Is it too early to be considering your business’s New Year resolutions? 2020 is just around the corner and whatever the outlook in your industry, making more sales is likely to top your wishlist. One of the headaches associated with devising a sales strategy is down to options. Now we have so many options at our disposal, from email marketing to social media advertisements. So, how can you choose where to put your money and guarantee the best results?
The truth is, most businesses do not have the financial backing or the time to trial-and-error different methods and find their eureka sales strategy. They require instant answers that will help them maintain or increase sales figures in the present. In these common situations, it may be better for you to avoid the “which marketing tools should I use?” question – and instead focus on your sales funnel.
What Is a Sales Funnel?
A sales funnel is the process of leading a potential customer to your products. The funnel will include various stages and it is the business’s job to keep the customer engaged within the funnel to make a purchase (or re-purchase). The customer can fall out of the funnel at any moment and a sale is then lost. Different stages of a sales funnel have been proposed. One of the most popular illustrations include:
- The awareness phase: the consumer becomes aware of your business and its offerings
- Interest phase: the consumer is interested in your products and services
- Evaluating: the consumer evaluates your products against a competitors’. Note, they are already within the sales funnel of another business similar to yours at this time. You want them to fall out of their sales funnel and remain in yours.
- Purchasing: the consumer purchases your products. This may involve a negotiation phase prior to the purchase.
- Evaluating: the consumer evaluates their own decision to buy from you. This is more likely to happen if they are buying a monthly or annual service.
- Rejoining at the interest phase: if their evaluation was positive, the consumer is likely to re-enter your sales funnel at the interest phase.
Why Most Sales Funnels Are Ineffective
The most successful businesses have devised foolproof sales funnels that keep on churning out new repeat customers. This is because they have considered all phases of the funnel and have automated the early stages. Many businesses neglect these earlier stages or do not apply enough focus on them, waiting in hope of new customers rather than creating an effective way to get noticed.
The two initial phases are crucial because without promoting your business and engaging interest, the funnel will always be empty and stopping the possibility for more sales. These earlier phases may also be known as demand generation and lead generation.
Filling Your Funnel: Demand generation and lead generation
Demand generation and lead generation are key to producing a fruitful sales funnel, but they are terms often wrongfully used interchangeably. Demand generation is the process of increasing interest in your business and lead generation engages interest in your products. They somewhat fit into the first two phases of a sales funnel, but not entirely.
Demand generation can be achieved in any way that puts your business and its branding out there. Some common examples include mentions within blog posts, social media posts, YouTube videos, interviews and case studies. Lead generation could also use some of these methods but lead generation services also include things like email marketing and appointment setting campaigns.
What Are Appointment Setting Campaigns?
Appointment setting is an effective way of getting in front of the right people. They can work for both businesses selling to other businesses and those that sell to the general public. Yet, they are more commonly adopted by B2B sales organizations who want to get their products in front of their industry’s key decision makers.
To do just that your business will need to arrange appointments to meet with these leading figures. Appointment setting campaigns maximize your chances of filling your schedule with these valuable appointments because they contact a large number of relevant contacts on your behalf. Simultaneously filling up your sales funnel.
How to Get Lead Generation Right
Very few businesses have the budget or numbers to perfect their lead generation. It can often involve handling or ownership of niche technologies. Not to forget an extensive amount of market research and contacts. That does not mean businesses are incapable of solid lead generation alone, but sales figures are more likely to increase when outsourcing the responsibility to companies who specialize in B2C or B2B lead generation services. The benefits of using a specialist group include:
- Appointment setting campaigns are often unachievable without the help of companies with the relevant tools and skills. Thus, appointment setting experts are worth the investment from that point alone, but also because they have proven results spanning a wide range of industries.
- They already have a list of contact details of the people who will be interested in your products.
- They can add large numbers to your sales funnel in a short period, helping businesses to overcome underperforming spells rapidly.
In a Nutshell
Most businesses worry about spending their marketing funds in the right areas and how to know if their chosen avenues will make them the most sales. These questions are difficult to answer for most small and medium enterprises. It can therefore be more beneficial to deflect attention to your sales funnel and ask how you can increase the volume of potential buyers in your funnel.
To do this you will need to concentrate on the early stages by making people aware of your businesses and engaging their interest. Demand generation and lead generation are key, especially the latter which can be outsourced to specialist companies who can fill up your funnel with the right people, fast!