The sales funnel, as we may have known it in the past, is somewhat dead from a traditional sense. But, the digital era we are in can argue and demonstrate that the sales funnel has transformed into something much more alive than it has ever been.
Over the years, the “sales funnel” has evolved into more of an “execution and retention funnel”. The way consumers come in and out of the funnel makes their buying behaviors much more unpredictable. Because of that, marketing plays a much bigger role earlier in the process. Do you know over 60% of buyers have already made a decision based on what they have read, seen or researched online before a salesperson has contacted them? This is a big shift in the way consumers do business and your company has to be able to meet these needs or face the harsh reality that a competitor will.
You really need to be in-tune with what buyers are engaging in and why.
The marketing process should provide relevant content and purpose to your value proposition. A good marketing message will create buyer intentions early, before the actual hand-off to sales. This is a necessity for digital marketing success today.
Which means, the overall process really has 2 distinct funnels for success, a marketing funnel and a sales funnel, that work together, ultimately, to convert and execute lead and demand generation engagement more rapidly and with a much higher degree of success. In most cases, you'll achieve well over 70% better conversion rates than traditional means.
Sales and Marketing need to be, using the old cliché, more attached at the hip.
The sales team wants leads that have that clear intent to purchase. Marketing needs to create the personalization and human connection factor. These are essential to the success of your company message, growth and sustainability.
Retention is key. Through proper marketing nurture techniques, both existing and prospecting customers will engage in solid marketing tactics that define, develop and enhance your customer retention and sales success. Some tactics include:
- Empowering sales early in the nurture process, offering points of view, thought leadership and industry trends
- Utilizing email and blogs, even on a small budget
- Generating awareness by repurposing content (e.g. executive summaries, webinar content, key presentations)
- Promoting third party content
- Offering more touchpoints - it can take as little as 5 or as many as 25 or more touches to make a lead sales-ready
The goals of Sales and Marketing need to be shared and uniquely aligned in your digital marketing strategies versus the older traditional approach of "Sales versus Marketing".
Happy selling and marketing! The two disciplines need to work together more than ever to achieve the success and longevity that your company is looking for.