Content Intelligence Blog

3 min read

Agent 007: It’s Strategy. Growth Strategy.

Jul 22, 2015 2:27:52 PM

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, involves solving the age-old problem of moving clients down the sales pipeline. This troublemaker is running rampant across multiple industries and challenging sales leaders across the country.

They have sent us an urgent message:

“Help! How do I motivate potential customers to buy? How do I attract the customers I want, and how do I get them to choose us?�?

A sales pipeline is the tool for turning leads into prospects and prospects into customers. It focuses on that all-important moment: when a customer chooses to purchase your offering.

While the purchase decision is certainly the sales leader’s favorite, the truth is that customers make a series of choices along the way that lead up to their decision to buy. Each of these decisions ultimately impacts your sales numbers.

In order to map this decision journey and learn how to solve the problem of motivating customer to actually choose you, you need to go undercover and follow your customers through the sales pipeline. Seeing it from their perspective will give you critical intelligence that is crucial to beating the average conversion rate.

[Tweet "Go undercover and follow your customers through the sales pipeline."]

Unfortunately, your nemesis, the competition, is trying to do the same thing. Customers don’t make choices in a vacuum – they do so in the context of a competitive market. Your goal is to have customers choose you over the competition at every step along the way. Therefore, it comes down to having the right intelligence. Not from the CIA, but rather intelligence about how customers make decisions.

Recon: Your Pipeline from the Perspective of Your Customer

First, you need to get the lay of the land and understand your target. There are a series of decisions leading up to the final purchase decision. If you ignore these, there’s a good chance you’ll lose potential customers. Understanding the full customer decision process involves successfully navigating the following:

  1. Awareness: An individual first makes the basic choice to gain awareness about a product, a service, a brand, an idea, etc. This might mean agreeing to click on a link, open an email, or take a call.
  2. Interest: Unfortunately, being aware of a product doesn’t imply immediate interest. Awareness is passive. To move from awareness to interest, an individual chooses to engage with the product or brand and to learn more instead of simply walking away.
  3. Consideration: Once an individual has determined they have a need, they choose whether or not to consider your offering along with other options in the market. This is the moment when you need to understand what the customer wants, what you offer, and what the competition offers. It’s critical to know why customers choose you, instead of an alternative. If you understand why, you can build a strategy to influence choice in your favor.
  4. Purchase: This is the moment of truth… The Purchase! The ultimate goal when building your pipeline is to increase the number of times prospects choose you – to win the customer choice.

Customers never go directly from Awareness to Purchase. Instead, they make a number of choices along the way. An effective mission strategy must include tactics to influence ALL of these decisions in your favor.

[Tweet "An effective strategy will include tactics to influence each decision along the buyers' journey."]

Undercover Mission

Now you need to further understand the psyche of your target and go undercover. Time to dig into each choice the customer makes along the way. What is most important to them when making that choice? How do they perceive each of the options available to them?

Being a savvy business agent, you know that all customers aren’t created equally. You don’t want just ANY customer to choose you. You specifically want the most profitable customers to choose you. You’ve witnessed, like our friend Vilfredo Pareto, that 20% of your customers tend to drive upwards of 80% of your revenue. You want to grow “the 20%.�?

So, you specifically want to know how “the 20%�? make decisions along the buyer’s journey. For each stage in our pipeline, you need to do some research:

  1. Awareness: What can you do to reach these targets? How can you increase their awareness that they have a problem you can solve?
  2. Interest: What can you do to engage these customers in a conversation about their needs, their pain points, or their challenges?
  3. Consideration: How can you help customers better identify the value that you provide vs. competing options? How can you address potential concerns or create a sense of urgency to move them along faster?
  4. Purchase: What can you do to close the sale quickly? How can you decrease buyer’s remorse by creating an awesome customer experience?

At each stage, there’s a different choice being made that will require a different strategy with tactics to impact that specific customer choice. One strategy won’t cut it. To be effective, you need to be very focused and precise.

Congrats on a Successful Mission

Alright, Agent, you have your marching orders. Armed with a knowledge of the sales pipeline from your customers’ perspective, you can convert more leads to sales and reach your quota.

We wish you the best. Godspeed.

Topics: General

Mary Claire Mandeville
Written by Mary Claire Mandeville

Director, Account Management

Mary Claire is driven to help individuals and organizations reach their full potential. In between receiving her BBA and MBA from the University of Notre Dame, this Oklahoma native spent a couple years in between working in Guatemala and Nicaragua for a social enterprise organization. Prior to joining Vennli, Mary Claire was VP of Business Development at a company in the solar industry. At Vennli, she focuses on developing the Chicago and Notre Dame markets.

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