The New Sales Funnel: Snakes Snakes & Ladders in the Buyer’s Journey

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A few years ago, marketers were warned that the old linear sales funnel was out and the new sales funnel with quirky twists and turns was in – a customer-centric approach with multiple touchpoints in the buyer journey. But it seems some of us didn’t get the memo.

According to a report from EConsultancy, only 10% of companies and 8% of agencies closely match channels and content to a well-mapped customer journey. So, if you aren’t tailoring your efforts to your customer’s journey, you’re not alone.

The three stages in the new sales funnel are awareness, consideration, and purchase. In today’s competitive B2B environment, providing customers with the best possible experience during each of these stages creates the kind of brand experience that results in long-term relationships.

The Sales Funnel Begins with Awareness

The customer’s journey typically begins with awareness. Getting a good grasp on their needs or the problems they’re looking to solve can help you develop content to get their attention. Also, think about the many ways they can find you. Where they are is where you want to be.

Consideration is Mid Sales Funnel Stuff

Once you’ve gotten their attention, get a good grasp on the kinds of questions and concerns they might have while they consider your offering. Content developed specifically to address these questions and concerns gives you multiple opportunities to educate and engage your customers. And remember, they won’t necessarily go through traditional channels to learn about you. The B2B buyer will turn over every rock and inspect every feature before making a buying decision. These are the snakes and ladders in your sales funnel. Make sure you are where they are looking and that you are there with the right information.

Continue to Nurture

Once your customer has cleared the end of the sales funnel during the purchase stage, you have to give them a reason to evangelize your product. B2C marketers do this particularly well through customer loyalty programs. But good word-of-mouth doesn’t just happen because a customer purchased your product over your competitors. Nurture that customer relationship with content that continues to educate. Engage with them regularly. Give them reasons to talk you up with their peers.

Technology to the Rescue

Technology is key to this process. It gives you access to the multiple touchpoints in your customer’s journey. Once you’ve mapped all this out, you will see the many twists and turns your customers take.

There are many new solutions that make promises to fill your sales funnel or increase conversion rates. But don’t forget about tried and true methods like automated email, phone, and display ads. The challenge is trying to contact email-resistant prospects, where open rates can fall to 5-15%. This is where automated advertising can pick up the slack, delivering your message even where a prospect may not be opening your emails. Generic retargeting rarely hits the mark because the message is not matched to a buyer’s needs. Remember, the key here is to reach your customer where they are with the right message.

Stay Customer-Focused

Map out the value you can bring to customers along their journey. Create the content with your customer in mind and figure out where to distribute that content. Speak to them where they are. Give them helpful insights that educate, engage and motivate. Exceed your customer’s expectations at every twist and turn. You’re sure to get better results.

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