If you’ve identified a potential ideal client, what’s the best way to reach out and say, ‘Hey I think I can help you?’ This is what is meant by inviting people into your sales and marketing funnel.
It’s as simple as that single invitation AND as complicated as meeting someone on a blind date and expecting them to marry you at the end of the evening. We are often too impatient with our sales process to leverage the real possibilities for growth.
We can forget that each step is an invitation and we must always wait for their acceptance before moving to the next stage. It’s about gaining permission to move to the next stage in the relationship. In this article, I’m going to walk you through how to think about your sales and marketing funnel step by step so you both learn the patience required to make it work and reap the benefits when it does.
Start By Knowing Your Sweet And Sour Spots
Have you clarified exactly what makes a client a good fit for you? If you haven’t already, make a list of the perfect client for you. What are their attributes?
You can be as specific as you like about your perfect fit client. This is more than a customer profile. This is about identifying where you can do your best work for your customer and reap the maximum rewards for your business. It might be for clients of a certain age, be it the person or the company. It might be someone in the creative industry because you like that flow. Your sweet spots are always unique to you and your business.
Read 7 Steps to Building A Customer Profile That Will Bring You Closer To Your Customer and download the FREE worksheet to start with a robust customer profile and then build from there.
On the flip side, you also need to know the attributes of a client who is a bad fit for you. These are the sour spots. If they are hitting your sour spots, you know this is someone you don’t want to work with. They may be a micro manager, they may be too low down the chain of command, they may not believe in what you are doing and are just using this as a tick box exercise.
It’s best to identify customers like this early on so you can say NO to them. Sometimes the greatest strength comes in knowing who to say NO to!
Doing this exercise makes it easy for you to identify who you want to invite into your sales and marketing funnel and where to invest your time.
Now Find The Clients Who Fit These Criteria
This can actually be an early version of a customer relationship management system for your business. Using your Customer Profiling sheet as a guide; make a list of people that can already be a really good fit for you. See if you can make that a list of 20 people regardless of what stage in the process you are with them.
Make it an Excel Spreadsheet and apart from their names, and company names; create a column for each of your sweet spots across the top.
Now for each target customer tick each sweet spot or sour spot so you can get a fuller picture of how they “fit”. Rarely does anyone tick every box but it’s really useful to see how close each person is. Now rank them in order of fit. Use this as a priority list for targeting.
As you grow you can build this into your CRM system so that each time somebody fits they are tagged and can go to the next step.
Next, Trigger Your Marketing Funnel
I like to think of the marketing funnel as a very natural journey that you can invite people into your business with. More than that, it is a conscious journey that creates a resonance between what they need and what you have to solve that need.
It is both an efficient and patient process. It acknowledges that things need to happen one step at a time so you can build trust with each other. We all need to know if it’s good for both parties to do business together.
Understanding that this is a process makes us much more natural in our dealings with clients. And because we’re not in a rush to close, we’re much more patient and able to listen to our customers. When we are truly able to listen to our customers, we can serve them better and we will find unique opportunities to relate to them better.
5 Simple Steps To Create A Sales And Marketing Funnel
Over the years, I’ve found that people are quite overwhelmed by the Sales and Marketing Funnel so I created a more relatable naming convention and made it part of the Get Strategic Get Results program.
SO HERE IS THE 5 STAGE GET STRATEGIC FUNNEL
It’s easy to say, it’s easy to understand and it’s easy to remember.
- BE THERE
This is the Awareness Stage. Be where your customers are.
- BE SEEN
This is the Interest Stage. How will they notice you’re there? How will they see you amongst everyone else?
- BE CONSIDERED
This is the Consideration Stage. How can you activate their interest? Can you entice them to DO something to engage with you?
- BE CHOSEN
This is the last stage they’ll go to before they purchase. It’s an Action Stage. This is a critical point where your attention to onboarding & service is king.
- BE CHAMPIONED
This is the Advocacy Stage. It’s the Share part of this statement you hear me say – Great Marketing is Your Truth Shared.
Put Yourself Where Your Customers Will Find You
What does that mean for you? Once you have identified your sweet spots and identified your perfect fit customers, you need to think about where they are so you can be there. The first step in your Get Strategic Marketing Funnel is to Be Where Your Customers Are. Is that a networking event or trade shows? Is it somewhere online?
Then you need to Be Seen There. Can you be seen by your content? By your tradeshow stand? Can you be seen by things that you are saying in the meeting room? How can you be seen? For most businesses, this means creating content so you start building brand awareness around your particular area of expertise.
Figure out the content your ideal customer would love to see. These topics are your core pillars and are designed to help you own your space. Be consistent here. It’s what will help you gain momentum.
What Can You Do To Show Them The Value Of Working With You?
The next thing to think about in your marketing funnel is how to Be Considered. How can your target customers do more than just see you? How can you entice them to reach out to you? We often entice clients with what people call lead magnets, like a useful checklist or a mini course, but sometimes, this part of the puzzle is often just about a really good conversation.
That could be a good conversation across social media. It’s about engaging with them. It’s also about lead magnets that are not just automatic, but actually give real benefit and serve the customer. You want to show what you can do for them as part of an emerging mutually beneficial relationship.
Maybe you see that your perfect fit customer has a need that’s causing them some frustration or discomfort. Perhaps you could share with them a process that you use in that situation.
Think about how you can help them get to know you and consider working with you or buying from you? Do seek to encourage them to subscribe to your “useful” mailing list. It’s important and has a higher conversion rate than social media consistently.
Create An Experience People Want To Share
The next stage is to Be Chosen, so you are focused on everything that needs to happen before they purchase from you. So it could be about Free Trials, Demo’s, Assessments etc. They’ve engaged with you somewhat up to now, and you’ve gained a greater understanding of each other. They’ve downloaded something or subscribed for something.
Now it’s time to nurture them into choosing you and you want that experience to be a really positive one. It should be in alignment with everything they have experienced of you already. In this stage of the funnel you are focused on everything that happens before they buy.
The final piece is to Be Championed. This totally changes the nature of your marketing. When you are championed, someone who has had a wonderful experience of working with you and they want to share with others how great it is to work with you.
Your funnel changes from being static, bringing lots of people at the top and getting narrower as you get to your perfect fit customer, to turning into a positive feedback loop as your customers champion you and create more awareness of you and what you do.
Now that funnel becomes a flywheel, turning consistently for you and your business. It builds momentum in your marketing and this momentum makes this idea of content generation, sales, conversion, and relationship building flow more easily, more consistently and feel better.
Understanding how to invite customers into your sales & marketing funnel takes a very connected approach to your marketing. It’s the core principle behind our signature program Get Strategic Get Results and if you liked this introduction to marketing funnels and sweet spots you’ll like this program.
The best time to start thinking more strategically about your marketing is now. Do it with an experienced guide at your side.