Everything starts with the funnel
Most literature around sales enablement and optimization is centered around one word: "funnel." In many organizations, the funnel takes precedence in sales discussions, while the stages in the funnel may not be very clearly defined. However, a funnel really exists—designed with stages to suit specific sales teams and executives with a direct impact on revenue.
The most representative image of the sales funnel is the AIDA funnel. This funnel falls in a gray area so that both sales and marketing can lay equal claim. AIDA stands for awareness, interest, desire and action.
Communication & B2B sales success
Embracing and internalizing the funnel is part of what a sales team does and we thought, we would from our experience, break down the sales funnel and look at some super skills and aids that should possibly constitute your sales team.
Selling in the B2B space is a complex process and involves a lot of stakeholders. This is especially true in the case of SaaS products. The stakeholders for small and mid-range enterprises could range from the CEO to the head of sales/IT—and yes each of these requires a unique voice , distinctive pitches, essentially different types of communication.
Sales communication is effective when you can guide a prospect or lead positively through the different stages of the AIDA funnel and make them into customers. An effective sale is by itself, proof of effective communication, be it verbal, written, or even nonverbal.
We also recognize that at this point, different organizations have their own customized buyer journey, and this could be a combination of the first two stages mentioned above: awareness and interest.
Now that we have looked at the relationship between effective communication and the sales funnel, let's jump right in and look at the different sales super heroes and sales aids that you should have on your team to guide your customers positively through the different stages of the journey.
Stay with us, as this post could answer the proverbial "how can I build a great sales team for my organization?"
Matchless Marketer: Awareness
At the top of the funnel is awareness, which represents the outreach- getting customers to know about your business offering. This stage calls for an excellent marketer who can attract the right customer by writing compelling copy and blogs, creating ads that address the pain points of the customer, and speaking effectively at industry events and lots more.
But first, a matchless marketer must be able to identify their range of customers who would benefit from your solution and has to be adept in data-driven decision-making. A point of note here is that this stage is probably the first time you are communicating your services to your customer.
You can also check out our detailed post on setting up a digital marketing practice, which has in some detail on creating customer personas and targeting them at the right place
Communication aids at awareness stage
- Advertisement copy
- Event signage
- Social Media posts
- Blog and forum posts
- Public speaking engagements
Expert educator: Interest
Now that the potential customer is aware of the products and services that you offer, they have an initial interest. But it's highly likely that they are looking at other equivalent options and need more validations, proof of concepts, and past successes to help them proceed to the next stage of decision-making. A recent study states that 97% of customers look to online reviews before trusting any business, we could be a step ahead if we could furnish customer reviews and industry validation at this level.
Information drives this stage and who better than an expert educator- someone whose superpower is to absorb all customer requirements and connect it to the solution by providing the right information, such as testimonials, industry insights, and product webinars.
A good way to provide to and understand customer requirements is to ask the right questions. A journalistic approach in asking questions which reduces assumptions will create the entire customer story.
This comprehensive customer story would also take you through to the next stage with much better preparation.
Communication aids for interest stage
- Your organization's full service deck (Master Deck)
- Product webinars
- Customer testimonials and reviews
- Industry reports
Considerate consultant: Desire
At this stage, the customer is aware of your services and comparable competitor solutions. A considerate consultant listens and understands the exact needs of the customer and provides a unique and all-encompassing solution. If the solution consists of proof of concepts and benefits, it helps the customer take action.
A considerate consultant is a problem solver who goes beyond the call of duty. For example, Monread, our partners in Ireland, chalk out processes for their customers even at an early stage of the engagement.
Communication aids at desire stage
- Proof of concept
- Product trials
- Cost estimates
Diligent deal-closer: Action
As we can see, a lot of effort and successful communication is required to get to this stage, and by now the customer has enough contextual information to make the decision.
This stage takes a diligent deal-closer who dispels any last-minute doubts, completes all documentation, provides necessary permissions, and welcomes the user into the ecosystem.
Communication aids for action stage
- On-boarding email series
- Route map to early success
- Initial support
Building a sales team is no easy task, sometimes in organizations would not have the bandwidth to recruit for specific skills; but we do know that with training it is possible to develop a matchless marketer, an expert educator, a considerate consultant and a diligent deal closer for your team. With the right communication aids in their hands, we now have a super group that can work the sales funnel better.
Do let us know about your sales superheroes, your thoughts on a sales communication strategy and what types of communication aids you use in every stage of the customer journey.
Read all about Partners @ Zoho here .