Where to Start With Marketing Automation – Sales Funnel

By on 06/17/2014

If you have questions about starting a marketing automation campaign and not sure where to start, one idea I have to offer is starting with your sales funnel.  If you know the steps in your sales funnel, you can determine what your marketing automation messages need to include. 

I am Joel Black, with Black Bear Design, and today I want to talk a little bit about Marketing Automation.

When I say Marketing Automation, I am speaking about the solution you put in place to automatically market and move people through your funnel and give them information about who you are and your products, to drive them, ultimately, to becoming a customer or a client.  So when you look at the end solution, sometimes you might say, “Where do I start”? 

So, today, I am here to offer you an idea where you might want to start as you are putting together your Marketing Automation program.  So it is very important that you understand your funnel and tracing your customer back and found out about you; even before that, when they were researching what their problem was.  How did they get to that point, where they contact you and decided to do business with you?

Defining Your Sales Funnel

I want to look at the funnel for a software as a service model, specifically if you think about base camp or any other project management software that you have used in the past.   How do they walk you through their funnel; this may not be the case, but is an easy example for me to explain.

If you are looking for any kind of project management solution or you may not even know what you are going to need, but have a team of people and you want to work more efficiently, but not sure what that looks like, you might Google things like: team working more efficiently, how do I collaborate on projects or service-oriented tasks that I have, how do I track time, etc. You are just starting out in business and those things are important to you; you are in the “research” phase and you know you have a problem.  You might not know what to call it, but you know that you have Google to help you search and finally narrow it down to something.  What happens now that you are in the “research” phase and have narrowed it down, you want to move into the next phase.  For many companies, the next phase is the “comparison” phase; you don’t know much about the person and they haven’t filled out a form on your site and you really don’t really have much information about them.  You want to walk them through the buying cycle so the next step is the “comparison” step.  How do we walk them into the comparison step?  You will need to use your website to do that- a well developed website that has a clear call-to-action and gives the user that next step.  The user found your website; they know what the problem is and they know that you may have a solution for them but now they are in the comparison phase.  You may have a comparison page on your website that talks about your features and benefits, your costs are better and the software is easier to use as compared to your competitors and other vendors.  So they see that you are easier to use, your features, benefits and costs are good; so what is next phase? 

Walking A User Through The Sales Funnel

That is where a demo may come into play.  These companies are really good about getting your information including name, email, password, and then a free demo of the software; now they have all that information.  So now, the next phase may be to try out the software and go through a demo. The user may have signed up but may not want to do use the software now; they may have been distracted and now moved on to other things.  The good thing is that you have their email!  This is the time for you to send a follow up email saying, “I see you see have signed up for the demo, but haven’t seen you log into the website yet. We have personalized agents that can help you or give you a webinar”.  That may be another phase in the funnel- a webinar phase, or maybe that is an alternate for them to have a personalized demo.  Now they are in the demo” phase of your funnel; perhaps you are offering them a free 15-day trial.  That may lead them into the next phase, the purchasing phase; this is a good idea because at some point, if you have invested 2 weeks into demoing the software, you have the time investment and you do not want to waste the time!  Now that they have learned how to use the system, they now can put in their credit card information and pay!!

So, this was an easy description of a funnel that some companies may use for project management software; I know because I have used this process many times myself.  You need to determine what is your “funnel” – for ours, it is a researcher, a comparison and a purchaser.  For yours, it may be the same steps, more steps or it might be different all together; if you can figure out what this is, you can create your marketing messages so you can walk your “users” through the funnel.

How Persona’s Plays Into The Sales Funnel and Marketing Automation

Next week, I think I would like to talk about Personas and how a marketing manager, a CEO or an administrative assistant might change the funnel a bit and the messages to be geared more toward the specific users.

I hope this was helpful!  I am Joel Black with Black Bear Design and this is another 2 Minute Tuesday.

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