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Posts Tagged ‘funnel optimization’

Ask MarketingSherpa: Mapping the prospect conclusion funnel [includes free PDF example]

August 29th, 2018
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We frequently receive questions from our email subscribers asking marketing advice. Instead of hiding those answers in a one-to-one email communication, we occasionally publish some of them here on the MarketingSherpa blog so they can help other readers as well. If you have any questions, let us know.

Dear MarketingSherpa: Hi Daniel, I’m following up on the conversation started on Twitter about your blog post. My questions are:

– What was the main realization that took you to write this article?

– Do you think that this works for businesses in any industry? For example, some businesses are mostly offline, is it wise to invest time in creating a funnel for those as well?

FYI, this is the article I’m talking about — Marketing 101: What is funnel creation?

Looking forward to hearing back from you.

Thanks.

Dear Reader: I wrote the article because I received questions following the publication of this article: Website Development: How a small natural foods CPG company increased revenue 18% with a site redesign

Yes, the funnel works for any fairly complex purchase. This was true before the internet. Think about buying a car before the internet. First you saw the ad. Then maybe you filled out a business reply (BRC) card. Got invited in for a test drive. Test drove cars at competitors. Get to price negotiations. Etc, etc.

The funnel is a human decision-making phenomenon

I’ll go a step further. The funnel works for any fairly complex human decision, not just purchases, and certainly not just online. For example, you don’t instantly decide someone you meet in college is going to be your best friend. There’s a process.

And that begins with exposure to that person in the first place. You made micro-decisions to attend the same club meeting that person did, you approached them after the meeting, you had a good conversation, you invited them to hang out with your buddies, your buddies liked that person (third-party verification), you hung out more and more, you confided trust in that person (form fill with annual revenue info), that person confided trust in you … 40 years down that funnel, your best friend is giving a toast at your daughter’s wedding (the final purchase).

In a vacuum, the funnel still exists

The reader asked if it is it wise to create a funnel. It’s important to note that the funnel exists whether you choose to actively manage it or not. Take the example above. Your best friend didn’t choose to create a funnel to end up giving a toast at your daughter’s wedding. There were a set of decisions that you naturally made to get to that point.

It’s the same with the buyer’s journey. If you’re selling a car, there are a series of decisions a buyer will make on the path to deciding whether to purchase that car, whether you’ve set up a funnel or not.

What you can do is try to discover what these paths to purchase are, and then how you can use your marketing, sales and other resources to help them make that decision.

Let’s look at an example where we map business activities in a funnel to a set of conclusions a prospect has to reach for a B2B services contract.

Prospect conclusion funnel example

[Click here for an instant, free download of a PDF version of the Prospect Conclusion Funnel Example]

Let’s break down the example.

Read more…

Marketing 101: What is funnel creation?

July 13th, 2018
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Marketing has a language all its own. This is our latest in a series of posts aimed at helping new marketers learn that language. What term do you find yourself explaining most often to new hires during onboarding? Let us know.

Most purchases are not an instant decision on the part of the customer. There are several mental steps people must take before making the actual purchase decision.

For a more complex purchase, these steps usually involve learning more about the industry, product and company, until they get to the point of making a purchase. For a simpler purchase, the steps may simply be getting through the product’s purchase path.

And each step on that journey is a decision.

For example, a complex purchase funnel might include steps like this: searching a pain point in a search engine, getting to a content piece on a website, clicking to a landing page for a white paper download, receiving several pieces of email in a lead nurturing campaign, deciding to speak to a sales rep to learn more about the product, going through several stages of a sales process with a sales rep, and then ultimately making a purchase. This may happen over several months.

A simpler purchase might look like this: clicking on a paid search ad, arriving on a landing page, moving to a product page, going to a shopping cart, entering payment info, confirming a purchase. This might happen in a matter of minutes.

Funneling customers to an ultimate conversion objective

A funnel is so named because marketing literature typically depicts this journey in the shape of a funnel.

This is an example of a kitchen funnel.

And this is an example of a marketing funnel.

(from the case study B2B Marketing: Demand generation transformation doubles conversion rate for cyber security provider)

The general idea for the funnel shape is that there are more people at the beginning of the funnel then at the end. For example, more people will visit a landing page from an ad than will purchase your product.

The other idea for the funnel shape is that, much like a funnel channels liquid into a small opening, marketers should channel their potential customers from their first touchpoint to an ultimate conversion.

However, with a physical funnel, liquid naturally flows down into the container pulled by gravity. MECLABS Institute (parent research organization of MarketingSherpa) teaches that this is a flaw in the traditional marketing analogy. Customers don’t simply fall through your funnel naturally pulled by gravity.

Read more…

A/B Testing: 4 tests from a crowdfunding site with double-digit results

July 26th, 2012
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Before you start an optimization program, you have to be clear on what you are trying to optimize. Or, as Brad Damphousse, the CEO of GoFundMe, a crowdfunding site, puts it, “What’s the one thing that really matters?”

The GoFundMe team determined that, for its site, it had to focus on making it easy for anyone to receive donations. To achieve that goal, the team would have to optimize for both of its customer segments (which are essentially on both sides of the transaction): users asking for donations and donors making those donations.

So, Brad launched a series of A/B tests to help convert more new users and to gain more donations from donors.

 

Test #1: Sell the service

For the first test, the team mapped out its funnel and identified where leaks were occurring.

 

Click to enlarge

Read more…

B2B Marketing Research: 68% of B2B marketers haven’t identified their Marketing-Sales funnel … and it shows

March 9th, 2012
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B2B marketing has always been complicated, and has only become more complex over the last few years thanks to evermore empowered buyers, new technologies, a difficult economy and growing international organizations that make navigating potential buyers and influencers in target companies harder by the day.

So, I sat down with Jen Doyle, Senior Research Manager, MECLABS, for a look at her recent discoveries from her 2012 B2B Marketing Benchmark Report to see what marketers are telling us about these challenges …

 

 

Here are some of the research discoveries Jen and I discussed in the video, along with the source charts: Read more…

B2B Marketing: Combating a shrinking deal size

November 10th, 2011
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Every time I look through the new 2012 B2B Marketing Benchmark Report, I find something interesting or useful from this research based on 1,745 surveyed marketers.

 

A B2B marketing challenge

Yesterday, I actually came across a chart I find disturbing:

Click to enlarge

 

Hopefully your deals aren’t moving to the left side of this chart. As you can see, compared to last year, the average B2B deal is declining. Deals under $10,000 have increased (with deals under $1,000 up 100%), and all deals over $10,001 are down.

Similar to the data point that the smallest deals are increasing the most, the largest deals – over $250,000 – are down by the largest percentage.

Yikes.

Part of this is likely attributed to the ongoing economic difficulties. Some larger B2B purchases are perhaps being put off until the financial outlook is better. Although, our research found one reason for this decline:  the economy is causing B2B companies to feel pressure to accelerate their current pipeline and get deals closed.

The problem with this strategic response is that now B2B companies are competing on price instead of value and are offering promotions that result in overall smaller deal sizes as well as including fewer products and services in the deal so it’s a simpler sale.

Another data point from the report also supports this research – compared to 2010, the average length of sales cycles in 2011 was much shorter.

Comparing 2011 to 2010, cycles of:

  • Less than one month, up 15%
  • One to three months, up 4%
  • Four to six months, down 2%
  • Seven to 12 months, down 7%
  • Over one year, even

One common reason for a shortened sales cycle is the deal becomes less complex. For example, Sales might work harder to close multiple one-year licenses to meet their quota instead of taking the time to nail down the all-you-can-eat enterprise license agreement. Read more…

Funnel Optimization: Why marketers must embrace change

September 29th, 2011
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We just wrapped the production of our 2012 B2B Marketing Benchmark Report. The overwhelming theme in this study of 1,745 B2B marketers is that the B2B marketing environment is becoming increasingly more challenging over time.  In year-over-year (YoY) comparisons of the research, the perceived effectiveness of tactics has seen severe declines. MarketingSherpa wanted to get to the bottom of what’s really happening.

Marketers are all aware of the changes that have taken place in the market. Buyers research their purchasing decisions online, not by calling Sales. Marketers get that. But what are they really doing about it? Read more…