INSET: Dante's Inferno based on 'The Divine Comedy' designed as a dungeon crawl, a bottom-up approach for sifting souls, allegorically representing a soul's journey towards God. Depicts how souls get through 9 stages of Hell, Purgatory and Heaven.
A good number of buyers are very much aware of the brands around them. An average consumer is involuntarily exposed to 5000 brands per day. Every prospect is self-aware what they are "being sold" and its a clear message for brands – Stop ad-age selling! Traditional advertising methods move around "interruption marketing" and its largely ineffective. Instead of spending advertising on mass-markets, its time for agencies to start targetted selling to prospects who will need your product/service. Here's a great post about how to do affliate marketing as a pre-requirem to reading further. Not everyone who enters a conversion funnel will turn into a prospective customer. Prospects are more likely to become clients if engaged with questions. Nurturing takes away added time and effort to sift the noise leading to better, higher, and impactful conversions that open doors to successful sales.
A conversion funnel essentially refers to sales. It details how sales perform in 2 main tasks: 1. Finding potential buyers. 2. Successfully helping prospects buy your product/services. A "conversion funnel" is a term most commonly thrown around both in sales and marketing. Consider digital marketing efforts, where a 2% conversion is rated success and it takes a lot of spending per consumer for a brand. Envisioning sales funnel stages in a conversion funnel as a path for a buyer's journey, most prospects leave at different stages of growth, and it's common.
- The entry point: Every conversion funnel has an entry point, a gateway that essentially draws in somebody into a process. The entry point is always fashioned as per the business model & the industry to which it belongs. Did you know you could work on a sales funnel with emails, blogs as your entry point? Figure a way how you can monetize your content.
- The scoring model: The scoring model is the remainder how conversion funnel through which the qualified visitor journeys through until they reach the brink of conversion. If your visitors are opt-ins, there is a good chance your product/services would be likely purchased. In short, fill the pipeline with quality prospects.
- The crossover: This stage, commonly referred to as "qualification" is a moment when the visitor crosses over past the entry point and transitions into being someone qualified for the reminder of conversion funnel journey. If a prospect takes a test-drive, a car-dealer figures its a great cross-over for a trial-close!
As seen from the eyes of the customer, a conversion funnel can be viewed as a counterpart funnel which sales teams use as a reference to build their funnels from scratch. It has the following stages:
- Brand Awareness
- Research and Consideration - Initial search, Condensation & Consideration
Brand awareness is generally set on a trigger introduced by marketing and occurs when your company comes in the eyes of a customer. The trigger asserts to fulfill your client's need, often influenced by marketing campaigns or buyer's emotions. Brand awareness is the entry point at which customers are drawn towards and down the funnel.
Research & Consideration
Once the trigger has set in, the customer is now invested in researching and considering what a product or company has to offer. Here the customer views a brand in terms of the solution it has to offer. During research, the customer goes through few stages before seriously considering your product for their business:
- Initial search – Here, the customer consumes a good quantity of data to research about similar products. This stage is marked by a lengthier period of research. If a business claims to offer a unique solution for a specific problem, buyer will take the efforts to research other solutions with a unique spin as well.
- Condensation – Condensation is when customers shortlist solutions making it a critical stage in research. It's easier to influence prospects at this stage with new and relevant information. And, if your work suggests proof that it works, your prospects are probably your clients in more stages to come.
- Consideration – Think of consideration as a phase where the customer is anxious to get every single one of his questions answered. They are actively trying to gather more information about your product from different sources, and seeking more meetings to know your product better.
A prospect converts when the most critical decision across the conversion funnel is taken – the payment decision. Sales is a game with no room for delays. If the client's money is not on your side, you obviously haven't closed a sale!
Conversion Funnel ‘Leaks’
As with any conversion funnel, not everyone will become your loyal customers. Most of them will give up at various points along the journey. These points are known as drop-offs. It's important for businesses to keep drop-offs to a minimum. Drop-offs can turn into "leaks" and potential customers can quickly trickle out of such conversion funnels resulting in a negligible percentage of buyers. While its very difficult to fix all leaks, reducing drop-offs can shrink leaks and preventing loss of revenue to a great extent.
- Stage 1: Leaks at the entry point of your conversion funnel depict that your business is not targeting the right audience. Sketching an ideal buyer at this stage and mapping out the key USPs of your product/brand will fix leaks at this stage.
- Stage 2: At this stage, qualification matters since the more qualified people you have here, the more conversions you can expect. Active nurturing fixes leaks at this stage. The biggest cause of drop-offs in this stage happens when customers struggle to sign-up and set up their accounts owing to lack of information or issues in the signup process. Testing free trial sign-up forms and account set-up to make it hassle-free for customers can fix leaks at this stage.
- Stage 3: At the brink of conversion, leaks can occur due to poor internal collaboration within teams. To fix leaks in this stage, the onboarding process must be improved, making it easier to implement the solution for the customer’s account.
Conversion funnels for Sales Vs Marketing
Typically, a conversion funnel works well for sales, but when used in the marketing context, you can spot subtle differences. Personalization has become increasingly significant in both sales and marketing spheres, and its now safe to say there are probably very little differences between a conversion funnel for sales versus marketing. In today's models, technologies adopted by both sales and marketing talk well to help a buyer's journey.
While companies create their variations of conversion funnels, the line that differentiates sales and marketing keep blurring, making it increasingly hard to define each. This is greatly in part due to the multitude of SaaS companies arriving into the market each day, hoping to stand out from the rest. SaaS does not hold much stock for a strictly straight-line conversion funnel in either sales or marketing because SaaS customers are undecided for the most of their journey. Unlike car sales, SaaS often leaves room for a quicker exit and heavily relies on retention.
S-Marketing way is a fully automated conversion funnel that relies on customer feedback to determine whether they will move further down or back where they came from in the funnel. The conversion funnel for S-Marketing unites sales and marketing departments. It makes the customer accessible to a personalized and automated conversion process.
Modern Conversion Funnel
There is a broad difference when you sell interrupting one's work versus selling to people engaging them in a dialog. The modern conversion funnel is made for S-Marketing, following a non-linear conversion approach. Customer data, personalization, and micro-conversions determine the course of this funnel. The below steps are frequently used to engage with customers on the road to conversion:
- Opt-ins: Opt-ins make for micro-conversions where the customer is nudged to part with their data for resources of interest. Along with their contact details like email address, opt-in forms can ask for additional information from customers which can be used in the future to predict whether they will convert. Opt-ins improve personalization while making it easier to move customers further down the conversion funnel.
- Content personalization: Opt-ins make for micro-conversions where the customer is nudged to part with their data for resources of interest. Along with their contact details like email address, opt-in forms can ask for additional information from customers which can be used in the future to predict whether they will convert. Opt-ins improve personalization while making it easier to move customers further down the conversion funnel.
- Surveys: Introducing short surveys to customers as a part of their journey establishes buyer intent and customer worth beforehand. Survey data provides insight into how much value a customer can and will bring after conversion.
The 3 sales techniques.,
- Upsell – Upselling means to push complement or more expensive products to high-valued customers most likely to convert into high-paying buyers.
- Cross-sell – Cross-selling is a way of strengthening ties with customers by pitching one or more additional services to double their conversion value.
- Downsell – In down selling, you are preventing a customer from retracting back up the conversion funnel by offering alternative or low-cost products if they abandon a micro-conversion or a final purchase.
Elements of a High-Converting Funnel
Rather than filtering out passive customers, a funnel that leads to high conversions must work a buyer-angle! In a high-converting funnel, the flow is often not straight, and neither are they sorted out. Multiple micro-conversions consistently lead to final purchases for high-ticket sales. A high converting funnel focuses on nurturing with every step a customer takes. Read on to understand the elements that make up a high converting funnel:
- Meeting needs head-on: “What’s in it for me?” is a question you need to answer at every step along the buyer's journey. This means providing specific answers to their problems by highlighting the product's uniqueness whether in a sales pitch or your marketing content. To answer this question head-on, an ideal buyer persona should be sketched before you have a list of specific solutions that buyers currently do not have access to. Understand which competitors are unable to provide what you offer. Find a balance in any information you give out and how you entice qualified customers. Without crowding a sales pitch or marketing content with too much information, the message that you send to customers must be right on the point, laying out concrete solutions to their problems. Target the right customers with a message that emotionally appeals to them using the right blend of facts and data to back your solution.
- Call to Action: A strong message will not do the trick and conversions are not guaranteed since customers are largely undecided. A high-converting funnel has compelling CTAs that urge customers to take action. Every single call or interaction with your customer is an opportunity to encourage action. So are both customer service/call center and social media dynamic, that serve as touchpoints for call-to-action.
A conversion funnel is an amazing sales medium for recognising right customers and taking actionable steps to convert them fast. It's a collaborative solution that will get product experts and marketers within one's company drive internal teams to make changes within conversion process which will in turn make a difference to the way your business functions. Armed with data including conversion rates, drop-off percentage, etc., a conversion funnel transforms both sales and marketing. Track your customer’s every move, improve, test, and lead them to purchase with data and insights only a conversion funnel can provide.