Revolutionize Your Sales Approach with the Digital Sales Funnel

There has never been more opportunity in the world of sales.

Revolutionize Your Sales Approach with the Digital Sales Funnel

There has never been more opportunity in the world of sales.

Digital channels and the internet have opened the door to reaching more people, more effectively, than ever before.

Your prospects are online daily; searching, scrolling, and consuming content related to your industry. They are actively trying to learn more and find solutions to their problems (that you can solve).

It’s up to you to take advantage of this new selling paradigm.

In this article, I will walk through the digital sales funnel I use to develop a digital sales strategy.

Why Digital Sales is Effective

Let’s first talk about why digital selling is so important. Because understanding the “why” behind your strategy is just as important as the execution itself.

The premise of digital sales is based on the following principles:

  1. People like to do their own research. According to Forrester Research, 63% of B2B buyers finalize a vendor list based solely on digital content. In our internet-enabled world, we’ve become accustomed to doing our own research for nearly every purchase we make. This means that the true competition for prospects begins with the first piece of information that they consume online.
  2. Sales requires trust. The backbone of nearly every purchase is trust. Your prospect needs to trust that you can successfully help them make the change they desire. One of the best ways to build trust is through educating and providing helpful content to your prospective audience.
  3. Digital content scales. The digitization of information allows us to scale our reach much further than ever before. A well-performing blog article, webinar, or social media post can be seen by hundreds or even thousands of people. Through the creation of digital content, you can scale how many prospects you can reach.

Combining these principles, we can see why digital selling is so important. It enables you to build trust with an audience at scale.

The Digital Sales Funnel

So how should you approach digital selling?

I use a simple funnel to build out digital sales strategies: Educate > Connect > Consult.

This funnel focuses on leveraging digital channels to expand your reach, build your authority, and increase your sales.

Let’s break down each stage of the funnel in more detail and discuss the various goals and measurements you can use within each.

Educate

  • Goal: Expand Your Reach
  • Measurement: Impressions

The top of your funnel is to educate. This is all about gaining visibility and building authority. At this stage, you are trying to cast a wide net by building up your authority as an expert in your industry.

Your educational activities should not be directly sales-focused. The goal at the top of the funnel is to showcase your industry knowledge and provide helpful information to your prospects doing their research. They will search, and you will have the answers.

Creating and distributing content is the primary activity in the educate part of the digital sales funnel. Focus on creating content that educates, inspires, and entertains your target audience.

Some ideas might include the following:

  • How-Tos
  • FAQs
  • Explainer Videos
  • Industry News/Insights
  • Expert Interviews
  • Webinars
  • White Papers

Posting regularly (at least weekly) and engaging with your audience will help expand your content's reach. This is typically measured in “impressions” or the number of people that view your post.

Over time, as people learn from you, they’ll inevitably start to trust you. The goal is to become the favorite teacher that everyone wants to work with.

Connect

  • Goal: Generate Leads
  • Measurement: Conversions

The middle part of the funnel is all about connecting. Your goal here is to get your captive audience to convert into identifiable prospects.

Your educational content is the starting point, enabling you to expand your reach and build authority. But the problem with social and search networks is that you don’t own access to your audience. Who sees your content can change quickly, and is determined by ever-changing algorithms.

“Building an audience on a proprietary network is building an elaborate castle on sand.” - Naval Ravikant

So to be effective with your digital sales strategy, you need to capture leads from your broader social audience. Adding them to a list that you own, either in your CRM or marketing automation platforms.

And the key to conversions is to provide clear calls to action.

You need to provide a path in your content, social profiles, and landing pages for your audience to convert.

There are two types of calls to action you can use:

  • Direct Calls to Action - These high-intent calls to action directly move the prospect into the sales pipeline. Examples are contact forms, estimate forms, or a booking a demo button.
  • Transitional Calls to Action - These early-stage calls to action continue to nurture a prospect before they become an active deal. Examples are signing up for a newsletter, attending a webinar, or downloading a guide.

As part of your digital sales strategy, you should include both direct and transitional calls to action. This will provide a path for your audience to convert, whether they are ready to buy or still in the early stages of purchasing.

Failing to provide clear calls to action is a common mistake that sales reps make in the social selling process. They either only provide direct CTAs, or they don’t include any at all. A very costly mistake!

I recommend you review your social content and profiles to ensure you utilize both direct and transitional calls to action. Ask yourself, “If I were a prospect, would I know what to do next?”

Consult

  • Goal: Increase Your Sales
  • Measurement: Revenue

The final stage of the digital sales funnel is consulting. This is where you become the trusted guide in the buying process.

Let’s be honest - people don’t want to work with salespeople, they want consultants. According to a Salesforce study, 84% of business buyers are more likely to buy from sales reps that understand their goals.

The educational content that your prospects already consumed has set you up as a trusted resource. But previously, you were educating everyone. Now, it’s time for you to turn your attention toward your individual prospects.

  • What is their problem?
  • What is your solution for them?
  • What are the positive outcomes you can help them achieve?
  • What are the negative outcomes you can help them avoid?
  • What is the next step for them to get started?

You are here to help your customers make a transformational change. The customer is the hero, and you are the guide. You are Yoda, and they are Luke Skywalker.

Help them navigate your industry by providing a solution that solves their problems.

Curate your educational resources for your prospect. Share webinars, blog posts, videos, and white papers that specifically address their problems and your solutions

The best part of the consulting stage of the funnel is the intrinsic rewards that come with helping your customer solve their problems. It feels great to add value to your customers’ lives by connecting them with a solution to help them grow.

Don’t just be an order-taker. You’ll win more deals if you can provide value in the buying process.

For this week’s action items, I want you to apply the Digital Sales Funnel to your sales process.

Review the funnel, and consider if your current sales strategy is effective at each stage.

  1. Educate - Are you regularly posting educational content for your audience online? Be the favorite teacher by helping them understand the problems and solutions within your industry.
  2. Connect - Ensure you utilize direct and transitional calls to action throughout your content and social media profiles. Always have a next step available.
  3. Consult - Consider how you can be the trusted guide for your buyers. Connect them with resources to help them make the desired transformational change.

It’s important that you do not neglect any stage of the funnel! Each part plays an important role:

  • Educating without connecting is simply publishing free information online.
  • Connecting without consulting is simply list-building for a bloated CRM.
  • Without educational content, it’s impossible to reach your audience organically.

There is incredible potential for sales reps willing to embrace a digital sales funnel. The key is to intentionally develop your activities and strategy to align yourself with modern buyer behavior.


Are you taking advantage of a digital sales strategy? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Also, if you’ve enjoyed this article, please forward it to your friends and colleagues. I appreciate you helping to grow the Sell with Social community!

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