What is in your sales funnel?

Sales funnelRick arrived, late as usual, and said, “The topic of the day
is sales funnels.”

Kate snorted and spat, “Who made you King for the day?”

I said, “Whoa. Let’s find out why he is so concerned before
we send him to the guillotine.”

Rick continued, “I have to understand how products go from
that first glimmer in a prospect’s eye to the final add-on sale and then, over
time, repeat purchases if I’m going to change ROI and Life Time Value of the
products and services I help sell.  But I’m
having difficulty getting some newer clients to understand what is and isn’t in
their sales funnel. I need for them to understand so I can find the places I
can be of most help. It could be just shining the light on the product or service
so the prospect can get that glimmer. Or it could be nurturing the sale in
early middle or late phases. It could be developing offers that are delivered
in mail or e-mail or in person or even in the store whether it is on line or
brick and mortar.

I’m trying to get them to analyze how their sales happen and
how the actions they take fit into the funnel. They keep getting hung up
between on and off-line, proactive and reactive plus automatic versus personal.”

Kate said, “Let me guess, the sales people and the marketing
people keep giving you different viewpoints and within either of those silos
there are differences of opinion.”

Rick replied, “Yeah, it’s as if they speak different

“They do,” I said.

Gail picked it up, “The internet made the direct business
easier and harder because it used to be that the sales department asked marketing
for one thing: qualified leads. They grudgingly agreed that brand kind of
helped them but claimed that once someone showed interest the only way to close
them was to have a salesperson in the mix. But guys like you figured out how to
get a sale without having one of those nose-to-nose types in the equation. Then
the internet came along and made it even easier to nurture a lead. That used to
be a sales job. Suddenly, it has become a marketing job and you’ve got people
that don’t know how to recognize where someone is in the sales cycle trying to cater
to them and move them down that funnel.”

Kate nodded and said, “That is really the case. There are
what gamblers call ‘tells’, signals that prospects give you in meetings as well
as how they answer some questions. I’ve noticed that marketing folks are
reticent about asking some of those questions and they seldom notice the signs
that indicate real interest or concerns.”

“So how do we help Rick?” I asked.

Rob drawled, Bein’ the brand guy gives me a slightly
different way of looking at it that may help. Y’all keep talking about the
funnel as if it were the kind you use to put oil in the family flivver. You
talk as if there is only one funnel…yours. Well, I agree there’s only one
funnel but you got the shape and the physics all wrong. Try thinkin’ about it
like it was one of those vortex things they have in convenience stores. Ya
know, they’re sort of wider and flatter. You drop a coin into a slot and a combination
of gravity and centrifugal force rolls it around the edge and it keeps circling
the bowl until if finally gets flushed thru the hole down in the bottom. Now imagine
that there are some other holes along the slope. Your coin, your funnel
approach can be hijacked if you’re not careful.”

“And,” I said, “Rick is just one of the hijackers.”

“So how do we fix it?, Rick asked?

Rob said, “Help your clients understand that together you
can find ways to get folks to stop goin’ around the barn or, failing that,
discover a way to walk along with them listenin’ and looking at the clues they
give ya to move them to your product or service instead of somebody else’s.
First, though, you have to get them to move their thinking from that steep
direct funnel to the flat vortex model.”

Rick said, “I can see how that would work. The right offer
turns the coin from spiraling to plummeting directly into the sale you wanted and
if the offer doesn’t work you need to have information they need or want easily
and readily available so that when they ask for it you note the request and
compare it to what others that have purchased did next.  That is what automated marketing can do for
you and why you need an automated marketing system. And if you turn it upside
down how would that impact your marketing approach?

What problems or solutions do you see with this different kind
of funnel?

Jerry Fletcher is a Contact Relationship Magician. Part of
the magic he brings to marketing strategy is the ability to see standard models
from a new perspective. See more at www.JerryFletcher.com

Need a speaker for a business or association conference?
Jerry is a professional keynoter who speaks internationally. Learn more at www.NetworkingNinja.com

Contact Relationship Management and the Fear Factor

CRM Fear Factor“Why are people afraid of Contact Relationship Management? What makes them shy away from putting it to work in their business even when they are already using an e-mail marketing program?”

Gail asked, “Is this a rhetorical question or do you really want an answer?”

“I reckon it’s nigglin’ at him like a fly on the summer porch when you try to take nap,” said Rob.

“That’s right, Rob,” I said. “I don’t mind being asked to facilitate a meeting when a company is about to adopt a CRM system. But, every time I do, I walk away shaking my head. On one hand it is very satisfying to get everyone in small company in a conference room to work out what needs to done to make the system effective for them. On the other it can be like skipping through a mine field. The tough part is getting everybody on the same page.”

Rob chuckled and stifled a belly laugh.

Kate asked, “What’s the joke?”

“When he said that thing ‘bout the same page it minded me of a Sunday mornin’ when there was a misprint in the order of service and the Choir was singin’ one thing and all the folks in the pews had their hymnals open to another. It was the worst caterwaulin’ cacophony you ever heard.”

“If you ever had to set up a CRM system, Rob, you would think that was the sweetest symphony ever,” said Kate. “I’ve been there and I just wish the companies I worked with had at least some of the folks that are going to use the Contact Management System work out what to call things. Too often they just have the managers designate how to identify things or assume the default is the best option.”

“You got it, Kate,” I said. “This week it was the usual hangup—classifying the people in the system not to mention identifying tasks and to-dos and trying to be sure the reports they want will generate properly. I think the single biggest problem is that the company officer who buys the software is usually not experienced with Sales or Customer service or Marketing which will supposedly perform better with the new system in place. And on top of that, the senior person in the room usually is the least computer savvy.

This time, the President of the company wanted to issue targets to the sales staff with no data other than the name of the company. The sales manager and her staff couldn’t agree on a way to differentiate between a lead, a qualified lead and a Prospect and preferred not to use the term Prospect at all. Then, of course, since they had multiple products, their clients had to be designated by product and, of course, some of them were purchasing multiple products.”

Rick took a sip of coffee and said, “Look, I know how you think. What did you figure out?”

“The direct marketing guy is as direct as ever,” Gail said. And I think he’s right. What did you figure out?

“It’s that old bugaboo: Change and the need to be perfect” I said. “People feel like they have to get it just right the first time. We approach technology sometimes with the idea that there is no second chance.

As I was working through things with this group a couple of them agreed to take over the keyboard and mouse to work through customizing the demo of the product we were using in the meeting. As soon as they understood that this demo could be completely or partially thrown away they relaxed and started experimenting.

What I learned is that there is a way to take the scary out of the selection, verification and setup of CRM systems for small companies. I’m adding it to my program: Contact Relationship Magic TM for all purchasers… including those that bought it previously.

The question for you is: What should I call it? Here are some possibilities:

Savvy Set Up
How to take the scary out of CRM

The Perfect CRM Setup
Tips and Tricks to avoid Traps in your new system

CRM Secret Sauce
Clear, concise steps to eliminate set up pain”

What would you call it?

Jerry Fletcher has been away enjoying the holidays and wrapping up the year. You’ll find some minor changes on his consulting web site www.JerryFletcher.com (including a new store by the end of the month.)

Jerry continues his speaking schedule but is taking time out to simply be an attendee at an Oregon NSA event for executives and professionals at the end of the month. www.SignalConference.com He will be happy to get you in for about half off.

Just The Facts Man

Marketing Facts for 2014Sergeant Friday from the old TV show Dragnet was always asking
for “Just the Facts”

Your mission on this first gathering of the new year is to
come up with one fact you’ve learned in 2013 that will change what you do in

Kate started, “If you want to sell in the Business to
Business market, learn how to use Linked In to your advantage. I was a skeptic
until I listened to what some consultants said about adjusting your profile and
learning how to use connections to get to the decision makers in target
companies including ones I hadn’t thought of. The best tip was: Make your title
Put some emotional content into it. Make it a solution to your ideal
client’s problem.”

Rick nodded and said, “Mail is stronger than ever, mainly
because fewer companies are using it. But how you use it is incredibly
important. I had lunch with an old friend the other day that is getting 50 to
60% response rates. He is using a program that yields those kinds of rates because
it is highly interactive and delivers marketing information from clients plus
referrals and does it by delivering in boxes that rattle instead of envelopes. But
the secret sauce is something we too often forget: The more focused your list,
the better your response will be.

Chris added, “And when your list isn’t focused you have to focus
on what the respondent is really looking for
. That’s why if you are selling
expertise with an ongoing delivery you darn well better talk to the prospect. I
help people set up Pay Per Click advertising and I can tell you from first hand
experience that when the price hits a certain point even if you have great
reviews the prospect is going to want to talk to you. One piece of advice I will
never forget is that if you are a consultant you need to put your phone number
on every page of your web site
. The best spot for it is the lower right corner
of the banner.”

Gail, our writing guru looked around the table and began, “You
know I’m late to the technology party but I finally got started putting together
some products. In order to do that I had to learn some new software and try
some stuff I didn’t have the courage to try
before. Anyway, I’ve done it. Here’s a copy of the first couple for each of you.
What I learned that I’m putting to work this year is that nearly 58% of YouTube
viewers are between 20 and 35 and 21% are between 36 and 60. I know the share
of the How To category is just 3.1% but when there are 33.2 Billion views
overall that small percentage is huge.”

“ Well, ol’ son,” Rob drawled, What I learned in 2013 is
that there are  a lot more carpet baggers
talkin’ about branding than know how to grow one. They all think branding
is something you do rather than gets done to you. ’cause of your complete attitude.
You want some facts about branding, study Ralph Lauren’s Polo label. Every ad,
photo, hang tag and garment contributes to a value image even when you buy the
socks on sale like I did last week

That great philosopher POGO said something
like, “We have met the enemy and he are us’ That applies in spades to the new
age ad geeks that push logos as branding. I learned again  the sad truth that Gresham’s law is right and it is true for
brand, too. But I will endure and brand shall rise again!”

“Jeez, Rob, tell us how you feel about it,” I said. “My 2013
factoid is that you can lead a small business to an integrated CRM that allows
them to automate their marketing but they are not ready to partake at that
. They just don’t understand what it can do for them.

I’ve handed that sling to a couple of Davids and they just
haven’t figured out how to put it in motion. That’s what I’m taking into 2014.
I’m going to take to the clubs and Chambers of Commerce and Networking groups and
tell them hat the research shows that 93% of companies that use automated marketing
win and it gives the little guy an edge over the big corporations.
I’m going to
do everything I can to show them how to use it to their benefit.”

What did you learn in 2013 that will benefit you and your
customers in the coming year?

Jerry Fletcher has returned with his merry band of marketing masters and plans to publish the “Dialogue Blog” once a week in 2014. Join us with questions and comments.

Jerry can be found on Linked In, Facebook and at his consulting site or professional speaking site.