early. This is why moving prospects through the funnel is often called “nurturing.” Seventy-eight percent of business buyers seek salespeople who act as trusted advisors with knowledge of their needs and industry. Prospects should ideally only receive the information and sales help they need when they need it.
The concept of “creating customers” may at first seem to be an odd one. Don’t you find customers, not make them? Well, yes and no. While it is extremely hard to turn someone into a customer if they have no interest in your product/service or don’t have the money to make the purchase, with a proper sales funnel, can can create fans out of people who never even knew you existed (or at least never realized how much they needed whatever you’re selling). A sales funnel can also turn an “on the fence” customer into a raving fan who refers even more people to you!
Entry sources – Monitoring the sources from which people are entering your funnel can be useful data to track, as it gives you ideas for expanding the reach of your marketing campaigns. If, for example, you see that a large number of your prospects are coming from a single guest blog post you did, you can upgrade and expand on it, add a free consultation opportunity on that blog post, and/or find similar guest author positions.
But if you still use separate tools to email and call your leads, then visibility into their different touchpoints at different stages in the funnel can be difficult to figure out. Use a sales funnel software with built-in email and phone instead. You can create email templates in your funnel software to quickly reach out to leads. Even better, you can automate sending out the first welcome email to new leads using workflows.
After you’ve met or spoken to the lead, and if they’re committed to buy, you’ll have to quantify the value of the opportunity. This is where the sales pipeline in CRM helps; you can track each opportunity with maximum visibility. Visual sales pipeline provides an overview of your deals by stage, allowing you to see how leads are moving down the sales funnel. It also gives sales reps a quick estimate of their targets, and urges them to close more leads in the funnel.
Think about that the next time you're building out a sales funnel. This complex and intricate concept in business can literally take you from a complete unknown to a global powerhouse quickly through the art of scaling out a highly-converting offer. Don't try to take shortcuts or implement hacks, and put in the time if you're looking to eventually reap the benefits and results.
Caroline Donahue, CMO at Intuit, oversees numerous web-based products for which “the product and the marketing become one thing.”  The funnel changes because “with cross-sell and up-sell, you move from awareness to action instantaneously.” Instead of a Customer Decision Journey, her approach might best be described as a User Experience Journey into which opportunities for transactions are thoughtfully embedded.
After you’ve mapped out your prospect’s experience, make sure they align with your team’s pipeline stages. You can do this on paper or in CRM software like Salesforce Essentials. Sales pipeline stages are stages in your sales process, while your sales funnel stages are the stages in your customer journey. Refer to our article on how to create an effective sales plan for more information about pipeline stages and how they relate to your sales strategy.
You can do this all by caring. Reach out and ask for reviews. Engage with them on social media. Offer them an insider-only discount. Give them something for free on their birthday. Give them advice for free. There are literally hundreds of customer retention tactics out there—find the ones that best suit your products and business. One simple—and cost-effective—way to care is with personalization.
Beyond terms and process, one of the best ways brands can align both sales and marketing is through shared programs such as account-based marketing (ABM) and lead nurturing. In 2018, Salesforce Research found high-performing marketing organizations to be 1.5x more likely to use ABM methods, and 1.9x more likely to use lead nurturing than underperforming marketing organizations. They are “shared programs” since both marketing and sales should work together to create them. Marketing handles the technology and setup while sales pick the targets and help create the content. Sharing in the creation of the programs allows sales to feel ownership of the programs, increasing their use and overall effectiveness.
Capturing leads is the first step to the sales process. Some sales funnel software have the capability to capture leads who visit your website, submit a form, email your company, etc. So it’s easier for sales reps to start working with leads instead of wasting time on data entry. It can also segment leads based on predefined criteria and assign them to the right sales reps.
For a business to run successfully, you need to have customers who are willing to pay for your product or service. But, how do you go about finding these customers? You need to have leads who will then turn into prospects, who you can finally convert into customers. Most companies spend a lot of time perfecting their lead generation strategies so that they the leads keep coming in. But, more importantly, you need to perfect the lead funnel.
Unfortunately, the reason why we call it a marketing funnel instead of a marketing journey or marketing waterfall is that not everyone who enters your funnel will end up buying. At each stage in the buying process, you lose some potential customers, but a good marketing funnel will keep those losses to a minimum and produce the maximum number of sales from your marketing.
Sales funnels are right for businesses that rely on a high degree of prospect interaction and engagement to make sales or close deals. Their sales process may be long and complex or they may be selling a high-ticket item that requires a lot of consideration by the customer. Both business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) businesses use sales funnels.
Sales funnel is an illustration of the stages that a prospect goes through before becoming a customer. It resembles an inverted pyramid—it starts with a lot of your potential customers at the top. And, as your sales reps start engaging with them, only your most qualified prospects move to the next stage, and ultimately towards the close. So, at the bottom of the sales funnel are your most committed customers.
You need to understand your audience like you do your very own yourself. You are aware of your dislikes and likes, you know what problems you face and you know the sort of people you will let help with those problems. If you learn to know your audience in the same manner, the chances of you establishing a genuine connection increase vastly. You will also be able to guide more people through your sales funnel and get those coveted ‘closed-wons’.
If you’re a small business owner, you might be a one-man (or one-woman) show, wearing several hats, including both sales and marketing. As your business grows, though, you’ll need to hire people for your team. One of the biggest mistakes I see companies make over and over again is having their sales team and marketing team work completely independently of one another.
Webinars: Webinars are really powerful marketing tools. Like mini courses, webinars allow you to showcase your knowledge on a topic to your audience, with the difference that this is done as a live event—which allows your leads to have direct contact with you. As you might expect, webinars are considerably more time consuming than other tactics, but you can expect higher engagement and conversion rates from those who attend your live session.   
Lead nurturing is the process of actively engaging with leads via email campaigns. By interacting with leads, whether top, middle or bottom, with relevant nurturing campaigns you keep them interested and groom them into paying customers. With CRM software, you can utilize tools like sales campaigns to be in contact with leads from the time they enter your funnel to when they make a purchase. Send out scheduled emails based on lead’s behavior, use templates, and track the performance of every campaign in the CRM to turn your prospects into customers.
Close rate – Your close rate (or “win rate”) refers to the number of these opportunities that turn into eventual sales. If your close rate is lower than you expect, look at some of the other metrics you’re tracking for ideas on improving the success rate of your marketing funnel. You may be sending sales unqualified leads because your content is for a far more technically savvy audience while your ideal customer is a novice.
So where do we go from here?  The funnel and Customer Decision Journey aren’t going away.  They are useful models, and will continue to be helpful in certain contexts.  But marketing today requires a new mental map to navigate a changing landscape. We need a model that informs marketers how to enable and empower, not just persuade and promote.  There are a variety of alternatives including journey, orbit, relationship, and experience.
For different types of businesses, buyer needs at the problem/need recognition stage – top of  the funnel (TOFU) – are different. If you’re running a consulting business, for example, then your clients already realize that they’re having certain problems around your service area – like a high cost per lead (if you’re in marketing) or disorganized spending (if you’re in accounting).
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