Understanding your sales process will not only help you build an effective funnel, but it will also help you figure out exactly what type of information is going to be useful to each lead at every point in the sales process, and make sure they receive it.

1. Map out your sales process

Before you can effectively convert leads to sales, it’s important that you know your sales process; that is to say – what steps each lead will go through on their way to a sale, and then what happens after you’ve made the sale. Sometimes it’s easiest to start by mapping out the ideal scenario for converting a lead – the simplest way that could happen, then add to your funnel based on different scenarios according to how leads were acquired, their responses to initial contact, what types of content the respond to, and where they may be in the decision-making process. The important thing in this stage is to account for every step a customer could potentially take, and make sure you have a plan to maintain contact with them. Finally, don’t forget that your sales process doesn’t end after the sale – make sure you have steps in place to keep your new customers happy and informed even after they’ve bought.

2. Decide who owns each stage

Once you’ve identified the various stages of your sales process, you’ll need to determine who owns each stage, or stages, and who’s going to be responsible for moving those customers through to the next stage. Often times, this will be members of your sales team, keeping in regular communication, answering questions, delivering information, and so on. However, in our digital age, there  are many great tech tools that will automatically help you move leads through your sales process. Tools like Marketo, Pardot, or HubSpot allow you to schedule a series of actions that are triggered when your leads take certain actions, making sure they receive the right information exactly when they need it. In most cases, your sales process will need to include a mixture of human interaction (sales or customer support) and tech tools to be truly effective, but don’t be afraid to try out new ways to streamline your process and improve your customer experience.

3. Identify what info does the customer want at each stage

During your sales process, there will inevitable be certain information that needs to be exchanged, but there’s also a lot of information that might not be necessary to complete the sales process, but will significantly aid in making the sale. So walk through your sales process, and if you’ve been tracking your current sales, analytics, and so on, you might even be able to notice patterns in your funnel or places where customers are frequently exiting, and fill in the gaps of information that will keep them moving through. Put yourself in your customers shoes and try to think of what piece of information or what benefits would cause you to take the next step in the sales process, and make sure you lead gets that information when they’ll naturally be asking those questions.

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