The Basic Elements of a Sales Pipeline Demystified
Sales pipelines. Maybe you understand the concept and even the importance of a sales pipeline, yet they still seem somewhat vague as a practicality.
Too often, we allow jargon to put us off learning simple practices that would make a huge difference to our business. Let’s take a look at the framework for a sales pipeline and how you can adapt it to create your own.
This is the honey trap: the bait that your reader will gladly trade their email address for and it may be the most difficult thing to create. A free info product was once the way to go, but readers have become overwhelmed by the amount of info products out there, and more than a little apprehensive about giving their email addresses in exchange for yet another same-as-every-other-ebook they’ll never get around to reading.
Lead magnets need to deliver tremendous value and the most successful ones now come in the form of software applications such as Excel worksheets, or resource guides.
The Loss Leader
This is the product you sell for less than its worth. Amazon is a great example of a business that thrived on the use of a loss leader when it rolled out the Kindle e-reader. The company manufactured and sold its Kindle devices at a loss, but knew that they’d make the money back when their customers bought eBooks to read on those devices.
This is content designed to establish rapport, entertain, educate and influence your reader to continue their buyer’s journey with you. Typically it will focus on how your high end products solve a problem for the end user.
The High End Product
This is your Rolls Royce product – the ultimate sale your pipeline is designed to deliver.
Make it easy for your site visitors to spend money with you. The up-sell does so because your customer has overcome their own buying objections and spent money with you. Now is the time to allow them to spend more.
The down-sell, conversely, allows the customer who still has objections to buying a lesser priced product or receive a special offer to allow them to buy the main product at a cheaper price. The buyer gets some feeling of satisfaction at having been able to buy one of your products and not go away empty handed, having come this far on the journey.
Each part of your sales pipeline must reward your site visitor for the investment of time they have made in arriving at that point.
How to fast track your sales pipeline creation
Do your market research right. That means forgetting about yourself and putting yourself in the place of your customer. What do they want from your sales pipeline? Forget about what you think is great about it, and start thinking like your customer.
You may focus on how your vacuum cleaner is so powerful it can suck freshly spilled wine from your carpet, but what size is it and how economical is it? Your customer may want a vacuum cleaner that fits in their utility closet or doesn’t use much power.
Add the most stupid simple, one-click payment option you can to your website.
That includes making said payment option mobile responsive. The use of the internet on mobile devices continues to rise on a monthly basis and shows no sign of slowing down. Sites that minimize the requirement to jump through hoops are maximizing on purchases from mobile devices, where users are more likely to drop out rather than continue the purchase when faced with multiple steps in the buying process.
Keep sales and marketing separate. The term “sales and marketing” gets bandied about quite a lot – and almost always treated as if they are the same department. They’re not.
The role of your marketing department is to gain and nurture leads, and the sales department are responsible for taking orders. The majority of the work belongs to the marketing department, who should help shape the customer’s awareness of the product before the sales department takes over.
Follow up with leads continually.
Don’t allow a gap anywhere in your funnel where a CTA (call-to-action) is missing for the next step. Always Be Closing. Not in the old-fashioned sense of pressure selling, but in the modern application, of always being there for your customer.
Hire the best copywriter you can afford.
A good copywriter can look at your sales pages and eliminate the unnecessary copy, ditch the parts that focus on features where benefits are more suitable, and more. Having a clear and distinct purpose for each landing page in your funnel is vital.
Challenge objections head on.
If you ignore objections or try to sweep them under the carpet, you’re going to start worrying every time you get close to a sale. You’re also going to lack the real confidence you need that your customer isn’t going to come back to you the day after they have bought from you, requesting a refund.
Finally, you can’t do all this alone. Outsource where you lack the proper skills. It’s a small investment in your long term profitability.