Yes, the path to increased revenues it is quite doable. You can improve your sales and revenues by reducing friction and drop off in your sales funnel and gating points within your business. Most businesses have a lot of leads coming in to their sales funnel which have to jump a few hurdles before they reach the database. Once in the database there is more work to be done to retain those precious customers.
Think of your leads as a group of people running a gauntlet. They encounter barriers and obstacles that challenge and stop them reaching the end of the gauntlet path – your database. And guess who is unwittingly putting those barriers (friction) in place? You. Read this article by Naomi Dunford.
The challenge for you is to minimize that friction by becoming aware that it exists. Next step is to put in place processes at each stage that aim to reduce this friction and allow more prospects to pass through into your database.
1. Lead Generation
Many business owners believe that if only they can increase the amount of leads they obtain, their worries are over. Of course you need leads. Now, having lots of leads does not equate to lots of sales. One way to improve your sales is to make sure that you are getting “quality” leads.
The better, more targeted leads will improve your conversion rate. Chasing lots of prospects that are not the right fit for your offerings is very ineffective, as well as costly in time and energy. Focusing on the high probability prospects and employing a qualifying process, will save time and allow “quality” leads to be followed up. John Jansch of DucttapeMarketing.com has this to say about lead generation.
2. Follow Up
During this process your prospect is kept in a well thought out communication loop. The follow up stage of the sales process is one of the least understood and practiced disciplines. Yes it’s tedious and is seen by many as a waste of time (more effective to chase more leads right?).
This stage is one of building the relationship,trust and credibility. The more trust building and reciprocity during follow up means less friction at conversion points. The less friction means easier sales. Your overall aim in your business processes is to reduce friction from one gating point to the next.
The stage in your sales process where a prospect decides to become a customer is a critical gating point in your sales funnel. Poor conversion rates (friction) affect your overall business in a major way. It doesn’t matter how many leads you push through your funnel if the drop off rate is high. This will mean lots of effort finding leads, and high marketing costs due to a high COA (cost of acquisition).
Your cost to acquire a customer directly affects your bottom line. Throw in a less than optimal pricing model and you could be just breaking even (but that is a whole other article topic!). The better the conversion rate, the more customers flow into your database.
Your conversion process begins in the follow up stage. You are building trust and the relationship through providing value, showing social proof of your ability to meet your prospects needs and resonating with their issues and values. You are also making it easy to do business with you by being available through various channels, providing a choice of payment modes and having a transparent customer care policy.
4. On Boarding
What are you talking about, you might say. You convert a prospect to customer and you move on to the next. Right? Well, you could do that,but you are missing an important opportunity if you do. There should be an on boarding step in your process, immediately after the sale.
Whenever we buy something,whether a physical product or a service, there is a brief window of time where we could change our mind. It may be buyers remorse, the logical brain stepping in and questioning our emotional motivation to purchase, or seeing another offer. Your task here is to prove to the customer that they made a valid decision.
This is your opportunity to reassure and delight them with what they can expect from you in the future. The customer experience is a journey, not something that stops when they buy. You may send them a welcome message, a package of goodies, a personal letter or a link to a video welcoming them and congratulation them on their decision to become a customer.
Guides, instructions or the way to get the best from their service or product all help in removing any doubt that you are the best choice for them.
Believe it or not, this is how you also build and double your revenues. By keeping what you got! Work out the LCV (lifetime customer value) of your customers and then estimate the dollar cost of, say, 10% of your current customers leaving you. Ouch. Well, a 10% attrition rate is conservative, in a business that does not have a customer retention strategy in place.
To really capitalize on your efforts and costs in obtaining a customer, it is critical that you plan on having systems in place to keep in touch and market to your database regularly. Or, like an anyone who is treated indifferently, ignored or taken for granted, they will be lured away by a competitor.