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The sales funnel, which is sometimes referred to as a marketing funnel or revenue funnel, illustrates the idea that every sale begins with a large number of potential customers, and ends with a much smaller number of people who actually make a purchase.
Sales funnel stages will vary according to your business and the products and services you offer, but they are generally divided into four sections.
Awareness & Prospecting
This stage includes the largest amount of customer prospects. It’s at this stage in which customers have determined they have a problem, begun searching for a solution and become aware of a business providing such a solution via content marketing, an email campaign, social media marketing or other avenues, usually following research.
Interest & Engagement
At this stage, the number of customer prospects begins to decrease, but the possibility of a sales conversion increases. This is generally when the customer will engage with the business, request more information and ask questions. This stage is crucial for a business as it providers an opportunity to showcase all the benefits of buying from your business and not the competition.
Research & Decision
Once the customer has become aware of the business, reached out and sought answers to questions, it’s time for the decision. This stage of the process may include sales offers and further research into the different options available, presented by the business and the products or services on offer. Discounts and special offers can clinch the deal at this stage in the funnel.
Action & Sale
All of the previously mentioned stages funnel down into the final step: action. At this point, the customer has decided to purchase the product or service and the sale is finalised.
Every business should understand and master every stage of their sales funnel, as it has been proven time and time again that a well managed and engaging sales funnel has a significant role in increasing sales.
People buy from people……. Fact! Your business success will be determined by your ability to generate revenue and sell because without money you won’t last very long in business but it’s not just your products or services you are selling. You are also selling yourself.
If you are wondering if you are doing things correctly and well positioned to succeed at the art of selling, then read on:
Selling is People Business
Lots of business owners get caught up in what they are selling and forget that they’re in the people business. Your customer wants to be treated personally and it’s your job to make sure they feel special and important. Whatever products or services you are offering, don’t forget that ultimately the solutions you are selling should provide your customers with happiness and a pleasant experience by meeting their needs. It is usually these nice customer experiences that prompt complimentary reviews and lead to recommendations and referrals. Each customer provides you with an opportunity to showcase your people skills.
Results is King
The sales game is not one of organising, planning or meetings, it’s about getting results…. End of…. Business owners often spend time being very business but unfortunately are kidding themselves as they are not getting themselves in front of customers who can buy their products or services.
Your success in selling is about getting results and that means getting your products into the hands of more customers. A great business person knows how to get the customer’s attention and present their product or service in a way that causes the customer to buy. Don’t confuse results with efforts. You don’t try to get an appointment, you either get it or you don’t.
Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
The best business owners are willing to throw themselves into uncomfortable situations and take risks. So convinced of their product or service, they are willing to get in front of the tough customers, ask the hard questions and go for the close. Doing the uncomfortable thing is where the top performers live. You can’t bring the big deals home without getting into the deep waters where the big fish swim.
Impress the Customer
Great business people look for ways to inspire a customer’s emotional involvement and create the urgency to take ownership. When you wow a customer, you make a difference and cause them to want to hold onto that experience. You can take any product or service, even a boring one and make it a wow!
Be Bold and Ask for the sale.
This may seem very obvious, but most business owners never ask for the sale. This is hard to believe, but it’s true. Regardless of your product, price or how professional you are, if you don’t ask, you will only sell to those who are going to buy regardless. Be bold and ask for the sale!
Converting leads into sales is the single biggest challenge we encounter when mentoring clients who are running SME’s. It is fair to say that the majority of your leads won’t automatically convert into sales by simply being sent through your conversion funnel. It will often require additional help to produce the conversion. So here are our main tips to help your business convert more leads into sales the easy way.
- Entice the lead
We all like a freebie…. fact! Offering a free gift or providing a special time sensitive discount is a great way to push leads to convert as it creates a sense of urgency. The discount doesn’t have to be something outrageous and the free gift doesn’t have to have a high monetary value but it is all about creating a sense of urgency. The average consumer simply can’t pass up a free offer or a limited-time discount.
- Be brave and ask for the sale
It makes perfect sense to ask the lead if they are ready to purchase and watch how many reply “yes.” They became a lead because they were interested in what your business offers. Food for thought: if your business doesn’t ask for the sale your competitor will so don’t be behind in coming forward! And if the lead is taking too long to respond then implement no 1 above!
- Promote the potential ROI carrot
Does your product or service have the potential to increase your lead’s return on investment? If yes then don’t be shy in letting them know this. Reminding them that you are offering a solution that will help them make more money will often push them to convert.
- Develop a great FAQ page on your website
We all enjoy anonymously web browsing and gathering as much information as possible before we make that purchase…. Many leads won’t convert because they have questions that they need answered before they commit to the sale. Answer common questions that your leads might have and make it easy for them to find all the information they need on your website.
- Don’t waste your valuable time on dead leads
Set a “no communication” deadline to remove unresponsive leads from your marketing funnel. So for example: “We have not heard from you in 30 days. Even though this will be our final communication, please feel free to reach out to us in the future if you have any questions.” This will often cause a reaction and if it doesn’t then it prevents you from wasting valuable time and energy on a dead lead. Remember to file their details in your list of future follow ups in 6-9 months.
- Simple follow-up
A quick follow-up email or phone call asking your leads if they have any additional questions will often get them back into purchase mode. This is an effective way of quickly converting leads into sales before a lot of time passes. It is imperative that you immediately contact all of the leads that are generated through various platforms such as email, Facebook Messenger or your website and then follow-up with them a few days later, offering to answer any questions that they might have or simply email them the link to No.4 above. The simple follow-up will close a large percentage of leads for virtually every industry as it’s important to always strike while the iron is hot!
To end… remember the problem is that most leads (80% or more) are not ready to talk to you just yet about sales, when they first contact your company. However research shows that 90% of them will buy within the next 12 months. But most of them will end up buying from a different company for the simple reason that they were ignored. People buy from people so remember to keep engaging.
Your website should be one of your most valuable tools for your business to use to connect with customers, inform them of what services you provide, build credibility and how they can contact you, ultimately driving more business your way.
If you website is not giving you the value you need and attracting customer queries, then it’s safe to say you have a problem. Because of this common challenge, here are some of the reasons why you should consider assessing and possibly redesigning your website.
The website does not have a call to action
What is the purpose of your website and what is it you want website visitors to do once they have landed on your site? Every site needs a call to action on each page to allow it to be quick and easy for the customer to make a phone call or subscribe to an email list or follow you on your social media accounts and more.
It’s not optimized
Can your website be viewed on multiple device types i.e. laptops, large monitors, phones, tablets, etc. If your website does not run well on all of these devices, customers will click out.
The website is out of date and cluttered
Customers want to visit a website that is clean, easy to navigate, pleasing to the eye and informative. With fierce competition, it is vital that your website stands out from the crowd. If you haven’t updated your website in the last 24-months, chances are it is out of date. If you are unsure, ask a friend for an honest opinion.
Search Engine Optimization isn’t included
If you want to rank highly on search engines, your website must be search engine optimized. You have to use the proper keyword phrases within your content. Optimize your images with the correct alt tags and if you are a novice, get an expert to help.
It’s slow to load
There is nothing more painful than a slow loading website. It will frustrate you and your customers and will damage your sales. Due to the increasing internet speeds available, users have lower tolerances for waiting times and this is very evident on mobile devices. People want sites that load quickly when they are on the move.
It’s not selling your products or services
Does your website make it easy for customers to make a purchase? If the answer is no, then reconsider how to advertise your products or services to attract customers. If you do have a high number of views, consider additional advertising.
Is your brand visible and memorable?
Are visitors connecting with your company? Think about your brand statement and whether customers are connecting with you and your brand. Make sure your logo is clearly displayed and cheerful.
At MentorUs Business Solutions, we are here to assist you to achieve your business goals so contact us today!
A business plan is a written description of the future of your business. It is an essential road map for business success and without one, the business will lack direction. This living document generally projects 3-5 years ahead and outlines the route a company intends to take to build customers and grow revenue and profits. Consider your mission statement and let this theme run through your business plan.
This is an easy guide to get you started. There are six main heading in a business plan:
- Executive Summary
This section can only be written when you have finished putting together the other sections of your plan, however it usually appears first in your business plan. Your executive summary is a snapshot of your business plan as a whole and touches on your company profile and goals. It is often considered the most important section as it briefly tells your reader where your company is, where you want to take it, and why your business idea will be successful.
- Company Description
This section provides a high-level review of the different elements of your business and should be written to help readers and potential investors to easily understand the goal of your business and its unique proposition. It should include:
- The nature of the business and list the customer or industry needs that you aim to satisfy
- How your products and services meet these needs
- The specific consumers, organisations or businesses that your company serves or will serve
- The competitive advantages that you believe will make your business a success such as your location, expert personnel, efficient operations or ability to bring value to your customers.
- Market/Competitor Analysis
The market analysis section of your business plan is vital in accurately illustrating your industry as well as your research findings and conclusions. You should provide in detail:
- The critical needs of your potential customers
- Demographics of the group and where are they located
- Seasonal or cyclical purchasing trends that may impact your business
- Forecasted market growth for this group
- How much market share can you gain
- Pricing and gross margin targets (define your pricing structure, gross margin levels, and any discount that you plan to use)
- Information about market tests or research studies you have completed
- Competitive analysis should identify your competition by product line or service and market segment, market share, strengths and weaknesses and opportunities and threats (SWOT)
- How important is your target market to your competitors
- Are there any barriers that may hinder you as you enter the market
- What is your window of opportunity to enter the market
- Are there any indirect or secondary competitors who may impact your success
- What barriers to market are there (e.g., changing technology, high investment cost, lack of quality personnel)
- Product or Service
In this section you will get into the details about your product or service and outline the benefits from a customers’ perspective. Think about how your product or service will meet customer needs and include any advantages your product has over that of the competition. Outline where your product or service is in its life cycle, as well as any factors that may influence its cycle in the future.
The finance section should consist of three financial statements, the income statement, the cash flow projection and the balance sheet and a brief explanation and analysis of these three statements.
Illustrate your sales forecast in detail by including a spreadsheet projecting your sales over the course of three years. Set up different sections for different lines of sales and columns for every month for the first year and either on a monthly or quarterly basis for the second and third years as this will give potential investors a good idea of future profits.
Finally, include a short analysis of your financial information. Include a ratio and trend analysis for all of your financial statements, both historical and prospective. Since pictures speak louder than words, you may want to add graphs of your trend analysis, especially if they are positive.
It is vital you define your marketing strategy early on in the business planning stage. There is no single way to approach a marketing strategy; your strategy should be part of an ongoing business evaluation process and unique to your company. However, there are common steps you can follow which will help you think through the direction and tactics you would like to use to drive sales and sustain customer loyalty.
Using the Four Ps Model (product, price, place & promotion) will help to develop a marketing strategy suitable for your product or service.
- The first of the Four Ps of marketing is product. It’s imperative that you have a clear grasp of exactly what your product is and what makes it unique before you can successfully market it. Identify the unique selling point (USP) as this will act a guide when analysing the other P’s.
- Once a concrete understanding of the product offering is established you can start making some pricing decisions. Price determinations will impact profit margins, supply, demand and marketing strategy. Therefore your product or service may need to be positioned differently based on varying price points, while price elasticity considerations may influence our next two Ps.
- We’ve got a product and a price now it’s time to promote it. Promotion looks at the many ways marketing agencies disseminate relevant product information to consumers and differentiate a particular product or service. Promotion includes elements like: advertising, public relations, social media marketing, email marketing, search engine marketing, video marketing and more. Each touch point must be supported by a well positioned brand to truly maximize return on investment.
- Often you will hear marketers saying that marketing is about putting the right product, at the right price, at the right place, at the right time. It’s critical then, to evaluate what the ideal locations are to convert potential clients into actual clients. Today, even in situations where the actual transaction doesn’t happen on the web, the initial place potential clients are engaged and converted is online.
If you need help with writing your business plan then contact MentorUs Business Solutions today!
It is a common mistake made by many who think business mentoring and coaching are similar or even the same thing. But they’re not! There are so many differences between the two industries, but here are the main few to note.
“A coach has some great questions for your answers; a mentor has some great answers for your questions.”
Short Term –v- Long Term
Business mentoring is always long term and is all about the journey you embark upon especially when embracing change. To truly have a successful mentoring relationship, there is a requirement of time to allow both parties to learn about one another and build a climate of trust that creates an environment in which the client can feel secure in sharing the real issues that impact his or her business. Successful mentoring relationships can last for many months and can sometimes go on for years. Confidentiality is crucial.
Coaching is short term and goal orientated. A coach is usually involved with a client for a short period of time, maybe even just a few sessions. The coaching lasts for as long as is needed, depending on the purpose of the coaching relationship.
Strategy – v- Immediate
M – Business mentoring focuses on determining the strategic purpose, the key problem areas, the specific mentoring goals and the specific components that will guide the relationship, especially when business issues have been identified and require long term attention.
C – Coaching does not require strategy and can be conducted almost immediately on any given topic and does not necessarily require a long lead-time to actually implement a coaching program.
Development –v- Performance
M- Business mentoring is development driven with its main purpose to develop the client not only for their existing role or business, but well into the future. It’s all about developing skills and analysis techniques for use for many years to come.
C – Coaching is performance driven and focuses on improving the clients performance on the job or in a specific role. This involves either enhancing current skills or acquiring new skills. Once the client successfully acquires the skills, the coach is no longer needed.
Mentor Skills – V – Coach Skills
M– A business mentor is normally more experienced and qualified in business than the client. Their knowledge and experience would often be gained from holding a senior business position in an organisation and or possess the relevant business qualification.
C – Coaching is generally not performed on the basis that the coach needs to have direct experience of their client’s formal occupational role, unless the coaching is specific and skills-focused. A coach offers a client a process to follow to help reach those.
If you would like to learn more about business mentoring and what it can do for your business, then contact us today.
According to the content marketing institute “Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience and ultimately to drive profitable customer action”.
Relationships rely on honest, relevant, and respectful two way communication. The content you create and publish as part of your content marketing strategy is your first line of communication. Providing valuable information about your product or service in a way that respects your consumers’ preferences for consumption, is the way into their hearts.
Content marketing has taken its place as the key to building those relationships that connect with and convert your consumers.
So what do you need to do to get on the content marketing train?
Have a Content Marketing Strategy
74% of business to customer marketers have a content marketing strategy! Why?? Because without a strategy you will generate random content that no one wants to read whilst also failing to successfully appeal to your target audience and ultimately generate leads.
Companies with an active blog generate 67% more leads per month than businesses who do not blog. That’s a significant boost to sales if followed through correctly.
More than 80% of business to business marketers listed brand awareness as the key content marketing goal for their business. It makes sense……
More Content Does NOT Equal More Web Traffic
Quality over quantity is key when it comes to content marketing. Clutter or boring content may fill up the spaces but it will also drive customers away in their droves….. yawn……..
Target your Target Audience
The strength of good content marketing is in providing the information and answers that your target audience is looking for, but your hard work is wasted if they can’t find it! Make sure you’re creating content for the user, but that search engines will also favour.
Consistent Quality Content
Content marketing is a long-term strategy, based on building a strong relationship with your target audience, by giving them high quality content that is very relevant to them on a consistent basis.
So…….in a nutshell content marketing is marketing with content that a target audience finds relevant and valuable using a systematic approach to continuously publish and distribute great content.
If you want to find out more about content marketing for your business or industry, then contact MentorUs Business Solutions today. We assist you to achieve your business goals!
Starting a new business is never easy, taking that idea and turning it into reality…. exciting, scary and everything in between. Here we will look at action you can take to get that new business off the ground and all for free!
- Start with a business plan to focus you and your business
No matter how rosy the image of what your dream business looks like, it will stay a dream until you develop a robust and realistic business plan. While a vision or goal is vital in business, writing those ideas down into a tangible road map or business plan will provide the foundation for how you want to structure your business and plan for growth and development. Once completed it will act as a reminder of what it is you are trying to achieve and will make you question decisions or deviations from your original business idea.
- Carry out extensive market research in your industry and know if there is a market for your idea
Understanding the local landscape of your industry and where your business will fill a needed gap, is crucial for a smart start. No gap in the market will equal no profit! Leverage all resources for your business set up, including analysing the competition. Find out if they are making money or whether is it a saturated industry with little money to be made. Complete aSWOT analysis and be truthful , what are the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Talk with other small business owners about their successes and pitfalls and learn from their experiences.
- Start a blog to let the world know you have arrived!
A blog is a great way to get relevant content out there for your target audience. The blog can be informative and fun and should get the reader excited about your brand as well as informing everyone what you do, what you sell and how you can solve their problem. A well written blog is a clever way to infuse your business information into your blog, information that you want your readers to know. This way, you won’t bore or scare away readers with heavy technical information. You need to know what emotions are conveyed through your blog. For example, if it is trust or convenience, then your blog will evoke those emotions in your readers. Emotions are a powerful force as readers will begin to associate these emotions with your brand.
- Use Social Media and own your real estate!
Social media is the customer service platform of the future, FaceBook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram are the four big social media platforms where it is all happening. Social media customer service inquiries are getting more frequent and many people are using Twitter or Facebook to ask companies questions including the older generations who are catching on as well. A business who has frequently monitored social media accounts, makes it easier to get customer questions answered and issues resolved. Creating this form of networking and encouraging your customers to reach out through social media, makes your business more accessible whilst raising your online profile.
- Engage with a business mentor
A business mentors can offer you expert advice and guidance based on actual experiences successes and failures. They can provide you with a fresh perspective by asking you the right questions to get you thinking. It’s easy to get caught up with your ideas to the point of questioning, confusion or second guessing and having a sounding board in a business mentor is a great way to work through some of those kinks. You may also be presented with some considerations from a business mentor that you wouldn’t have come across otherwise. So it’s a great opportunity to broaden your own outlook.
If you would like to discuss your new business then contact MentorUs Business Solutions today. We help you to achieve your business goals!
A brand is your promise to your customers. Brand execution is how you deliver on that promise and how you make your brand actionable. A brand being actionable means it is not merely an idea or a concept; it has a tangible action plan. Here are some excellent examples of brands that have executed brand awareness in offering something distinct and unique.
Agile marketing is a tactical marketing approach in which a business identifies and focuses their efforts on a high value marketing projects whilst continuously reviewing and editing to incrementally improves upon the results over time.
Agile Marketing is not about quick returns nor is it about long term plans. Agile Marketing is more about committing to doing marketing right whilst adapting to change. You have to practice it every day, and over time, with commitment and consistency, the benefits begin to accrue.
Agile, in the marketing context, means using data and analytics to continuously source promising opportunities or solutions to problems in real time, deploying tests quickly, evaluating the results, and rapidly iterating.
There are a number of values that should be applied when implementing agile marketing to your business:
- Responding to change instead of following the plan
- Start with a small strategy instead of the big plan
- Test and use evidence instead of conversations and opinions
- Many small tests and campaigns
- Different people bring different benefits to the campaign
- Work together and not against eachother
So to sum up, agile marketing is about doing it differently from how you have been. Instead of spending weeks planning your marketing campaign, try and test lots of various approaches and continually gauge what is and isn’t working. If it isn’t working then stop immediately and move on to the next test. Evidence is crucial when evaluating the effectivenes of your marketing, so don’t ignore the failings as it will cost you dearly. Be agile enough to change it up and to get the help and expertise necessary to make your marketing a winner for your business and profits.
If you would like to learn more about agile marketing, then contact MentorUs Business Solutions today.
Small business marketing is evolving quickly for small business owners, which implies that advertisers must be nimble in how they connect with potential buyers and communities. As buyers navigate from Facebook to Twitter to Pinterest and Instagram, offers and deals are processed in an unexpected way. Eventually, the system that will be best for your versatile […]
The Elevator Pitch in business is a brief, persuasive speech that you use to spark interest in you and your business. It takes time to get your pitch just right and you’ll more than likely go through several versions before finding one that is compelling, and that sounds natural in conversation.
Follow these steps to create a great pitch!
As social media continues to grow in popularity, the value of using it for business has become obvious. In fact, 92% of marketers say that social media is important to their business. And this number only continues to grow year on year. But while businesses understand the importance of social media marketing, we continue to […]