Now that you have your own startup, you would definitely want your business to grow as quickly as possible. One way of accelerating your growth is to have a clearly defined sales model out as early as you can.
So what is a sales funnel?
It’s a small plastic implement to help you sell things. Okay, not really.
A sales funnel is basically a ‘customer journey’ which begins with the very first moment your customer is made aware of your brand, getting him or her interested in your business, creating a desire for your product or service and ends with your customer taking an action, which in most cases is the purchase of your product or service. Generally, the sales funnel involves increasing awareness of your brand and educating your customers about your brand, as well as promoting the trial, adoption, and sharing of your product or service. Needless to say, the customer always comes first. This provides the focus and prioritization needed to grow your company.
Here are four simple steps to defining your sales funnel.
Get your brand noticed. Whether this means traditional advertising or the use of social media to get the word out about your business, do it. Make your brand visible on social media, create a brand page on Facebook, and set up a Twitter feed. Don’t just throw marketing messages at your target audience. Engage them in conversations. Participate in discussions actively. Get feedback. It doesn’t have to be about your products or services specifically, as long as it relates back to your business in some way.
If you’ve managed to pique the interest of your potential customer at this point, great job. This is the point when consumers have identified their needs and will begin to search for something to fulfill those needs. Most of the time, their searches start online. Get noticed by ensuring that all necessary information pertaining to your business is readily available.
Most consumers, when faced with a brand website and the brand’s Facebook page in search results, will actually visit the social media site first. This is because they perceive that the content found on the social media site will be more relevant and more truthful. Facebook is where customers compliment or complain about a brand, where questions are answered, and where the brand is seen to interact without the assumed agenda of just hard selling. What this means is that your customer service on social media has to be top-notch in order to interest more customers.
At this point, you should be creating an emotional connection between the consumer and your brand. Connect with your customers on a level that goes deeper than just being merely informative.
If your customer has a problem, solve it. If he has a question, answer it. The key thing is to invest in your customers prior to the actual purchasing action and you will reap the rewards in the long term. Offer genuine enthusiasm and interest and your customers will love you.
One of the greatest influences on customer purchasing decisions is recommendations from family and friends. If your customers’ family and friends love your product, chances are that they will love it too. Consequently, if their friends and family hate your brand, they will hate it too.
The sales funnel doesn’t exactly end once your customers have purchased your product or service. Learn to manage your customers through the sales funnel to ensure that they have a positive experience through the entire process and even after that. This will benefit you in the long run as they will become loyal advocates of your brand.
In the event of negative feedback, how you respond will say more about your company than any self promotion can do. In order to retain customers, what you do after they have purchased your product or service is equally, if not more so, important to the previous steps in the sales funnel.