Turning Prospects Into Customers: Integrate Your SPM With Sales Funnel Software

Picture of Mike Fiske
Senior Solution Consultant
With hundreds of different sales funnel software programs on the market, how do you know which one is the right fit for your business?
 
We understand that getting to grips with the features and quirks of each could lead to confusion and frustration.
 
That’s why we’ve created this guide. We’ll help you understand what sales funnel software is and why you need it. We’ll also shine the light on what to look for when evaluating your options.
 
But before we dive into the detail, let’s take a moment to define what a sales funnel actually is — and what it’s not.

 

What is a Sales Funnel?

In almost every business, your customers or “leads” will be at different stages in the buying process. If your products or services are complex or require substantial investment, it could take months, possibly even years, to convert a lead into a fully-fledged customer.
 
That’s where the sales funnel comes in. It gives you the means to view and manage this process and iron out any wrinkles along the way. By smoothing the path to a positive buying experience, you’ll be able to give your customers exactly what they’re after. The ultimate outcome is a successfully closed sale — and ideally one that results in repeat business.
 
A sales funnel is usually peppered with a series of targeted marketing interventions. Thes include direct emailers, social media posts, and web landing pages through which you’ll reach out to your leads.
 
Now that we’ve set out the basics, here’s a bit of the theory:
 
The traditional sales funnel has four different stages, the so-called AIDA model:
 
· Awareness: Customers become aware of your brand or product, often through advertising. This is the widest part of the funnel.
· Interest: They learn more about your product and its benefits.
· Decision: They start to lean towards your brand.
· Action: They make the leap by requesting a demo or buying your product. This is where the funnel reaches its narrowest point.
 
It’s important to distinguish between a sales funnel and a sales pipeline — two terms that are often confused or used interchangeably. The two are not one of the same. If you’re unsure about how to differentiate between these concepts, take a quick read through this article for clarity.
 

What is Sales Funnel Software?

Sales funnel software takes the legwork out of nurturing your relationship with your customers and guiding them down the funnel.
 
It does this by helping you to coordinate and optimize the relationship between your sales and marketing teams and streamline and clarify decisions about who “owns” a particular prospect.
 
It also gives you a holistic and real-time view of your sales and marketing efforts and gauges how effective they are. It tracks, monitors, and reports on every interaction you have with your customers at each stage of the funnel.
 

Sales Funnels In Action

Let’s use a random example to illustrate what we mean.
 
Meet Ray, a twenty-something entrepreneur who’s looking to brush up on his coding skills with a view to applying them to build out his new website. He’s thinking of taking an online course in coding.
 
A sales funnel for Ray might look a bit like this:
 
· While chatting with some old friends on Facebook, Ray notices an ad offering coding tips with a call-to-action that says: “Download our ultimate guide to coding for beginners.”
 
· Ray opens the link and is taken to a landing page. He downloads the guide and clicks “Accept” when asked if he’d like to receive the online course provider’s weekly email newsletter.
 
· The following morning, Ray finds the newsletter in his inbox. He skims through it and clicks on a link to view a summary of the different coding courses the vendor offers and their prices.
 
· A limited-time offer for a 30 percent discount on one of the coding courses catches Ray’s eye. He signs up.
 
· Over the next few weeks, Ray continues to receive weekly newsletters, updates on other special offers, and links to thought leadership blogs posted by the course provider’s CEO.
 
· Enjoying making use of his newly found coding abilities and keen to sharpen his skills further, Ray signs up for another, slightly more advanced course.
 
· He uses the voucher he was awarded by the vendor upon successfully completing his first course to claim a 25 percent discount on the price of his second course.
 
All of Ray’s actions — or what we call his buyer journey — are tracked by the online coding provider’s sales funnel software in real-time. The business owner (or his sales manager or rep) can see at exactly which point Ray takes action and why.
 
Sales funnel software tracks and reports on where leads are converting and what triggers them to turn from leads into customers. It also gives you insights into why leads “drop off” instead of converting.
 
You get the picture.
 
So, let’s leave Ray to his coding and move on to consider some of sales funnel software’s other features and functions:
 
One of the beauties of sales funnel software is that it keeps everything in one place. This means you can collaborate with your other internal stakeholders more effectively — for example, by ensuring a smooth handover of prospects or accounts to new salespeople. You can also make sure that the latest updates regarding a particular customer’s behavior are shared with all affected internal parties.
 
Finally, remember the AIDA model we introduced in the previous section? Sales and marketing funnel software applies all its capabilities at each of the four stages of the model. If you’d like to understand more about what software does at each stage, have a read through this previous post.
 

When to Use Sales Funnel Software

Your decision on whether to invest in sales funnel software and which solution is the best fit for you will depend on a host of factors. These include:
 
· The maturity and size of your business
· The nature and quality of your leads
· The relative complexity of the products and services you sell
· Your budget
 
If your business is relatively new, opting for a sales funnel software solution might be a sensible option as you can select a package that suits your pocket. And you won’t need to bother with investing time and money in hiring a web developer or signing up for multiple tools.
 
However, be sure to do your homework and ascertain that the software you select offers the features and functionality you need. For example, if you don’t plan on inviting your leads to attend live-streamed video events, you wouldn’t want to pay for that service. Shop around and find a provider that offers flexible options that align with your requirements.
 
Also consider any other existing CRM tool(s) you have. If you’re already signed up for and are using other tools, cost could be an issue. Integration might also pose a potential problem. While most sales funnel software can be used with other apps, there could be a negative knock-on effect on the user experience.
 
It follows that ease of integration with other CRM systems and tools should be high on your vendor evaluation checklist.

 

How Do You Know Which Sales Funnel Software Is for You?

Marketing funnel software can become one of your company’s most powerful assets. Still, the wrong one could turn into a massive liability, slow your business down, and leave many unsolved problems in its wake.
 
So, let’s spend some time focusing on how to choose the right sales funnel software for your needs.
 
The Right Features
 
The software you select should support and enable your business’s revenue-generation goals. For instance, if you have your sights set on launching an extended and multi-touchpoint social media campaign, you’ll want to look for software that offers this as one of its core feature sets. This means you don’t need to invest in this capability via a separate tool.
 
It’s a good idea to make a list of essential versus “nice-to-have” features to help in narrowing down your selection.
 
Easy to Use
 
Is the software intuitive and user-friendly? This is especially important if you’re new to using sales funnel software. Remember, this software is going to serve as your right-hand-man, day-in, and day-out. You don’t want to waste hours of your day wrestling with glitches and code errors.
 
A few things to keep in mind:
 
· Does the software “work” without requiring complex and time-consuming installation and configuration effort?
· Are pre-built, ready-to-use templates included?
 
Automation
 
Your software should feature advanced automation so that it runs and manages your sales funnels on your behalf, behind the scenes. The ability to create automated email sequences and tagging functionality will ensure that you send your leads and customers relevant information when they need it.
 
Access to Support
 
There’ll inevitably be times when you need help navigating a more complex task or setting up a modification. So, look for software providers who offer online or telephonic post-sale support.
 
Having access to short online courses or video tutorials is also advantageous.
 
The Role of Analytics
 
As with any sales software, analytics will become a powerful tool if you use your reports effectively. With a sales funnel software system, you can keep track of customer interactions in granular detail, allowing you to really drill down into customer behavior at all stages of the funnel.
 
So, if customers are routinely falling away at the Action stage (e.g., when they request a demo), you’ll be able to act on this information and provide your sales team with further training to help fix the problem. Maybe they need to sell the benefits harder at the Interest stage; perhaps they are coming on a bit too strong during the Decision step. It may be that you need to tweak your automated email flows. By delivering actionable insights, sales funnel software will help your team perform at their best.
 

Varicent’s Approach to Sales Funnel Software

Varicent is a longstanding leader in sales funnel management and best practices. We’ve worked with hundreds of clients across multiple industries. We’ve taken the experience and feedback we’ve gathered to craft sales funnel software with a rich set of features and benefits.
 
With us, you can:
 
· Access pre-built landing page templates
· Create customized landing pages for your online store’s product/service
· A/B test your landing page design; optimize for the highest converting pages
· Launch custom email marketing campaigns for every stage in your sales funnel
· Make opt-in forms for potential customers to capture and record their email addresses. The add them to your email marketing list
· Optimize your sales funnel’s structure to enhance lead conversion rates, as well as upsell current customers
· Segment customers based on their demographic information and buying behavior
· Advertise your new products to current customers
· Create affiliate programs
 

Integrating Varicent’s Sales Funnel Software with Other Systems

Sales performance software doesn’t exist in isolation. Instead, it’s part of a diverse ecosystem designed to motivate your sales team and empower them to hit your revenue targets.
 
When you use Varicent, you’ll be able to integrate with all your systems, including CRM. This lets you access data that will help you discover hidden opportunities and insights to make evidence-based decisions.
 

Time to Amp Up Your Funnel Growth

Software is the oil that keeps your sales funnel running smoothly.
Now that you understand more about sales funnel software and how it works, we’re sure you appreciate that choosing the right solution is paramount.
 
Varicent is trusted by hundreds of clients to keep their sales organizations operating at peak productivity and productivity.
 
We’d welcome the opportunity to join you on your sales journey!
 
Visit our product page to learn more. And, if you’re keen to get hands-on right away, why not book a demo?

 

Tags: Sales Performance Management

Picture of Mike Fiske
Senior Solution Consultant

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