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.
Molly might conclude that anybody who fills out her online demonstration request form is an MQL. Another company might set the bar to MQL qualification at something involving a combination of viewing specific pages, interacting with certain forms, and opening a certain number of email messages. For that kind of analysis, we recommend marketing automation software.
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.
Reviews are the second golden ticket for middle of the funnel digital marketing—92% of online consumers read them, and 88% of them trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Here’s one probable explanation why: Consumers don’t trust advertising and marketing anymore, if they ever really did. Now, it’s no longer shut-your-eyes-and-hope-for-a-good-refund-policy—people can effectively shop based on others’ experiences (which is one reason customer service is so important).
If the deal is won, your sales reps move the deal to the won stage in the pipeline and begin onboarding the new customer. Some leads may slip through the cracks for reasons that are beyond the control of your sales techniques, like budget constraints. It is important to keep a record of the lost leads too so you can track the reasons why you lost them, and nurture those prospects in the future to win back their business and relationship.
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.
Awareness and Friend: This stage covers all leads who might know you’re your company is but that are not known in their database. The company understands that a lead might be visiting their website or downloading an ebook, but has not formally identified himself. These leads are curious about your organization; they are often brought in through inbound marketing efforts such as social media and content.
Much of this is steeped in buyer psychology. The best marketers in the world know that there is a psychological process that must occur for prospects to whip out those credit cards and turn into buyers or even hyper-active buyers. One such person whose perfected this process is Russell Brunson, an "underground entrepreneur" who founded a company called ClickFunnels, a sales funnel SaaS business that empowers marketers from around the world to build marketing automation without all the hassle.
Prospects next need time to figure out if making a purchase is the best option. At this point, it often makes sense to back off a bit. In our car salesman example, an important part of the evaluation process is the test drive. Depending on your industry, you may want to give someone a free sample or demo. If you aren’t selling in-person, videos can be extremely effective here. Often, during the evaluation process, prospects need to talk to others about the potential purchase, so this is where building up a loyal fan base comes in handy.
Offer a free mini course: If you are in the business of monetizing your knowledge and expertise, a mini course is an excellent way to provide additional value to your visitors while also building your own image as an expert. Mini courses might take more work to create, but they also have the benefit of being perceived as more valuable than ebooks and PDFs.
How to get started: If you want to do this at a conference, start by making sure that it’s ok with the organizers if you share content on your website with the people you are speaking to. Most of the times they will be ok with it and give you some pointers on what you can or can’t do, but for certain large conferences you might not be allowed to do this. To get people to visit your website, create content that is highly relevant to the topic of your talk and share it using a URL address that’s easy to write down or remember, as people will likely need to go back on their notes to visit your site.
For instance, if you’re selling marketing automation software to a startup, showcase a startup that 10X-ed their leads. If you’re selling the enterprise version of that marketing software, share a case study from another enterprise company. The enterprise case study is too aspirational for the startup, and the startup case study doesn’t work in front of a huge global marketing team.