Strategy Requires Tactics Throughout the Entire Sales Funnel

July 13th, 2011 No Comments

Strategy must embrace the entire sales funnel: from branding and positioning and defining market position to determining the best tactical approaches to bring a lead into the sales funnel and nurture them until the sale is closed and they are a brand evangelist, creating more leads for you.

This is not a one time approach.

Strategists – frequently outside consultants – tend to come in and build a positioning. But, without the knowledge of time to implement, the strategy sounds great in theory but has more holes than string cheese when trying to implement it in the real world.

Implementors, however, don’t get the big picture. Some just want to push hard to make the sale and don’t see the steps in between. Others are big at talking about engagement or likes or fans or traffic, but don’t get that the end goal is to convert: sales, donations, or whatever else the goal is that was initially defined (you did define it, right? probably not for these implementors).

There are multiple touch points until someone buys something. People don’t buy – or even try – the first time that they hear about a new product. There are even more to turn the customer into an evangelist which will create repeat sales and new customers through word-of-mouth.

In order to download a software trial, the sales funnel might look something like:

  1. Saw a tweet | social media
  2. Read a blog article shortened with |MARCOM and social media
  3. Read an article on product website | MARCOM and web
  4. Saw an ad in search results (PPC) | web and PPC firm
  5. Read an article in a print magazine | public relations
  6. Friend posted a link to online version of article on Facebook | word of mouth, public relations, social media
  7. Person Googled name of company | SEO
  8. Got to website and downloaded trial software | web

This is not a simple process. It took multiple touchpoints that were often performed by a variety of staff or agencies to achieve the conversion. And, while measurement is essential, this conversion won’t be measured completely accurate, with a mix of online and offline elements, brand awareness leading to the final conversion, and technical problems that will not lead to accurate traffic sources being counted.

This will lead to blindness when evaluating the implementation. Those who developed the strategy that requires the tactics needs to understand the need for multiple integrated touch points. Marketing strategists need to be integrated and get a multiple touchpoint model. Those implementing need to be able to integrate as well, crossing multiple functions and one person should have multiple skills, and also ability to work with a variety of staff members and share the credit for conversion.

Of course, the job isn’t done yet. The product hasn’t yet been sold.

The process gets even more complicated when going from download to sale:

  1. Downloadable product must be functional, with minimal bugs, and a good user interface | development, product management, UI
  2. It should serve its intended purpose, solve the users pain | development, product management, marketing
  3. User then recommends co-workers try it out
  4. Co-worker than recommends boss buys it
  5. Co-worker reads article in blog (that was reprinted from software consumer magazine) about how product
  6. Attends a webinar about product’s cool features
  7. Boss reads article in CIO magazine about how product saves company money
  8. Boss requests CFO explore the company’s financials
  9. CFO asks team leader to quantify time saved by using software
  10. Team leader reads white paper from company and summarizes it in report to CFO
  11. CFO reads analyst survey about product and how it compares to its competitors
  12. CFO approves purchase but asks for discount
  13. Sales has to negotiate price
  14. SALE

Marketing strategists and implementors also need to create and implement strategies that cross multiple team functions: from marketing, sales, individual users, lower-managers, middle managers, and upper management. There are multiple touch points to reach a sale. Does your strategy incorporate it?



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