Developing your online marketing strategy is a painstaking process, but it’s certainly less overwhelming if you think of it as a series of steps to maneuver your prospects through various stages in the marketing funnel. In a nutshell, the approach begins with attracting potential customers, then keeping them interested in your company and offerings by nurturing them until they’re ready to buy. However, it’s that middle phase between attracting and buying that causes the most frustration for businesses that lose their prospects in the mire. Don’t ignore the middle of the marketing funnel, and you’ll experience both increased sales and repeat business.
Pinpoint the Prospects in the Middle
So, how do you nurture these valuable potential customers once you have their attention? First, you have to identify those who have visited your landing pages and moved past the lead generation stage, as these prospects are ready for the handoff to your sales team. There are no cut and dry criteria for recognizing Marketing Qualified Leads, but certain trends will begin to develop, such as common activities on your site, likes on social media, or comments on your blog posts.
Once the MQL has been identified, it’s time to transform them into Sales Accepted Leads by putting them in touch with a member of your team. At this stage, the prospect will be getting that warm and cozy feeling that comes with human interaction. The SAL is not ready to buy, otherwise they would have already. Still, you’ve opened the door to human interaction, putting you one step closer to converting the sale.
Embrace the Middle of the Marketing Funnel
The SAL is now at one of the most critical points of the marketing funnel, where you’re able to “wow” the prospect with your expertise and earn their trust. You can now establish if they’re a seriously qualified customer or are simply kicking the tires. The analysis is a balance between whether they’re a good fit, and whether they’re truly interested.
Of course, the low hanging fruit is the prospect who’s a good fit and is interested right now. However, if their needs are in line with what your company offers, you should dedicate resources even if they’re not ready to buy. Nurture them now to increase your chances of converting a sale later.
Reel Them In
Just because you’ve weeded out the truly qualified prospects, don’t assume you’re in the home stretch. Identify competitors, demonstrate your company’s superiority, and put them in touch with existing customers. Make them see that purchasing from your company is the only logical choice.
The inbound marketing funnel is an important tool that begins with generating leads, nurturing them, and converting these prospects into sales. The approach is to be distinguished from traditional marketing that publishes an ad and waits for customers to come knocking. When you don’t ignore the middle of the marketing funnel, you engage prospects and earn their trust. When they’re ready to buy, you’ll be at the top of their list.
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