Marketing 101: Part 7 - Sales funnels? Whats that?
So, what is a sales funnel and how do you build one!
Something (mildly) controversial - Your marketing materials function is NOT to make sales! Different marketing materials are needed at different times in the sales process and your material is to support that process and get your target, lead or prospect to the next stage of a sales process.
Your marketing has ONE job and that is to get the client to the next stage of the sales process. NOTE it is a process and NOT a close - basic sales process follows a 'funnel' approach.
Here is a very basic 'sales funnel' - don't get overly confused by jargon or by people telling you there are hundreds of different sales funnels or methods (there are) but they all boil down to this simple process. (Please remember this is ALL about the client and NOT about you - good marketing always focuses on the problem being solved and the people that have that problem - you are 'only' the solution.
1. Long List Selection (Prospecting) - When someone has a problem they want to solve, the first thing they do is think about, and research possible solutions:
Want a new wedding dress? Oh where could I buy that? (Rack your memory, speak to friends, look up yellow pages (how old school!, search the web, look in magazines).
So the first job of your marketing in the sales process is to allow yourself to be found. Advertise and promote yourself where your targets are likely to look AND at a time they are likely to be looking.
Once they find you your marketing has only one task - and that is to get to the next stage. So what you have to do is make sure you are seen, remembered, and worthy of inclusion on the prospects short list selection.
2. Short List Selection - (Lead Generation) You need to convince your prospect that you might have the solution to their problem. Now you have to give them slightly more information, how do you solve the problem, time-scales, potential costs, and establish your credibility to do the job. (The second most viewed pages on web sites is the 'About' page - folk want to know you can do the job! Client testimonials and quotes also do this well.).
Having satisfied those needs your marketing materials at this stage has one function - to make the prospect make contact with your company and establish a dialogue. Now you have a LEAD. Now you are selling!
3. Selling - You have a lead to talk to so now you need to convert them from a lead to a client. In future emails I might talk about selling rather than marketing as there definite sales stages and understanding these helps close sales.
But you're not finished with your marketing materials yet. At this point you are most likely still in competition with at least one other entity and you might have to produce such things as case studies, quotes, presentations, contracts to help close the sale. These should all be well produced and professional, after all its not a sale until the client has paid!
Note: Even if you sell something quickly over the internet your client is going through the same processes - this could be a 5 min sales cycle, or you could be buying a new car, which car manufactures recognise as a 3 year sales cycle.
As I have stated before there is a lot to think about, but poor marketing is better than no marketing, and great marketing can lead to a very successful business. If you want help we have designers on hand that are experienced at grabbing attention and making your marketing materials stand out.
If you want any help with your marketing contact me today.
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