Build Your Sales Pipeline With a Killer Sales Conversion Strategy
The basic idea of a sales funnel is self-explanatory – a lot of prospects come in at the top and a few prospects drip out the bottom and become customers. This painstaking approach to improving the sales funnel starts with a simple concept – be useful and add value at every stage of the process. Stop trying to sell and instead help people find what they need.
Sometimes, that means not mentioning your products/services at all.
Top of Funnel: Awareness – Attract the right traffic and build brand awareness.
Let’s look at this from the buyer’s perspective. Let’s say you are a buyer trying to understand the best method for optimizing a framus valve. You are searching because you know your enterprise framii are not efficient but you don’t yet completely understand why they are inefficient. As you search, you are trying to find a solution to a very specific problem. You don’t want to download a white paper about “How Acme Framus Corp delivers optimized framus valves” because that white paper is clearly marketing propaganda instead of something useful that adds value to your search.
Instead,you find more value in a white paper titled “10 Ways to Diagnose Inefficient Framus Valves.” In other words, you need education, not persuasion. At the top of the funnel, the future buyer is not looking at solutions. They are simply in a discovery process and trying to understand what is out there and what options are available. Trying to sell at this stage is usually premature.
Middle of Funnel: Evaluation – Generate content lead prospects want and need.
Once you have demonstrated leadership, delivered value and you have earned the prospect’s interest, your job is to move prospects into the middle of the funnel. The sales conversion rate formula for success is a difficult one at the middle of the funnel; the job is to tie education, thought-leadership and practical guidance together with your brand — all without overselling. In the middle of the funnel, you don’t want to push too hard because your solution is being considered (along with your competitors). Thus, the middle of the funnel is mostly about differentiation vis-a-vis competitive solutions.
In the middle of the funnel, your content marketing should try to elicit feedback. What are your prospect’s concerns? What specific issues are they trying to solve? What are their needs? Do they need to see comparative feature lists, pricing breakdowns, product briefs, TCO studies, analyst recommendations, price sheets, or PPTs they can use to educate other internal stakeholders? At the middle of the funnel most companies find themselves lacking the type of deep dive material that most prospects want and need. In our experience, we’ve found that repurposing old RFP content can quickly generate a sufficient volume of middle-funnel content.
Bottom of Funnel: Negotiation – Understand what’s needed for the final push.
The bottom of the funnel is where you put the finishing touches on your sales conversion strategy. If you have a SaaS product, free trials, demos and, even better, fully featured demo accounts, can help move the prospect forward. No matter where you are in the funnel, our belief is that all your content marketing, all your follow-up emails, everything should be focused on adding value – not what you think is valuable – what the buyer thinks is valuable.
When you ask the right kind of questions at the right points in the process, you’ll win over more prospects and establish leadership early. Of course, look for ways to refine the performance of the funnel or fix disconnects where your message doesn’t match the buyer’s intent. So how can we help you improve your sales funnel?
Macon Raine is a B2B marketing agency. For every stage of your funnel, we can help you with content strategy, technology and execution.