We talk a lot about sales funnels with our Clients. So much so that I thought it was finally time that we took the lid off ours and sort of put our money where our money is JBefore I lift the veil, let me just preface by saying what I have always said: sales funnels do not need to be complex! I’m sure you’ve seen those complex webs of interlinking shapes floating around that people tend to use as examples of robust sales funnels.

There’s always a time and place for complexity and I have built my fair share of behemoths. With that said, more often than not you’re going to be served by just keeping it simple…as our sales model attests to. Obviously we’ve left out the more complex nuances like automated nurtures, goals and dependencies. However, the core concept of our sales funnel is exactly as outlined below.

the-solutions-8-sales-funnel

Remember, this is the sales funnel, which means this is the logic that applies when a prospect has reached the bottom of the sales funnel and is ready to engage with a sales person. For lead magnets, opt-ins, webinar registrations and other “top of the funnel” campaigns we would have a much different, more “hands off” process.

  • Friendly chat:
    • As soon as a lead comes in we immediately try to schedule a phone call. There’s no ceremony to the call and we stay as far away from a script as possible. This is by design. Because they have more than likely traveled through our entire marketing funnel, there’s a strong chance that we know a lot about this prospect already. The phone call is where person-to-person relationship building can really take root. It is important that the prospect feels heard and that we allow them to direct the call in a way that speaks to the issues that are top of mind for them. There will be more than enough time for direction, identifying opportunities and doing all of that other “sales stuff.” For now, we just like to do a good ol’ fashioned get to know ya.
    • If the prospect is qualified and sounds like someone we’d like to explore working with, we move to the opportunity finder. If not, we offer a strong recommendation for an alternative resource and offer to make an introduction. If we end the call without providing a solution (or at least a potential solution) then we’re not fulfilling our promise as solution providers and can leave a negative impression on the prospect.
  • Opportunity finder:
    • The opportunity finder is a form that we ask new prospects to complete in order to give us a better sense as to where they are with their digital marketing. In some cases we actually fill this form out with them while we’re still on the initial call. In other cases we’ll send the form to them and ask them to complete it at their convenience. More often than not this will result in an automated nurture sequence that follows up regularly until the form has been submitted.
    • The opportunity finder is simple enough not to scare away anyone. It doesn’t take more than 20 minutes to complete and also doesn’t ask anything too intrusive. At the same time, it is robust enough to give us a very good indication of where the prospect is and where there may be some low-hanging fruit.
  • Opportunity review:
    • We make it a point to always review the opportunities with the prospect over the phone. This allows us to continue to build a relationship and also ensures that there’s nothing lost in translation over email. There are almost always far more opportunities than we can pursue in any single initiative and it isn’t uncommon to find out that the prospect isn’t at all interested in a specific strategy or approach. When we review the opportunities together with the prospect it turns into more of a brainstorming session and ends up being far more collaborative. This helps set the stage for the nature of the engagement, since that’s exactly how we want our clients to view us: partners in their strategy.
    • When we’ve been able to identify one or a handful of opportunities that the prospect is excited about, we then move forward with an audit of their existing infrastructure and marketing.
    • After reviewing the available opportunities it isn’t uncommon to find that the prospects might want a service that isn’t in our wheel house. In some cases they might have needs or expectations that aren’t aligned with our offering or process. As always, we make every attempt to introduce them to someone in our vast network of strategic partners that might be better suited to that specific deliverable.
  • Audit requirements form:
    • The audit requirements form collects the information necessary for us to complete a full marketing audit. The requirements will change depending upon the opportunities that we have identified. However, it usually equates to access credentials to various tools and online profiles, as well as any reports or historic data the prospect has available.
  • Audit and proposal:
    • We put as much work into the audit as is possible. This is our opportunity to truly shine and show the prospect what we are capable of as thought leaders and as partners.
    • Based upon the opportunities that we know the prospect is interested in pursuing, coupled with our findings in the in-depth audit, we create a robust proposal.
  • Proposal review:
    • Again, we review the proposal together with the prospect over the phone. I always advise very strongly against simply lobbing proposals over the fence and crossing your fingers. Instead, we are there to walk the prospect through the proposal, explain our findings, provide additional detail and context on the proposed approach and answer any questions they may have.
    • If the prospect is interested in moving forward then we move them on to our onboarding process.
    • If the prospect turns down our proposal, we’ll place them in a very soft redemption campaign. This typically equates to a few emails with high value content as well as a possible check-in from a sales person once every few months. Oftentimes prospects turn down a proposal because they feel that they’re not ready to take on something as robust as a full-funnel campaign. We’re typically able to re-engage with about 20 % of our missed opportunities simply by staying in touch with them.
  • Onboarding form:
    • This is our deep dive “ask” of all new clients. The onboarding form is completed by the client and their executive staff. It can take an hour or more and asks the client to give us everything we need in order to become their backend marketing team.
  • Onboarding process and living plan:
    • Once the form has been completed, we will review the submissions with the client and build a client profile. This is then circulated internally so that our entire staff has the ability to acquaint themselves with the client.
    • Within this process is the creation of our proprietary living plan. The living plan is an ongoing marketing plan that we use to measure, manage and track a campaign’s performance. Everything necessary to the management of the campaign lives within the living plan and everyone who is working with the campaign (clients, vendors, strategic partners and internal employees) has access to it so that everyone is on the same page.
  • Manage, optimize & ascend:
    • Now we go to work! The ongoing part of the engagement begins and the sales funnel has officially closed. From here the client will enter one or a handful of other relevant funnels according to their needs and interests. We will always continue to service and optimize our clients. Hopefully we are given the opportunity to ascend some of our clients into more in-depth engagements as they experience success.