So businesses are transitioning from increasingly less effective outbound marketing and sales models to a more cost-effective inbound marketing model.
The old school sales funnel is dead. The sales superstars of old who get results by prospecting and cold calling are few and far between. They are a dying breed.
This funnel show the buyers' journey. It illustrates how modern marketing works by attracting and engaging potential buyers – rather than using intrusive, old-school techniques to interrupt people.
Target specific types of potential customers. Take time to build detailed customer personas. Understand their goals, aspirations, pains and challenges and where they get their information.
When your customer doesn't even know you exist, your job is to attract and intrigue your target personas with custom-built, counter-intuitive, thought-provoking and awesome content across the media they use.
At the early stage of their buying journey – as the buyer starts to research your subject – your challenge is to provide authentic and educational content that genuinely helps the buyer to make a great decision. This is your chance to build trust and influence. Your goal is to persuade your potential customer to cross the anonymity threshold and reveal themselves.
As the buyer starts to consider a purchase, the type of content they consume changes. You will be nurturing your potential buyer with a structured campaign and your marketing automation system will alert you to the fact that your potential buyer is now consuming content that indicates a decision may be imminent.
Time for sales to engage in personal conversations. This could be via live chat, video call, social media conversations, email, tailored video presentations or a telephone call. Make highly relevant content recommendations, provide tasters, tools and trials to mitigate all possible buyer risks. Provide highly personalised presentations and proposals.
Customers enter your 'Silo of Customer Satisfaction'. Your refined processes mean you keep educating, informing and exceeding expectations. Your automation systems tell you which content your customers are engaging with. Repeat purchases become effortless as customers relax post purchase and enjoy the experience.
Potential customers can enter the buying funnel via the 'Golden Door of Referrals'. At this point we discover that referrals are helpful only if they are the right potential customers. Optimising referrals and encouraging positive reviews in social media are key parts of your marketing process.
Keep track of customer relationships using your CRM systems and customer surveys. When customers feel unhappy they start to sink down the silo and may exit completely. Nurture your customers. Show them you genuinely care – even unhappy customers can become your biggest fans.
If you get it really wrong (or take on the wrong client) then customers may enter the relationship cesspit. Your business needs an early warning system to ensure that any relationship in crisis is detected and the issues addressed before negative public reviews damage your business.