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.

Sharpen the Axe On Your Sales Funnel

Deforestation

Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe. ~ Abraham Lincoln

You are likely not getting the results you could have for selling. You may have started chopping, working hard and following the crowd hoping that putting up a social media presence and doing what everyone else is doing would open the magic door of sales.

Sharpening the axe can become less appealing because you don’t feel the sweat and toil from trying hard at something. That illusion can be seductive.

When it comes to building a continuous sales funnel that produces visitors, leads and deals, you can certainly guess at what may work. But the wasted money and time can be painful over months and years with a dull axe, an unsharp strategy.

Sharpening the axe requires research, analysis and strategic thinking about how you attract, win and keep your customers in a repeatable fashion. You have to look at the data, make meaning of the traffic and sources that drive your sales funnel, and implement the strategy that takes advantage of how your market is set up.

It’s why large brands spend so much time assimilating the vast amounts of data and sales conversion information that will help them build connections with their prospective customers. User behaviors, demographics, platform activity and density, as well as past customer behavior, can feed into profiling, targeting and strategies that help you connect in a logical and rational way with your buyers.

However, you have to value strategic thinking first. It means thinking more about what will work and ensuring you have the data to support your suppositions instead of simply opening a store or site and doing what you see those around you busy working at. You may have a lot of activity, however, to what end? Are you getting the results you desire?

There are millions of sites, stores and sales venues that are out there. Simply hanging your shingle out there is a losing strategy if you are not found or if you are largely ignored in the midst of the noise.

Can you afford to waste months guessing, especially when the data is out there to help you sharpen your axe?

How about doing the hard work of hard thinking. Do the analysis first. Study the data. Get insights into what is happening and where your highest payoffs will be and design the sales funnel in a way that makes selling easier with less cost and effort.

How is your sales funnel doing?

Qualifying Sales Opportunity Funnel Leads

Trying to talk to the whole world? How about narrowing your sales funnel?

There’s always that dilemma when designing and working your sales funnel. Your pipeline can be artificially fat if you let everyone in without some criteria on who is worth talking to for a sales conversation.

On the other hand if you are too narrow in your qualification criteria, you can miss opportunities that a good salesperson could convert.

Qualification is something that can help throttle the sales funnel so you are efficient and giving your team the highest probability chances to engage with and convert sales prospects.

When designing how to set up your sales opportunity funnel, consider allowing your leads to self-qualify. You can use simple criteria such as the BANT (Budget, Authority, Need and Timing) method in your questions:

  • What is your budget?
  • Are you or someone else responsible for making a decision on this product?
  • What is your need and how do you see our solution fitting?
  • Are you planning on buying now? If not, then how long before you decide?

Based on the answers you get either in online forms, sales engagement chats or initial discussions, develop a handoff with your sales opportunities to the right closing conversation team member.

They would then be responsible for converting the sale or negotiating and following up with the qualified lead until a “Yes” or a “No” is the outcome.

Not everyone is ready or wanting to buy and your design of the qualification process can keep your sales resources allocated to talking to the right people at the right time. You don’t want to waste cycles talking to unqualified people in your funnel. Allow your nurturing and messaging to do the work of creating interest and extracting their qualification based on their need and timing.

If you look at how efficiently your sales team is working, are you using qualification to set them up with the most optimal sales conversations? Want a better sales strategy?