Is it different for small businesses? What sales funnel questions are relevant to small businesses?
The Sales Funnel is the journey of a customer from awareness of a product or service, through the phases of interest and decision making toward final purchase. The phases of the sales funnel and sales strategy based on it vary depending upon the type of sale (B2B or B2C) and also the type of company. The B2B sale will include negotiation phases and drawing up of contracts before the purchase is made.
Also, it depends on the scale of the company, and the ability of the company to put out digital messages. In the case of small-scale companies, very often the marketing team out on the street is the only source of information and leads. In that case, a digital sales strategy would not be effective. The marketing messages being put out by the company need to be in sync with the marketing team that is actually talking to the client. This brings us to the first major question relevant to small businesses. Do you know all the answers to these questions?
1. Working closely with the marketing team:
Since the “feet-on-the-street” or the sales team is the primary means of communication with prospective customers, it is necessary for them to be well acquainted with the sales strategy and the messages to be communicated to potential leads. It is the sales team that also brings feedback about the product and this is essential toward product development as also filling unmet needs of the customers which might also give rise to the development of new product lines.
Also, the sales team brings information about how well the sales strategy is being received at the various stages of the sales process. For example: If the sales team has been charged with making public a new offer for an upcoming festival, it is impossible to know how well the offer is received and availed of in the market until the sales team brings back cogent numbers as to how many leads showed interest and how many actually availed the offer. This sales team-centric sales strategy is most effective in rural areas and in terms of products that may not be suitable for digital media.
2. Average sales cycle length:
It is imperative to know the average time it takes for a prospect to become a customer.
If the sales process is spread over a long period of time, a smaller, lesser known company would not have the benefit of having “top-of-mind-recall-“ power, as compared to larger companies making similar products. A lesser-known producer of mosquito repellent may just get passed over for a larger company like Bayer, as the customer might not necessarily remember the name or the logo of the smaller business. It is, therefore, necessary to provide continuous interactions with the brand at every step of the sales funnel to keep the product active in the customer’s mind.
3. The importance of going digital:
No matter how small a business is, there will always be a way to grow, and one of those is to go digital. This is quite a major decision for a small business whose sales strategy would probably have to be modified to accommodate the new digital world, not to mention allocate resources towards it. Going digital entails identifying the digital platform on which to have a presence, and then allocating sufficient resources towards fulfilling that part of the sales strategy. The advantage of going digital is the ease of managing and mining for new leads as also monitoring the progress of the sales process. Since digital media have larger reach it is necessary to ensure that the business is capable of handling the increased business successfully or for growing fast enough to do so. The digital sales strategy is an excellent way of managing the sales funnel for a small business.
4. How much is too much? And budget constraints
As a small business, it is quite essential to maintain constant interactions with potential leads, in order to keep the product on offer active in the mind of the consumer. However, it is also very easy to overdo interactions and cause a sort of aversion to the brand due to the barrage of marketing messages. Hence a critical evaluation of the sales strategy and the sales funnel is needed on a regular basis to ensure that the quantum of material being shared with the customer at various stages of the sales funnel is not any more than is actually needed.
Also read: Do You Know How to Load Your Sales Pipeline Budget constraints are another factor that is critical in terms of small businesses, who can’t spend very lavishly on the implementation of sales strategy. The sales budget can eat a large chunk of the overall business budget if the sales strategy isn’t properly streamlined to be cost-effective and efficient at the same time. Certain low-cost strategies can be chosen to ensure the customers in the sales funnel are kept engaged to the correct extent while keeping in mind budget constraints too. In certain cases, digital strategies can save a whole lot of expense for the small business that is endeavoring to be profitable.
| About the Guest Author:
Apoorv Bhatnagar is a Digital marketer at Freshworks Inc. He generally writes about software that improves your marketing, sales or hiring process.