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The B2B customer journey from visitor, to lead, to customer, to promoter is often broken down into four steps: attract, convert, close and delight.
These steps are the foundation of inbound marketing, a term first coined by Hubspot CEO Brian Halligan. And each one of these steps is intended to guide visitors to your website through your sales funnel, with the end goal being to not only close that first one-time sale but convert your customers into repeat buyers and advocates for your business.
Here are four tools your business can put to work today to optimize your B2B sales funnel and boost your sales.
Typically, the top of the sales funnel for online business focuses on generating relevant organic traffic. Traffic generation can be achieved with a solid content-marketing strategy covering the creation and promotion of quality content that engages your target audience through blog posts, social media, guest posting and link-building.
While content marketing is the best way to increase your organic search traffic, its results are far from instantaneous. If you’re in the B2B space, for instance, you may find that your strategy to reach the decision-makers you need, to close a sale through content marketing, isn’t producing results quickly enough. That’s where tools like Cloudlead come in.
Cloudlead harnesses the power of machine-learning coupled with human research, to find qualified leads for your business. After you provide this tool with a detailed description of your product and buyer persona, Cloudlead’s proprietary research tools provide you and your sales team with detailed contact information for decision-makers relevant to your product.
This in turn enables you to target potential customers with pinpoint accuracy and move them to the top of your sales funnel without having to wait for your content marketing efforts to pay off.
Once you have attracted a visitor to your site, the most crucial incremental step you can take to edge him or her toward a purchase is to capture the visitor’s email address. According to a 2017 survey by Episerver, “92 percent of consumers visit a brand’s website for the first time for reasons other than making a purchase.”
So, when targeting first-time visitors, capturing an email address is a much more realistic conversion goal to aim for than an outright sale.
Email capture enables you to follow up with targeted marketing emails, such as special offers and discounts or engaging content relevant to your lead’s interests. This process is often referred to as “lead nurturing,” and it helps move potential customers further down your sales funnel, closer to the ultimate goal of achieving a sale. But how do you convince a visitor to your site to part with his or her email address?
GrooveJar is a suite of eight intelligent pop-up apps that have been shown to triple the industry-standard email capture rate of 3 percent. The most popular app, GrooveUrgent, uses the psychological principle of urgency to convince visitors to provide their email address by creating a pop-up window with a countdown timer; this gives visitors a limited time to heed a call-to-action that you specify.
The latter offer can be a discount, a free trial offer, the opportunity to download an ebook — whatever you think may entice a visitor to leave an email address. Once you have captured that address, GrooveJar’s Collect and Convert function utilizes the power of email automation to retarget your leads and turn them into buyers.
Close: Stripe Checkout
Once you’ve nurtured your lead sufficiently to the point where this person is ready to make a purchase, how do you close the deal? While this may seem straightforward, 67.4 percent of checkouts are abandoned before the purchase is completed, according to CoxBlue.
Abandoned cart email apps, such as MageMail for Magento, can be highly effective in helping recover those sales, but it is essential to optimize the checkout process itself. Payment processor giant Stripe is popular for a reason: It has been making it easy for businesses to accept payments from major credit cards since 2011.
More recently, Stripe Checkout was developed to allow online businesses to embed highly optimized checkout forms anywhere on their site. Stripe uses data gathered from its many users to continually refine and optimize the checkout process, helping ensure you don’t lose sales due to poor checkout form design and functionality.
Stripe Checkout renders seamlessly on desktops, mobile and tablets. As an added convenience, consumers have the option of having Stripe Checkout “remember” their payment details, enabling faster checkouts on repeat purchases and on other websites that use Stripe. Stripe Checkout can help ensure you don’t stumble at the finish line when your customer is ready to make a purchase.
Many business owners assume that the ultimate goal of any sales funnel is to make a sale. While that is inherently true, Halligan’s hierarchy of inbound marketing states that the sales process doesn’t end there. The crucial final step is to delight your clients, turning them into repeat customers and advocates for your business.
Many businesses devote most of their marketing efforts to acquiring new customers, but a BIAKelsey study showed that 61 percent of SMBs surveyed reported that more than half of their revenue came from repeat customers, rather than new business. That’s just one reason why it’s so important to stay in touch with your customers after they make a purchase, and not just with an order confirmation email.
You should deliver personalized, engaging content and incentives to encourage a repeat purchase or upsell to more services. You can even incentivize your clients to send other potential customers your way by offering a reward for referrals. Drip enables you to do all of these things at scale through email marketing automation.
While automated marketing campaigns that send out emails based on defined intervals or customer actions — usually referred to as “drip campaigns” — are often employed at an earlier stage in the sales funnel, they can be just as effective in delighting your existing customers. Repeat customers are often one of a business’s most valuable assets. Clever use of marketing automation using Drip can help turn customers into advocates.
Optimizing your B2B sales funnel means maximizing your chances for success at every stage of the customer journey, from visitor to brand advocate. Cloudlead, GrooveJar, Stripe Checkout and Drip can help your business do just that.
Publication: Author – Thomas Smale, Entrepreneur Media