If you’re thinking about funnels (and not the sort you find in the kitchen), you’re likely already experiencing success and looking for ways to ramp it up.
You have a great product (or service) and your sales team are already doing a solid job. There’s a healthy number of sales ticking the business over but there’s that niggly feeling that it’s not quite what you’d hoped for and you know there’s scope for more. There’s appetite to grow the business, and quickly, but it’s difficult to know where to start and at the same time, you can’t you afford to get it wrong.
If this sounds all too familiar, read on friend. We’re here to give you some ideas on next steps.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A FUNNEL + PIPELINE
Before we get stuck in though, let’s clarify the difference between the pipeline and the funnel. The pipeline is the process and stages you use to take them from prospect to customer. The funnel is what you use to attract those leads in the first place.
BUILDING THE FUNNEL
You wouldn’t be an ambitious business owner if you weren’t always looking for ways of generating more business. Recognising there is room for growth is exciting but can also be confusing. Every creative and marketing agency will be suggesting different activities. So how do you cut through the noise and know what’s right for your business? How do you attract more leads?
No doubt about it building a healthy marketing funnel is a great way to build on your current successes and try out new ways to generate leads.
For this article, we’ll concentrate on the funnel (not the pipeline) with a view to helping you know how to attract more prospects.
WHAT SHOULD A MARKETING FUNNEL LOOK LIKE?
Much as Bond likes his favourite drink… – in a Martini glass.
THAT is what a good marketing funnel should look like and here’s why:
- Wide at the rim. The idea is to capture as large an audience as possible – all potential leads.
- Narrowing fairly quickly. You want to filter out anyone that isn’t the right fit for you as early on as possible, even before it hits the sales team if you can. This where marketing assesses and qualifies the quality of the leads coming in (marketing qualified leads aka MQL). After all, we don’t have precious time to waste on people who are not going to be good customers. So you want to get rid of them as soon as possible and focus instead on those who represent a real opportunity to the business.
- A straight stem. This can be as long as it needs to be for your customer journey, but anyone that hits the stem so to speak is a sales qualified lead (affectionately abbreviated to SQL) and the aim is to convert them into an actual paying customer as soon as you can. (Hint, hint, this is when your pipeline will come in handy!)
HOW TO GENERATE MORE LEADS
It’ll come as no surprise that there are many different channels (sources) and activities you can do to generate leads for the business. These can include (but of course are not limited to):
- Paid advertising
- Organic website visitors
- Cold campaigns
- Referrals and referral partners
This list is not exhaustive. We can’t give it all away, can we? 😉 New methods of attracting leads are popping up all the time – because technology changes and so do people. So it’s best to approach your sales and marketing funnel as a continuous progress – always keeping on the lookout for new ways and means to draw in more leads.
Neither should this list be viewed as the minimum standard. There is no one size fits all in marketing. Not all marketing activities and channels will be viable for your business = fact. The flavour of “best practice” for you may very likely be dictated by industry and sector you operate in and what your competitors are doing. But also being open to trying new things and to “dipping a toe” in the right waters could lead to surprising results. Fortune favours the bold (as the old adage goes).
Your goals as a business will determine the right goals for your funnel – more volume of leads, better quality (higher conversion rates), more value per lead and/or a cheaper cost per lead acquisition to name a few. So keep open-minded, keep your ears to the ground and encourage innovation from your team.
TESTING + MANAGING THE FUNNEL
Just as the process of building the funnel is continuous; its performance will only be effective if well-managed.
In its simplest, high level form, this means following three simple steps:
- Regular performance reviews. Check what is working well and what’s not. That means for the funnel as a whole as well as source by source
- Identify, introduce and test new lead gen opportunities.
- Put reporting mechanisms in place to help you measure what’s driving the best leads (and sales) for the business.
Remember that what’s best for you and your business may not be best for your neighbour and theirs. Having a clear vision and purpose, as well as defining the key performance indicators (KPIs) of what success looks like for you is crucial to keeping your sales and marketing funnel in good shape and working at optimum.
As we mentioned before, we’ve worked with 100+ businesses on building, implementing and managing their sales funnels. If you need help with yours then get in touch today. We’re here to shake things up a bit, or maybe cause a stir. (Too much?!)