We all get so caught up in the obsession to attract and gain new customers that sometimes we lose sight of the prize; The profit we can secure when we manage our sales funnel at a forensic level.
Ask most marketers and sales people how they make money in business and they’ll likely tell you it’s all about running campaigns, selling and counting the cash at the end of each month. Many will have no idea about what’s really happening through their sales funnel and the varied and numerous opportunities to glean more value at every stage in that process.
So let’s get forensic and dive deeply into the opportunities at each step of the way.
The sales funnel begins at a macro (big picture) level. Know the big trends in the world right now and figure out how they impact you and your customers. Know that these trends are here, whether you like it or not and there is nothing you can do to change them. That’s the definition of macro trends. Think customer mobility, because of smartphone usage. Think community, and the impact that influencers have in the communities in which your customers reside. Think how your customers consume information and media channels. It used to be images and video and now audio is making a big comeback in the form of voice activated devices, in the home, in the hand and on the wrist.
Think about the micro (closer to your business) level. Things happening and trending in your industry or market sector. What are your competitors up to? What are your industry associations and influential bodies reporting as trends? You need to factor these trends into your plans and sales funnel thinking.
Then focus on your campaigns and marketing communications. Make a different journey for new prospect lead generation versus lead generation from your existing customers. The language, education, tone of voice, intimacy and channels may be very different for prospects compared to existing customers because of where each individual is in their customer journey. One size does not fit all. So the next time you think about a marketing campaign, make sure you turn that into marketing campaigns, plural. A/B testing rules.
And know that your customer isn’t just experiencing your wonderful campaign. They are directly comparing you to the alternatives; your hungry competitors, who they may view as being just as qualified and worthy of their purchase as you are. Keep your ego in a cage. You’re products and services are nothing special. Figure out how you can add value to the relationship with your customer without even talking about your products and services and focus on your customers’ outcomes of the relationship. How will their world be better and different, by deciding upon you?
“Let your competitors wallow in descriptions of features and benefits whilst you grab the customers’ attention through real value propositions.”
And the next step in the sales funnel process is the conversion. That all-important decision point where the customer selects you over the others. How are you making it easy for them to do so? Did you secure their trust? What else could you have done to surprise and delight them?
Staying at a forensic level, consider the next step. The revenue that you secured from the sale. Could it have been more? What else could you have sold to your customer now you have both their attention and trust? How else could you have added incremental value to their world? Think about your augmented product; The wrapper around your product, the guarantee, or warranty, the extra level of customer support or VIP tiered service.
And do you know how much it cost to secure that sale? Cost of sale is a key hidden value maker, or breaker, in your profitability assessment. If you made what looks like a great revenue sale, but it cost you a small fortune to do so, then it’s time to rethink your target audience or pricing.
Not all customers and not all sales are as profitable as others. The secret is to know who are your most profitable, and most easily reached, prospects and customers. Simply because the competition are clamouring after the same market segment or customer profile, does not mean you necessarily have to as well. Some of the most profitable companies in the world are those who focus on niche markets with niche products. They know their sales funnel and the value they add, at a forensic level of detail.
Every thing is cyclical, so even if the sun is shining on your sales figures right now, the laws of the universe and economics say it will rain later, before the sunshine returns again.
The trick is to patiently plan for the future and then consistently execute your plan with a forensic tenacity, each and every day.