It can be a lengthy process for potential customers to progress through the stages of a sales funnel, and cross the finish line to become a paying client.
Not only does your prospective customer have to progress through these stages, but members of your sales team have to guide them every step of the way. In order to boost your business, close more deals, and make sure the energy of your sales team is being used efficiently, you can take steps to actually shorten your sales funnel, and fill any leaky holes in it.
While sales funnels have been integral in business for decades, there are new, streamlined ways of shortening the sales funnel. One efficient and successful way of shortening the sales funnel is with personalization. Personalization techniques can not only help shorten your sales funnel, but help you stand out from your competition, feel relatable, and ultimately boost profitability and brand recognition.
Here are five ways you can shorten your sales funnel and land more clients by using personalization.
5 Ways to Shorten the Sales Funnel With Personalization
1. Send Potential Customers Content Related to Their Needs
Content marketing can be a very successful way of landing new clients, and maintaining client relationships. In terms of shortening the sales funnel, sending content can be extremely helpful, but it also needs to be treated delicately. For example, sending generalized or irrelevant content can sometimes do more harm than good, because potential clients may be turned off if content doesn’t apply to them.
While generalized content might be harmful, sending personalized content directly related to their needs can be incredibly helpful. It’s not so much that the piece is literally personalized with their name, but you’re reaching out with content relevant to them. It shows you did your homework.
In order to make sure you’re sending potential customers content related to their needs, make sure your outbound strategy includes a content component. For example, sales reps can share hand-picked content selections with prospective leads, and can do so after an initial phone call or during a follow-up email.
There is also different content for those in different stages of the sales funnel. Someone at the widest, most novice part of the funnel will need basic content, which explains the major bullet points. On the other hand, a potential client who is much further down the funnel may need content that helps you clarify your advantages against the competition, or content which highlights how a feature can serve their specific needs.
This requires sales and customer success to know what content is in their arsenal. Don’t know what you have? Spend an hour doing an audit of all your content themes and make a spreadsheet.
2. Approach Potential Customers on Their Preferred Channels
Email and phone calls are two of the hallmarks of sales communication, but they very well may not be the most effective anymore. Think about it: do you love to get a sales phone call in the middle of your work day? Even the age-old practice of asking for a good time to call back can be off-putting, and we’ve seen time and time again that these older practices of approaching potential customers can dissuade them from wanting to work with you altogether.
As an alternative, and to help shorten the sales funnel, approach potential customers on their preferred channels. This may be through email or phone calls, but social media correspondence is increasing in popularity, particularly on LinkedIn. LinkedIn, in particular, is often overlooked, but is one of the best places for B2B professionals to network, market, and develop business reputations.
In order to approach potential customers on their preferred channels, you can simply ask which method they prefer, and then meet them where they are. Check out what your competition is doing as well, and if it seems to be working, consider trying out some of their tactics.
3. Send Potential Customers Personalized Gifts
Working in the digital business landscape, it can be easy to forego physical gifts. But this may be a major misstep, especially when you’re looking to shorten the sales funnel. Sending a potential client personalized gifts may very well be the thing that tips the scale in your favor, but it’s certainly not for every potential client who enters the funnel.
For example, sending personalized gifts at the widest point of the funnel may be more wasteful than helpful. But if you reserve this step for those towards the middle and end of the sales funnel, this could definitely work in your favor.
So, what do we mean when we say send personalized gifts? To start, there are services that can help you out with personalized gifts. In general, personalized gifts can be as simple and inexpensive as a handwritten card, or as elaborate and impressive as a fully-loaded gift basket. If you’re not sure where to start, smaller and simpler may be easier to manage. And you may find that your potential clients are enamored with even the slightest physical show of appreciation.
We’re currently seeing a major uptick in using actual, tangible mail as an option to reach potential clients. Consider doing this! It’s often inexpensive, and has a huge ROI.
Whether using personalization as a means to send gifts, or personalization as a means to deliver the best content at the right time, make sure you have an organized and scalable way to segment buyers and approach them when they need you.
4. Show Proof With Your Numbers and Case Studies
When a potential client is debating coming on board, they want to make sure you can deliver on your promises, and that their money and trust is going to the right place. While it may be near impossible to guarantee specific results, you can use your success stories and social proof in a personalized way that helps demonstrate your results and metrics.
To do this, you should first have either a landing page or a one-sheeter, which highlights your success metrics. You can also display social proof here, such as testimonials, and badges of notable brands you’ve worked with. This is also a great place to display specific case studies, which highlight how your efforts have helped certain clients.
To personalize your metrics in order to shorten the sales funnel, you can cherry-pick certain relevant success metrics, stories, and testimonials which are relevant to your potential customer. You can send them along during a correspondence on their preferred channel of communication. That potential customer may very well see the success of someone in a similar position, and decide that you’re well-equipped to handle the job.
5. Develop Your Own Persona
When you’re working with prospective clients in the stages of the sales funnel, it’s easy to focus all of your efforts on selling your product. But for the duration of this interaction, you are actually the face of the product to this prospective client. That’s why it’s important to spend some time not only nailing outward personalization techniques, but also developing your own persona.
No one wants to feel like they’re talking to a robot, or just another sales hack trying to work them over. In order to best approach your prospective clients with personalization, it’s crucial that you are viewed as two things: an expert in your product, and a real human being. In order to offer a personalized experience, you yourself have to be seen as a person, not just a chatbot on the other end of the computer.
In order to do that, you can take some steps to develop your own personal branding. Depending on where you are in your organization, your personal branding may be fairly easy to flesh out. For example, the channels you’re communicating with prospective clients on should clearly show you’re an expert. This is especially true if you’re using LinkedIn or other social media platforms as a preferred channel.
Additionally, if a client were to do a quick Google search of you, what comes up should also be relevant to your work, your persona, and help solidify you as a trusted advisor and an expert.
Shortening the Sales Funnel with Personalization
While most organizations have goals of shortening sales funnels, very few come at those goals through a perspective of personalization.
Aside from following these steps, the main underlying theme of these techniques is having an excellent understanding of your potential customers, and giving them exactly what they’re looking for. This may involve heavy research, and a few extra steps to offer them a personalized experience. But it’s likely you’ll find those efforts will pay off in the long run.
At RevenueZen, we know what it takes to not only shorten sales funnels through inbound and SEO strategies. Have questions? Contact us today to see what we can do for you.