A sales funnel is a multi-tiered process in which customers move through stages to eventually convert. Throughout this funnel, steps must be taken to ensure that your prospects are familiar enough with your company and product to make a purchase. It takes time and diligence from you and your team to move prospects through this process so that they become familiar enough with your product or service to buy it.
Marketing funnel automation allows you to nurture sales through each of the three sales funnel stages and scale this process. This will ensure that each prospect is getting the attention they deserve.
Let’s look at the simplified three stages of a sales funnel and review how marketing automation can help you scale your business:
Stage 1 of the Marketing Funnel – Awareness
In this first stage of the marketing funnel, prospects will view and learn about your product for the first time. This can include watching product videos or reading about how your product helps solve their problems on your website or see the valuable content you post on social media. This phase of the marketing funnel seeks to create awareness and interest in your prospect. You want them to become familiar with who you are, what you do, and what you can offer.
So how does automation come into play at this stage? Producing that quality content takes time and there’s no magic tool that can do it for your team but there are ways to automate the process and speed up the parts of the process that don’t require thoughtfulness. Look at how content gets posted to social media or your website. What parts of the process can be sped up? Can you use tools like Zapier to automate content moving from one stage to the other? Can you use free or paid tools to post across all of your social media channels to save your team time from posting one at a time?
Automation ensures that you're sharing content that generates awareness but not getting bogged down in the process of releasing it. In this stage of the funnel you need to be consistently holding the attention of your leads.
Stage 2 of the Marketing Funnel – Consideration
This next stage of the marketing funnel is where your prospect has finally reached a point where they consider purchasing your product. This is when you must capitalize on their interest and continue nurturing your leads with marketing funnel automation.
Your prospect will be looking at your product in-depth and determining if it can genuinely help them. They will be looking at your product features and how these would fit into their needs.
Their experience with your product will be paramount at this point. You want to ensure they are getting a positive experience with your product and not seeing any inefficiencies or drawbacks.
Use automation to help reduce the manual sales tasks you and your team have in this stage. Be it speeding up how leads are entered into your CRM or follow up emails and appointment setting. Anything that is done on a consistent basis needs to be considered for automation. Look at your process and find all of the areas where a human in your company is manually moving information from one place to another, those are generally areas where tools can come into play that do it for you. Do you need to ensure you follow up with a prospect after an initial call? Automating emails and anything to do with appointment setting is a great way to both keep the lead engaged and save your team time.
In this stage of the marketing funnel, a prospect will consider your product to be valuable. They want to make sure that they are not wasting money to purchase the product so anything you do to help convince them of that is a must but it can’t be at the expense of your team’s time, otherwise you’ll never scale the operation.
Stage 3 of the Marketing Funnel – Conversion
This last stage of the marketing funnel is where prospects are ready to buy a product. By now, they are thoroughly looking at your product and deciding to purchase it. In this stage, you want your prospects to feel confident that they are making the right decision.
Similar to the last phase, this is where onboarding becomes important. Onboarding customers and making the transaction process as smooth as possible is another area to examine for opportunities for automation. Again, if anyone in the company is copying and pasting information to send to customers or there are manual tasks involved with the actual delivery of the product or service to the customer, you must identify these and start tracking how much time it’s taking your team. Finding the balance between top-tier customer service at scale is your goal at this stage.
You can’t automate everything, there’s a point at which the automation is overkill for the task or automation kills the humanity you need for a particular interaction but it’s important to be aware of both where customers are in your funnel, what happens at that stage to convert leads, and how much time you and your team spend on repetitive tasks to move leads along. If you can shave a few minutes off of every engagement, that's hours of time better spent on developing valuable content, strategizing about your next product and overall improving the happiness of your staff (no one likes doing mundane tasks over and over day in and day out). Find these pockets of lost time and take them back with automation.