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Revenue sustainability in sales is always a major concern for startups, and we at UILO as a growing on-demand sales startup, always have been wondering more about how to stay optimistic in business and how to face such challenges to keep business afloat. The usual questions being for anyone like us would be, what are ways for sales teams to gain new customers at a competitive pricing? How do we keep current customers engaged over basic subscriptions? How do we ensure that they will continue to purchase our products and services at medium bucket tiers? Investing in an effective sales funnel as part of your marketing is a very good strategy that will help answer most of these questions.

A sales funnel is, "a series of steps designed to guide visitors toward a buying decision." Depending on how your sales process is structured, funnels can grow your email list, turn your leads into purchasing customers, and work on retainers, increasing your sales revenue practically on auto-pilot. A great case study is a technical courses startup, that sold a part of their courses for free, as a way to get customers in sales funnel. Within 30 days, they gained 750+ new email subscribers and generated 3000+ subscribers in a year's notice.

We detail some proven methods to bring prospects further into your sales funnel, allowing you to create a better environment for making a sale. Here's an overview on steps in a working sales funnel.

Get Traffic To Your Website

All effective sales funnels have a great traffic source, whether it be through webinars, referrals, blogs, or videos, your business needs a way to direct customers to your website. Once your customers engage with your business through any of these sources, you need to include a call-to-action, also known as a CTA, directing them to next step of your sales funnel, which could be signing up with your email list, or contacting you for more information.

And, here's a small word of caution for new startups and small business owners. Boycott free services like Efty, Wix, Squarespace, and any platforms that own the lead data, and eventually ask you to pay for your own lead data. Sadly such deceptive sales practices for lead generation are not well evident among new startups who love to drink their koolaid. Why should everything be free?

Engage Leads With A Free Offers

Once you have an established your lead pooling, next step in your funnel process is to continue to getting customers more involved with your business from these sources. For example, if your traffic source directs potential customers to your website, you can offer vistors a free deliverable, in exchange for their email or personal appointment, which is pretty valuable to your business. This helps process of walking leads through your sales funnel, and getting them closer to making a purchase. Your offer can take on a number of forms, but it needs to be something that relates to your actual product/services. Include informational reports, a free trial period for a service,a course, an e-book, or a sample.

Marketing Intent Data

In a world of data-driven marketing, it is more important than ever for sales professionals to be able to understand and properly utilize the data they are collecting. It is one thing to get into the swing of big data and start watching leads flow into your sales funnels, but it is quite another thing to be able to use such a data to your advantage. Before intent data, content marketing was a matter of analyzing data that showed how certain content performed under certain circumstances. The key here is to streamline the content marketing.

One of the more recent tools introduced into the marketing world is "buyer intent" data. Using heat maps and other indicators, marketing companies can tell when users engage with certain types of web pages and online features. For example, one person might notice a user who read an article on magazine about data storage or cloud technology and filled out a form for more information on a data storage website.

MAKE A CUSTOMER

NOT A SALE

First-party intent data is information that can be gathered from your own marketing platform regarding actions of your own traffic. Third-party intent data is sold by marketing companies and covers a much broader range of websites and online service providers. A combination of first and third party intent data is going to help you to drive more revenue. But first-party intent data can give you very specific information about consumers who show most interest in your company.

Prospect Warm-up – Webinars/Ebooks

There are various steps to a sales funnel, but an ability to turn prospects into customers is a key. While it is always possible to monetize targeted traffic, an effective customer acquisition system will allow your business to thrive. Converting cold traffic is always difficult, so it is vital to have a system in place to warm customers up.

Offering a free webinar or ebook is a way of introducing people to your product. An ebook should ideally help or educate a reader, while showing, a sample of your main product. A reader should finish webinar/ebook and help them gain something of value. If free webinar or ebook is of great quality and advantage to your client, an obvious assumption is that your paid product will be exceptional.

Free/Cheap Trial

Asking visitors to buy your product on first visit can be a stretch. However, offering a free or cheap trial can be a great way to bring these visitors into your sales funnel. While many trial members will not stick around, there will be enough who are impressed by quality. Signing up to a trial, or even paying a small amount of money, is an initial step that shows a level of intent.

Low-Cost Introductory Product

While it won't bring in as many prospects as a free trial, a low-cost introductory product can still turn a cold prospect into a buyer. You might not make any profit from this initial sale, but your aim will be to move this customer onto your main product. If you have an extensive product, using one part of product for your introductory offer can save you time.

Email List

Email open rates may not be what they once were, but you can still get great success with an email campaign. Cold traffic is difficult to sell to because visitors have not built a relationship with you, so regular email correspondence can bridge this gap. Your email series can use a combination of content, education, relationship building, and direct selling to create a bond that leads to frequent remarketing opportunities.

Anticipating interest with intent data, you can determine when a particular prospect has been qualified asthat prospect interacts with your website. Based on a prospect's engagement with your website, you can tell what types of products/services they are interested in, and you can even determine where they are in the sales funnel. For example, a prospect who is absorbing preliminary information on a subject is at interest stage of sales funnel, but a prospect who is looking into application information could be ready to buy.

Good luck selling!