How To Build A Data-Driven Sales Funnel?
Every business needs to get qualified leads into their sales funnel, turn those leads into paying customers, and keep those paying customers for a long time. The best sales funnel is one that works for your business and your sales team. All the sales funnel diagrams and definitions of the KPIs that make a funnel work won’t matter if they aren’t tailored to your sales goals.
What separates a sales funnel that works well from one that isn’t ready for the needs of a modern B2B sales movement? We think the key is having the right data and tools that can give insights at each stage of the journey of a prospect.
Think of a funnel-like one you might use to put oil in your car’s engine. It gathers a lot of stuff at the top and sends it through a small hole at the bottom. This is a perfect metaphor for what happens in the sales process, where information starts out very general and gets very specific as the process goes on.
68 percent of businesses don’t even know what their sales funnels are, let alone how to measure their success. In the end, not having clear rules about how to engage leads and prospects makes it hard, if not impossible, to figure out what turns them into actual paying customers.
Implementing a sales funnel helps business development leaders understand its entire sales cycle. Leaders get quick information about how the sales team attacks the market through consistent processes. But, as useful as the sales funnel is, it is only useful when paired with reliable data about each stage of the sales cycle.
4 stages of a sales funnel
Usually, a sales funnel is shown as a simple diagram with four steps. However, modern salespeople should think about two different funnels at the same time, each with different snapshots that show things from the buyer’s and seller’s points of view.
1. Awareness Stage
At this point, potential customers have identified pain points and are starting to do preliminary research on the solutions that are already on the market.
As the widest part of the funnel, this stage’s main goal is to make a brand more visible and show off its expertise by making room for prospects’ value-focused, top-of-funnel resources. Visibility and domain authority are the main goals.
For sales and marketing professionals, moving a prospect from the Awareness stage to the Interest stage requires sales intelligence that goes beyond standard firmographic data points like management level and job function, as well as firmographic classifications like company size.
Instead, you need to know more about a target account:
- Does the business outsource key parts of what it does?
- What kinds of technology does the company use?
- How many people do the job function that a solution helps with?
- Does the company have more than one location?
Having access to sales intelligence will automatically help sort out business dependencies and pain points into categories and, in the end, help set up segments. It has the following parts:
- Total Addressable Market (TAM): Everyone who might want to buy a product, even those who are on the extreme ends of the spectrum. Once you know your TAM, you can start to narrow it down.
- Ideal Customer Profiles (ICP): A detailed description of a type of buyer who would get a lot out of an offering. Inside a TAM, a micro-segment comprises potential buyers who are likely to have a high Customer Lifetime Value (CLV).
- Buyer Personas: The average size of a B2B buying committee is getting close to ten people. Even though accounts buy things, in the end, people decide. And just like an ICP can be broken up into different cohorts, go-to-market teams should know how to engage the different stakeholders, influencers, decision-makers, and, gasp, gatekeepers involved in the buying process. Remember that each person may be from a different department with different or even competing goals.
2. Interest Stage
In this stage, the prospect is looking for ways to improve their business. Third-party intent data, like spikes in online searches and consumption of content about specific topics related to a product or service, can be used to figure out how active a prospect is.
First-party data, on the other hand, shows activity that is a direct result of internal sales and marketing efforts. This includes things like an increase in anonymous traffic to web domains from certain companies and the ability to track behavior that leads to conversions, like downloading an eBook or signing up for a webinar.
Also, keep in mind that at this point in the sales funnel, a buyer is already looking for a solution in the marketplace. At the interest stage, the goal is to keep people interested in a solution. For go-to-market teams to be successful at this stage, they need to figure out which channels and messages turn prospects into customers.
It’s important for salespeople to know these conversion points because they can help them figure out how and when to step in. To improve conversion at this stage, businesses need to know what information qualified the lead in the first place. In other words, the lead is qualified and is going through a process of education that has a lot to do with how to buy.
The following data-driven ideas can help in determining how to make your customers tick and push them further down the funnel:
- Social Media Data: A type of data that is often overlooked is how people act on social media. Has your potential customer followed you on social media? What kind of content do they like, and how can you use that information to make content that is more relevant to them?
- Intent Data: The information about a company’s campaigns and who is responding to them. What did a prospect do on your business’s website? What types of things do they download?
On the other hand, external data refers to the topics that a company is researching online that are important to it.
3. Consideration Stage
In the consideration stage, leads are officially turned into sales-qualified opportunities and are seen as possible customers. They know exactly what their problem is, how it could be fixed, and how much money they have to work with.
To move past the consideration stage, you need data, because that’s when sales are finally working with a prospect and have found an open opportunity. The hard work is done here. So, a business development team will be better able to help qualified leads through this process the more data they can get their hands on.
You may have reached out to different buyer personas at the top of the funnel at the start of the qualification process. At the “consider” stage, people often need to do more research.
It’s not enough to know what problems the different personas in a sales opportunity face; you also need to be able to explain how a solution can help solve those problems and get the results you want.
4. Decision Stage
The light at the end of the sales funnels tunnel. At this final stage of the funnel, qualified leads know everything there is to know about their pain point, the best solution for the problem, and are ready to choose the provider to buy from. At the consideration stage, most of the questions are about the vendor, because the buyer is trying to figure out what will give them the most for their money.
At the bottom of the funnel, business development professionals need to build trust and show that their solution can solve a prospect’s problem better than other solutions on the market.
How to build a sales funnel from scratch
Creating your own sales funnel involves knowing your audience and creating engaging content to show your product’s value. To get started, just follow the steps belows:
1. Audience research
Wide-net marketing is a thing of the past. The top of the funnel should be wide and attract a variety of customers, but audience research is crucial at the bottom.
When you know your audience’s pain points, interests, expectations, and social media behaviors, you can position your product to address their needs.
2. Create buyer personas
Everyone buys for different reasons, so create personas based on why they want to buy.
- What the product/service offers them.
- How to use product/service?
- What pain points will make them buy?
When you know your buyers, you can create personalized content that meets their needs.
3. Engage market leads
Engaging an audience with content is a separate feat. Engagement aims to inform them about how the product/service will benefit them and their company and get them interested in your brand. Engage your audience by:
- Articles: Share internal and external content to highlight your domain expertise.
- Example: Don’t tell, show. Provide prospects with relevant customer testimonials.
- Social media promotion: Stay active on social media to engage prospects.
4. Lead conversion
In the final stage of the funnel, leads become paying customers. Make purchasing easy and accessible to optimize this step. After leads become customers, nurture those relationships to ensure long-term customer satisfaction.
At its core, creating an effective sales funnel entails a thorough understanding of your prospect or audience’s behavior. There are many places for you to start, you can even begin by understanding your customer’s behavior on your website; see what works and what don’t. To do that, you can try using our all-in-one conversion rate optimization tool, and craft your sales funnel around your understanding of your website’s visitors!
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A deep dive on how to create a sales funnel that converts!