Posted on 9/25/2015 in Business and Strategy
By Charlotte Spencer
In a nutshell, the answer is lack of solid engagement. You must keep your audience engaged at every step of the conversion process if you want them to pull the trigger when they reach the end. It’s easier than it sounds. Really!
Customers in the high tech arena are generally self-educated with many online resources available at their fingertips. Once a lead has joined the funnel, you want to educate them by teaching them why they need your product. Let your content do the selling for you.
Being a reliable resource will help a prospect decide that your product is the solution they are looking for. It could even turn them into a champion for you in their organization. When this happens, decision makers are influenced, ultimately resulting in a sale for you. When you get the sale, you will see not just increased engagement, but real measurable growth. Sounds good, right?
So Where Do I Start?
Know What Your Buyer Wants at Each Stage of their Buyers Journey
The first thing you need to do is find out where qualified leads are joining the funnel and where they are dropping off. Find out where are they spending most of their time and what they should take away when they leave your site.
Effective content fosters an understanding of a complex product offering, which is the norm in the high tech industry. You need to ensure that during each step of their journey, you are offering them the right pieces of content. Remember that the content you offer at each level should target how the prospect feels and what they need at each stage of the funnel.
It should always be digestible and easy to process – if it is too complicated, you will lose them. When you can convey that you understand the reality of their life and know how to help them, you are on your way to creating a conversion. Think of yourself as their problem solver, their go-to resource.
Assess Your Current Sales Funnel
There are several ways you can assess your sales funnel to make sure it is an optimized and impactful process.
Start with the different areas: the top, middle and bottom. Bring in your sales team to help you figure out what your buyer personas emotional state is at each stage of the process. What questions are they asking? What is it going to take to get them to move forward? This can be an eye-opening exercise that will be incredibly useful. It is definitely worth your time to take this approach.
Most managers of IT infrastructure are going to need your help solving their problem and pitching your solution to their managers or other decisions makers (the CIO’s & CTO’s who sign on the dotted line). Those in finance management that are responsible for signing contracts have different concerns than you do. Give them the ammo that they need to help seal the deal!
Top of Funnel – No, you are NOT selling here
The top of your funnel is where you ARE talking about your prospect’s issues and you ARE NOT selling. What you are doing is demonstrating that you understand their particular problems and are the solution they are looking for.
Offer multiple solutions to a problem. For example: maybe they never thought about licensing your product versus purchasing it, which could potentially save them money. You want to get them thinking and get those wheels turning.
Being engaging and relatable in your messaging is usually the best way to move prospects to the next level, pushing them one step closer to a conversion. Storytelling or attention-grabbing blogs that showcase existing customers’ experiences with your brand can spark further interest.
You want to leave your lead wanting more, compelling them to continue their journey through your funnel.
Middle of Funnel – More essential than you think!
The middle of the funnel is where you nurture and educate IT professionals on how you can help them. This is the stage where you can challenge them to think differently about a proposed solution. You may not believe this, but the middle is the most important part of the funnel. Offering a solution to their problem will show you are an authority they can rely on. This could be where you give how-to tips, guides and showcase expertise.
Highlighting what differentiates your company from the competition will give you another edge. Your IT professional prospect has almost certainly looked at your competitors and knows what they can do for them. So, why should they choose you? Why are you the solution to their IT issue? What makes your brand tick? This is where you tell them!
The end user of your product is probably not the final decision maker, but is the owner of the problem they need you to solve. For instance, they could be the network administrator that is experiencing a performance issue that could be solved with an upgrade.
Give them the facts to back up their choice (you!) so that they can, in turn, justify and explain to the “powers that be” why you are the right choice. They are hooked, but now they need to sell their decision internally to their CIO. Give them the content they need, remember you have more than one audience here, meaning both the network administrator and their CIO.
You should be increasing awareness of your organization and its offerings. Offering follow-up pieces for them to read and share with budget decision makers is a great way to keep engagement.
Bottom of Funnel – Almost there!
The bottom of the funnel is where you earn and build trust…and ultimately seal the deal. This is where you can offer advanced IT content that will further showcase your expertise and thought leadership in the field. Your approach should help reinforce the strength of your organization and your product.
You may want to offer a free trial here or even a follow-up consultation. What could be more personalized than offering to give them an audit of a slow system? This is also the perfect place for testimonials and case studies, which shows you can be trusted.
These offerings will also help them to visualize what you can do for them. The more personalized you can make it for them, the better!
Whether your lead joins at the top of the funnel or any other point, they should be able to find consistent and quality shareable content that speaks to them. An effective high tech sales funnel can turn a prospect that is “on the fence” into a customer who will be a loyal fan referring even more people to your organization.
When it comes to getting those wallet strings opened, an enthusiastic cheerleader is going to be your best advocate. Remember that keeping the process simple and streamlined is the best approach for maintaining interest and engagement.
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