Today’s marketer can’t expect to meet with success with the tools of yesterday—and today’s startups have even steeper inclines ahead, with no past glories and brand recognition to coast on while they find their feet. It’s crucial for startups to develop their sales funnels quickly and efficiently, without wasting excessive amounts of time on blind trial-and-error.
So let’s talk about measures that bring results, efforts every startup should undertake to improve their sales funnel, generate leads, and secure profitable relations with their target markets.
Know What Matters
Before you can begin any endeavor to enhance your sales funnel, you need to understand what matters for your success. The key performance indicators of a particular startup can be very different from startups in other industries, utilizing other sales methods, or engaging different markets, so it’s important to do your research and figure out what numbers mean something and which do not.
Without accurate information, everything else is meaningless.
Moving forward, you’ll develop strategies and tactics around these metrics, so it’s important to 1. Know what they are and 2. Have a way to track them; there are plenty of solutions out there for tracking performance, so find one that’s appropriate to your startup and learn to use it.
All Contact Is Marketing
It’s easy to forget this, but every interaction a prospect has with your startup needs to be treated as marketing. Advertisements, landing pages, email blasts, and well-crafted interviews are not the only places your customers are forming their opinions. To improve your sales funnel, shape every potential interaction with the intention of drawing prospects deeper into the web, closer to the close. Extraneous interactions should be eliminated, distractions purged, uncontrolled and unscripted interactions tamed. Unify your interactions with customers, and your company will see a boom in lead quality and quantiy.
Make Them Care
Early in your interactions with a prospect, you need to make them care. Landing pages should establish three things as quickly as possible: The problem the prospect needs to overcome, the solution to that problem, and why your company should provide it. That last factor accounts for far too many ineffective sales funnels, as startups all too aware of the quality of their solution forget to make the buyer care about who provides that solution. Making customers care makes them spend less time researching competitors, makes them act earlier, makes them stick around when a webpage doesn’t load right or a form won’t submit. Making prospects care matters, so give them a good reason to.
Push Early Actions
Your sales funnel shouldn’t terminate in a crazy straw—get your prospects in the right place, then make them act. It doesn’t have to be a major action. Although the bigger you can convince them to go through with the better, even something as simple as convincing a potential customer to provide their name, company, and email address in exchange for a free ebook will make them ultimately far, far more likely to become a paying customer. It’s a principal akin to the sunk-cost fallacy—once they’ve expended resources, trust, time, or money on your company, they’ll want to make sure to recoup that expenditure even if it means investing more.
Offering specific advice on developing a more potent sales funnel can be difficult, especially for startups—often, new ideas require new ways of approaching prospects, new avenues of marketing, new approaches to old ideas. But certain principals will ring true for any such funnel, so stick with them and develop relationships with your customers that will turn your startup into a success story.