The process of turning a new prospect into a sale is no easy task. Sure, some new customers come easier than others, but it takes time and strategic planning to move prospects down the sales funnel. Not to mention that getting them there in the first place also takes a great deal of effort.
In order to effectively nurture prospects through the funnel, first take a step back and look at the big picture. Look at each level of the funnel and determine what channels work best to attract people there, and then develop and execute a strategy to move them through.
Top of Funnel: Inform
The top of the sales funnel is exciting because this is where customers begin their journey with you. This is where you help inform prospects of your product/service and that there is a solution to their problem. This is also where you can help them realize that they have a need that can be fulfilled by your organization.
So how do we do this? Promotion and engagement. Leverage pieces of content that will drive and produce a high level of engagement with your target audience. These could be infographics, slideshares or blog posts. Whatever it may be, promote these pieces through your social media channels and then make sure to retarget to those people so you know your message is going wherever they are on the web.
Middle of Funnel: Make Them Believe
This is the stage where you take the prospects to church and make them a believer. You show them how their problem can be solved, and not necessarily just with what you happen to offer. Give them different strategies and teach them; grab them by the hand and lead the way. Using an automation tool like HubSpot will make this ten times easier, and allow you to segment prospects based on the actions they take and the content they like.
The pieces of content you’ll want to use here are going to need to be more informative. They can include eBooks, case studies, whitepapers, checklists, or even research papers. Make the prospect commit to the content by having them fill out a form which captures their email address and/or other important information. Then you can put them into an email nurture campaign and continue to offer nuggets of wisdom. This will not only help them, but it will show you as a thought leader in the industry.
Bottom of Funnel: Seal the Deal Baby!
This is what you’ve been working so hard for in this process — getting prospects to the point where they want to pull the trigger. If they’ve made it to this point then they have been buying in and engaging with what you’ve offered them so far. You’ve gotten the ball to the 1 yard line, now you need to push it over the goalline for the score.
Offer pieces in your campaigns such as free demos or audits that encourage immediate reaction. These could include free demos, free trial offers, or maybe an audit. Give them calls to action that they can’t refuse and require a form to be filled out that shows they are ready for the next steps. This is where marketing and sales need to be on the same page so that the transition is as smooth as a babies bottom. You don’t want all that hard work nurturing them down the sales funnel to be wasted due to poor internal communication and sales processes.
So lets recap: Take a look at the big picture and determine the strategy for taking prospects from the top of the funnel to the bottom. Implement your best content pieces at each stage of the funnel and help lead them down by teaching and informing, not selling. When the time is right, give them “an offer they can’t refuse” (I’m using my Godfather voice there), and send them over to the sales team to seal the deal.