Every day, businesses work hard to get more sales. Sales are essential to survival and as soon as one is completed, another must be found. It’s an unfortunate, never-ending cycle but also a basic fact of life.
When searching for sales through online and content marketing, much of the effort comes through optimizing digital marketing avenues to get more consumers.
Looking at what we call the sales funnel is vital to your company’s success.
By going through the avenues that your customers would normally go through to buy your product, you can better understand your customer pain points and start to solve some critical problems in your sales cycle to improve conversions.
Read on to learn more:
Understanding Your B2B Sales Funnel
Sales funnels exist in every industry. Whether you’re online or working at a brick-and-mortar, the sales funnel is simply the way that customers get to your business.
This process works through different sales funnel stages. The sales funnel stages can be easily remembered through the AIDA acronym: Awareness, Interest, Decision, and Action (conversion).
Here’s a detailed sales funnel that okwrite follows:
Eventually, this funnel is optimized for those customers that you want to come back to again and again. And ultimately, it should cater to the customer journey, leading these customers towards what they are looking for.
If you sell a software service, then your content marketing funnel is the means by which your customers come to buy that software (otherwise known as business to customer or B2C sales). If you have a physical store, then that might start with a billboard advertisement or a geo-targeted ad. But with online stores, you need to connect with new businesses in different ways.
No matter how you organize your sales funnel process, you’ll want to convert all your visitors to “marketing qualified leads” to “sales qualified leads” and finally becoming a customer:
When this marketing funnel works, you’ll bypass the awareness stage of marketing your business and have regular customers coming to buy your product or service. This is a very hard process, though. So, don’t be surprised to find that your sales processes aren’t working out exactly as you had hoped.
How Sales Funnels Work in Content Marketing
As a content marketing agency, we regularly work with clients, other agencies, and partners to improve our clients’ avenues for making sales.
The blogs, web copy, and even newsletters or press releases that we produce are all ways to draw in customers to a business. These new avenues are generated every day, every time a business makes an effort to bring in new sales.
Furthermore, while our blogs are out there doing the hard work, you need to ensure that there are steps that customers can take to make a sale.
If, for example, a customer searches for “best hikes in my area” and they stumble across a blog about the best hikes in their area, then that blog is a) a starting point of a funnel, and b) an opportunity for moving further along that sales funnel.
Some businesses recognize this. Blogs are one of the biggest generators of online business. Early in 2021, statistics revealed that approximately 409 million people view more than 20 billion pages each month. That’s millions of blogs being read by millions of people every day.
If you don’t have a blog, you aren’t even able to compete with the 90% of online businesses that have one.
Blogging is the third most popular form of content marketing and is often touted as better than traditional marketing. And that’s because it works. By adding more ways for your target audience to find you, building brand awareness, and trusting your product/service, you are increasing the probability that you can bring more visits to your website and ultimately gain more leads.
How to Optimize Your Sales Funnel
Blogging and other forms of content marketing are just as effective with B2B sales. These relationships require a different approach from customer to business relationships, but the sentiment is the same. You need to be able to speak to your potential market and be able to guide them along to purchase your product or service.
Here are some tips for optimizing your sales funnel:
Perform a Sales Funnel Audit
The first step in optimizing your sales funnel is to perform an audit. This is going through the multitude of ways that businesses can find your site.
You might look to:
- Google search
- The number of ads you have out
- Your email marketing subscriber list
- Affiliate or influencer marketing
By auditing your current sales funnel, you can begin to understand the gaps. Perhaps you don’t have any social media presence. First off, wow. Impressive. Second off, set up that business social media account! There are reportedly 3.43 billion monthly users on social media and this is a great avenue for bringing in interested sales and consumers. Getting social proof is critical for building customer trust.
Perform a Consumer Audit or Buyer Persona Breakdown
If you haven’t already, you’ll want to go through and try to understand your buyer persona. This will give you a better understanding of who your consumers are. You might possibly have this idea in your head and be well-thought-out. However, it will help to understand a typical demographic of your buyers, their pain points, and trends that they are looking for within your market.
If you’re not sure where you can get this information, then ask your current customers! Of course, this should only be the case if you want to continue working with that type of customer, or there are no major disruptions in your market.
A/B Test Your Sales Funnel
Now that you’ve got a better understanding of where your sales are coming through and who your customers are, you’ll need to run through your sales funnel.
You can start simple. Let’s say that a customer Googles your name exactly. What does that look like? Check to see if your web page is indexed with Google and if it shows up. If you have a location, then you should set up Google My Business. If you have Google My Business, then you’ll have to go through and optimize it!
Click through to your webpage and make sure you like it. If it’s not initially clear what you’re selling and to whom, then you’ll need to reconsider and optimize your web copy. You’ll want to test out how you can get a hold of your team, from the viewpoint of the potential customer. Try your chat bot, send an email, or message on Facebook.
These are basic things, but sometimes going through this process can point you to holes. Of course, you’ll want to expand from just Googling your name. Make sure you can find some of your blogs on a ranking page and begin to look through your blog too. If you don’t have a blog, then you should consider adding one.
Add, Remove, and Optimize Your Sales Funnel
Finally, you can begin to add, remove, or optimize your sales funnel. Before you start this part, make sure that you create a content strategy that makes sense for your business.
You may notice that you are missing critical CTAs when customers come to your landing page. It’s important to have a Call to Action (CTA) somewhere on the site to draw them into the conversion process. Why should your blog visitors care about what you sell? How efficient is the buying process?
CTAs act as a conversion funnel, leading a prospective customer down your sales pipeline, and ultimately increasing your conversion rate. They are also a great form of marketing automation. Once you have them in place, this lead nurturing sales tool will organically funnel customers to your B2B services, giving you more time to focus on your business and other marketing needs.
There are further optimizations that could occur throughout the sales process itself. Once your customer is a lead, then you should scrutinize this process to ensure that they are getting responsiveness in their customer contacts and their problems addressed.
Setting Your Customers Up for Success
At the end of the day, most businesses think about how they can help themselves. But the best businesses think about how they can help their customers. Making this apparent in your sales process will only help your customers feel more welcome throughout the process.
Ensure that they know that they come first. Their pain points become your mission.
To optimize your sales funnel, we recommend developing a content marketing strategy and building out your inbound marketing strategy. Furthermore, be sure to add great content to your web page, which will further increase the number of indexed pages linked to your domain. After all, websites with blogs have 434% more indexed pages.
By optimizing your B2B sales process and B2B content funnel, you may find that your customers are less frustrated when they get to you, and they appreciate your support. You’ll soon be well on your way to growing your sales.