Converting the Middle of the Funnel

How are you optimizing the middle of your sales funnel?

The middle of the funnel is where sales lead nurturing and follow-up happen. After you get interest from initial contacts from your inbound or outbound selling, there is a phase of trust-building which requires consistency and strategic touches.

The best kind of salespeople to work this sales process are service-oriented people that want to provide a high level of personal service and care.

While you may have gotten attention in the beginning, you now have the job of organizing the pipeline of interested sales opportunities and nurture them with content, information and relationship building.

The failure point in the middle of the sales funnel comes down to people. You want timeliness and relevant information consistently. Ultimately, you are asking people to perform like machines when it comes to sales conversion in the middle of the funnel.

Some of the challenge to gain consistency is to use marketing automation which triggers messaging based on sales prospect behaviors such as a page visit, a clicked link or even no response after a period of time.

The success that sales organizations have had vary based on the management of systems, process and content. It’s a highly involved process that requires full engagement and analysis of sales conversion milestones.

Did buyers move to expected next steps?

Is the ordering, format and presentation of content optimized?

Do salespeople work productively to follow-up 5-12 times?

Are all the buyer profiles captured and accounted for in customer journeys?

Your middle of the funnel approach is not a one and done. It is an ongoing strategic and analytical approach. You let the data accumulated from marketing automation systems and your inside sales team’s follow-up tell you how to adjust your approach.

Ultimately, the goal is to set up a bottom of the funnel event such as a presentation, closing conversation or executive handoff.

Do you have the right systems and talent to make your middle of the funnel process work?

Sales Targeting

We know that everyone is not your customer. A lot of time, money and energy can be wasted in the wrong places and with the wrong people if your sales approach lacks strong sales targeting.

Anyone can mass email, blast aimlessly or waste people’s attention and time. It takes more strategic thinking and effort to dial in how to target your prospective customers and start the conversations with them based on who they are and how they like to engage.

It’s why we work on the sales conversion strategy with thorough effort and attention to the data that your buyers generate from their responses or lack thereof. Analysis of the data and designing the strategy take a lot of work and it is the preparation which allows your investment in your selling pay off. It is aiming in the right direction with the right approach.

We start with sales targeting and then test out our assumptions by executing sales as a partner to drive sales conversations. As we are working the sales process, we are learning, assimilating and refining the approach based on the data that comes back from your audience engagement.

Selling has a lot of moving pieces but there is usually a sales process which emerges and matches how people like to buy. That creates the funnel we are looking for to set up sales conversations with your business development people that can manage the conversation and drive sales conversion deals.

You can just try harder and work. But if you assume that you are likely not dialed in efficiently and that there is a way to approach your customers with much higher probabilities for having relevant sales conversations, then take a step back. Analyze what is happening first. Get some conclusions. Test your assumptions. Build something that will flow continuously for your sales pipeline.

Would you want to optimize your sales targeting?

Setting Up the Sales Opportunity Funnel

If you think of selling and how your previous customers bought, you will likely find that the highest conversion happens after a sales opportunity at the bottom of the funnel. You had a conversation of some sort before they decided to accept your proposal or product order.

Before the high conversion sales opportunity comes, there are a lot of low conversion events that have to take place within your sales funnel such as:

  • Nurturing and follow-up. Keeping relevant information, interest and conversations going consistently on a weekly basis.
  • Attraction and attention. Getting through the noise and allow people to find you online or notice you on social channels.
  • Positioning and branding. Ensuring anyone that lands on your site or pages understands who you are, what you do and why you matter
  • Sales metrics and dashboards. Keeping the relevant digital information front and center so you can act and react to trends and information on a macro scale for engagement.
  • Initial engagement. Reacting with speed to interest on your store front, site or landing pages and persuading people towards a next step.

The setup of a sales funnel has to be done with the customer journey carefully crafted. Then from the initial assumptions, you have to watch carefully and test how the customer travels through the funnel.

At each conversion point, you can do A/B testing to see what makes sense to improve sales conversions.

The goal is to set up the high conversion sales opportunities at the bottom of the funnel. If you can get the opportunity, then the sale becomes a formality. It’s a bit of art and engineering combined with feedback from reality.

Do you have a sales opportunity funnel built? Or are you heavily focused on one part of the sales funnel?

Consider partnering with us to help you build more sales opportunities for ROI.

Fixing the Selling Funnel at the Top

Are you fishing in crowded ponds?

The selling funnel for most businesses has the following sales conversion stages:

  1. Getting found online via a sales channel
    1. Social selling
    2. Google Search ranking
    3. Paid online advertising
  2. A store or site visitor exploring your content on your site
  3. A prospective customer wanting to engage in a conversation by filling out a web form or calling in
  4. sales conversation for a proposal or purchase.

You can make an efficient conversion process from steps 2-4. If you have decent sales people, then it is expected for them to convert a large percentage of qualified prospective customers and leads. Otherwise, why are they there? Having a 20%-50% sales conversion at the bottom of the funnel is efficient and repeatable.

The middle of your funnel can be tweaked as you gain data and insights to ensure you are talking to serious people that want to buy. It’s a qualification and filtering approach.

But Step 1, getting found, the top part of your funnel is critical to feeding the sales conversion process.

For this, you have to gain the feedback from existing customers and even those that don’t convert. Knowing why someone buys, where they came from and using strategies that embed you in the right places is critical. It’s about fishing in the right ponds instead of simply becoming better at your craft of reeling in your catch.

Consider a strategy that enlarges the top of your funnel by:

  1. Picking channels and opportunities where your buyers hang out. Getting this statistical data from existing customers you may have attracted without insights is a great starting place.
  2. Analyze the sales place they come from and make a strategy for attraction.
  3. Predict your traffic and visitors based on your research.
  4. Test out your assumptions and positioning with various messaging and tactical approaches.
  5. Go big on what emerges as a working model that will fill the top of the sales funnel.

You can guess on your selling. But that will not scale unless you have intelligence. Furthermore, selling in today’s overcrowded marketplace has challenges from the dynamic continually changing preferences of buyers.

What is your demand generation top of the funnel strategy? Want to know more?

Keeping the Sales Opportunity Funnel Continuous

Sales never ends. Your business exists to service customers that find value in what you offer. The challenge of keeping your sales opportunity funnel continuous for deal making has to be a primary strategy that you address.

Ultimately, there are a limited set of strategies to work with new customers. It’s best to analyze your market and how buyers engage similar offerings with competitors in benchmarks.

Furthermore, you can take a look at your existing customers you have won and examine how they became customers. Then invest your budget, resources and attention towards those places that have worked. Refine the approach to attracting new prospects and keep conversion metrics front and center on a monthly basis.

For those prospects that do express interest, you have the task of nurturing, following up and educating them about the benefits of your offering. A system that will touch a person multiple times, perhaps even a dozen times over many months is required. You may start this with people on your team that are service-oriented.

The metrics for sales conversion here have to be gathered and analyzed for continuous improvement as well. Your messaging and efficiency that comes from top performers on your team can be examined for what the key influencing points are and that can be magnified for sales efficiency.

The sales opportunity funnel often has a lot of moving pieces and data builds up over time. To keep the sales conversion working over time and the funnel full, you have to see what truly works and where to emphasize more of your efforts and resources.

Start by establishing a baseline of metrics that you can examine and track over time. From there, watch what is working and what is lagging. Your industry benchmarks will shed light on what is a reasonable goal.

Keeping your sales funnel continuous requires tweaking and upgrading where the data leads you. It’s an exercise in continuous and vigilant management and analysis practices.

How are you tracking your sales conversion metrics for efficiency?