When you are running a business, generating new customers is all about leading them through your sales funnel, which requires you to know a lot of information. It includes the marketing touchpoints in the funnel, the actions that need to be taken by the prospect and the ‘end game plan.’
There are several benefits of knowing all this information. So, what are the advantages of knowing what your sales funnel looks like and how can you define it to make it more effective?
The Benefits of Knowing Your Sales Funnel
Not everything in your business can be automated. Sometimes, marketing and sales have to be done with a little human touch. Also, there are times when you can take advantage of seasonal behavior (i.e. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter) to create seasonal specific marketing messages that can’t be inserted into your regular sales process at other times of the year.
By knowing where a prospect is within the sales funnel, you can judge whether the time is right to contact them, or if it is too early. For instance, someone who has just joined your funnel is not the right person to contact and sell to. However, someone who has bought your products and written reviews might be a good person to upsell/cross-sell to.
Another benefit is that you can find holes and gaps within your sales funnel. It helps you limit the number of individuals who exit or stagnate while progressing down your funnel. Likewise, it gives you opportunities to re-engage prospects and bring them back on course through re-engagement campaigns.
Re-engagement campaigns should be completed on a regular basis as they help speed up the process of selling to prospects that have lost their way. Otherwise, they leave the process and then, when they are more interested in your product/services, they will start from the top of the sales funnel again.
Marketing Activities Are Connected
It can be easy to think of each channel as being separate from the other. In reality, this is far from the truth. Campaigns are interconnected, and you need to see them all as part of a single sales funnel. While prospects don’t have to touch or interact with every campaign or sales channel, they are likely to interact with more than one.
How to Determine What Your Sales Funnel Looks Like
There are numerous ways to determine the look and feel of your sales funnel. Some people draw them on what they conceive to be the customer’s purchasing journey. But, there are huge errors in this approach. Firstly, it doesn’t account for those who have lost their way in the process or have exited the sales funnel.
Secondly, it only considers your perspective and doesn’t look at the actual lifecycle of the sales process. Therefore, you don’t know what the real sales funnel looks like to your customers.
The best option is to take a cross section of your prospects and customers, and track their interactions (touchpoints) with your brand. Then for each candidate, draw their interactions on a journey plan. This might require that you ask customers about their experiences in surveys.
Once you’ve completed a cross section of your sales funnel journeys; you can look at the commonalities between them. It provides you with a general picture of how your prospects are interacting with and being sold to, by your company. It will also provide you with information such as:
- The most common entry points (search engines, social media, referrals, etc.)
- The most common endpoints (email marketing, sales call, visit premises, etc.)
- Where prospects leave the funnel
- Why prospects leave the funnel
- How long your prospects are in the funnel.
With this information, you can start to optimize your sales funnel to make it more efficient and shorter. You will then have lower customer acquisition costs.
By analyzing your customer’s journey, you can accurately determine what your sales funnel looks like. It can help you optimize your customer’s purchasing journey, lower costs and decrease funnel abandonment.