By Our Content Partner, the Sales Collective
Over the last few months, we have unpacked “How Elite CEOs are Planning to Drive Revenue in 2023.” We discussed the three important functions of business that drive revenue: People, Processes (1) & (2), and Technology. This article will explain the sales funnel and the technology needed to maximize each stage successfully. Today’s article is our last installment, and we’ll look at sales technology through the lens of the sales funnel.
Sales technology has been a game-changer for how businesses interact with customers. It’s enabled organizations to better engage and sell to their prospects. In today’s digital world, sales technology has become essential to achieve and maintain a competitive edge in the marketplace.
A sales funnel (aka a customer journey) is simply the process of converting prospects into customers through a funnel. The funnel consists of different stages, each with its unique challenges and requirements. Here’s an overview of the steps of a sales funnel and what salespeople need to accomplish throughout in order to succeed.
1. Awareness Stage
The awareness stage is at the top of the funnel, where potential customers become aware of the product or service’s existence. At this stage, people need to understand what problem the product or service solves and how it can benefit them.
To be successful in this stage, salespeople should leverage various marketing channels and intent-based tools to understand the dark funnel and create general awareness of your solution. (SEO, Website, and other Demand Generation is helpful here, but this article is more on sales-based tools than marketing or branding).
Here are some commonly used tools and approaches in this stage:
Sales engagement platforms like Outreach, SalesLoft, & Apollo are helpful here to scale outbound efforts. Your team may also benefit from a sales intelligence platform like SalesIntel or ZoomInfo, which provide valuable data for your ideal contacts and target accounts.
Intent-based tools like 6Sense and Bombora are also helpful to better understand who may be looking for a solution like yours.
Lastly, creating and posting content on LinkedIn is a modern way to drive awareness. Using social media marketing through market-specific influencers to drive engagement for your solution can prove extremely valuable.
2. Interest Stage
People need more information and resources to help them make a buying decision. After becoming aware of the product or service, prospects move to the interest stage. In this stage, they actively seek and evaluate information about the product or service.
Salespeople can be successful in this stage by providing prospects with valuable information that answers their questions and addresses their concerns. Prospects will find value in content like product demos, case studies, and customer testimonials.
Here are some key tools that will support your sellers during this stage:
CRM – Salesforce or Hubspot will help you manage opportunities and keep track of accounts and contacts.
Sales enablement platforms like Seismic, Highspot, or Mediafly will store valuable sales content and make it easy for your salespeople to find what they need when they need it.
Competitive Intelligence platforms like Klue will help salespeople better differentiate solutions in the marketplace.
Demo-in-a-box solutions like Reprise or Walnut will help scale your early interest demo motion by giving interested parties an easy way to get familiar with your solution without much sales effort.
3. Consideration Stage
In the consideration stage, the prospects have shown a significant level of interest in the product or service and are considering making a purchase. At this stage, people need personalized attention and guidance to help them understand the value of the product or service.
Salespeople need to be skilled at building relationships with prospects and understanding their unique needs and pain points. They should also be able to provide personalized recommendations that align with the prospects’ goals and preferences.
There are several external tools that can be used to provide a better buying experience like Deal Rooms, provided by Seismic or DealHub. There are also value engineering tools that keep deal information organized and can build business cases around the justification for change. Some of these tools are provided by Mediafly or The ROI Shop.
Internally, tools like DealDoc help salespeople find gaps in their deals or Mutual Action Plan tools like Recapped, Accord, or DealPad help sellers project manage the deal. You also want to consider having a tool like Gong or Abstrakt to help you understand what’s going on in the deals and to provide better coaching.
4. Purchase Stage
At the bottom of the funnel is the purchase stage, where the prospect becomes a customer (or client) by purchasing your product or signing up for your services. At this stage, salespeople need a seamless and frictionless buying experience. Salespeople should focus on making the purchasing process as easy as possible, providing user-friendly tools to make it easy to transact. You may also explore using pipeline management software.
Externally, contracting tools like DocuSign make it way easier to transact. Internally, tools like Clari or Boostup will help provide better clarity into the pipeline and give you improved forecast accuracy.
5. Post-Purchase Stage
After making a purchase, the customer enters the post-purchase stage, where they evaluate their buying experience and the product or service they have received. People need ongoing support and engagement to help them realize the full value of the product or service. Salespeople can be successful in this stage by providing excellent customer support, offering additional resources and training to help customers get the most out of their purchases, and soliciting feedback and reviews to help improve the product or service.
This category is becoming increasingly important as businesses try to increase their customers’ lifetime value. Consider using tools like Gainsight or Catalyst to support the customer-led growth motion.
I’m sure you’re well aware, but more technology is not always the answer. Sometimes, it’s your people or process that need the most improvement. All the technology in the world won’t fix those two areas, which is why we always look at those two functions first.
At The Sales Collective, our team of experts has a wealth of knowledge and decades of experience helping companies of all types and sizes implement the right sales technology. Many of our clients have seen dramatic increases in revenue, win rates, and profitability, and we’d be happy to share more if and when the time is right. If you’d like more information, please visit us at: TheSalesCollective.com.