When sales funnels are done right, they can mean a smooth transition from leads to customers through your sales pipeline. But if they’re disjointed without any type of master plan, it can mean lost deals and marketing efforts that don’t seem to bring the results you want.
A good sales funnel for any IT business should address these key questions:
- How do leads find me?
- What is their next step?
- What triggers them to become a customer?
- What happens after the sale?
Matching your marketing and nurturing strategies to a well thought out sales funnel can reduce the gaps that sales dollars may be slipping through and can help you integrate all your marketing efforts into a cohesive strategy to drive more business.
What Should an IT Business Sales Funnel Look Like?
You work hard to drive leads to your website and you naturally want to turn as many of them as possible into buying customers.
Your sales funnel designates the steps that you take with leads to bring them from “landed on the webpage” to recurring business. As people go through each stage in your funnel, you want your activities to guide them down to the next stage in the sales process.
A sales funnel for a tech services business can look something like this:
Awareness: Getting Your Name Out There
This stage includes activities you do to make potential customers aware of your products and services. This can include:
- Pay-per-click ads (PPC)
- Website SEO
- Social Media
- Physical Mailers (postcards, brochures)
- Cards left at other local businesses
Discovery: Putting Your Best Foot Forward
This is an important state where a lead thinks you might possibly have what they’re looking for and will do things like check out your website, give your their email address or contact you by phone. Marketing at this stage can include:
- Custom landing pages
- Lead Magnets
- Email newsletter
- Video marketing
Quote: Illustrating Your Value Proposition
The quote process is when the lead has gone a step farther with an intent to potentially hire your services or purchase a product from you and asks for a price quote. The key things you want to include in this stage:
- Adding a value statement to your quote
- Automated follow up email
- Quote expiration (“last chance”) email
Purchase: Shining with Great Services
This is the main stage in a sales funnel that everyone is trying to get a lead to end up at. It means that all your funneling activities were successful and you made the sale. Some helpful communications you can include here are:
- Request for review
- Request for testimonial
- Follow up survey to see how you did
Loyalty: Nurturing Long-Term Relationships
Once you’ve earned a new customer, they can mean recurring business. For example, they may be on a monthly managed IT plan or may come back to you again to repair a different family computer. You can continue to nurture the relationship with:
- Offer of a referral or “loyalty customer” discounts
- Email newsletter
- Offer of special training events for your managed IT customers only
So, what should you do in each of those stages to make your sales funnels effective? We’ll go through the key types of activities that you can use to create a healthy sales funnel.
Designing Sales Funnels that Work for Your Business
A good sales funnel will repeat your message to a customer in a variety of ways throughout the sales process. Why keep repeating the same message? Because 63% of consumers need to hear a company’s value message 3-5 times before they actually believe it.
Repetition breeds familiarity and trust and too often companies stop too soon before they reach that 5-times sweet spot.
Following are a number of activities to help feed your tech services business sales funnel and keep people moving through it in the right direction. You’ll see that for several of these marketing activities, there will be more than one funnel can use them with.
The key is to map out your funnels and then strategize the most successful marketing activities that match each phase of the customer journey.
Funnel stage: Awareness, Discovery
One of the fastest ways to drive business is through use of Google Ads, however this can be tricky as their rules for local business service related ads have been changing. Their more stringent guidelines have left many IT service companies out in the cold with their ads being turned off.
But since Google changes their policies regularly, tech service ads may flow freely again in the future. Using ads plus call extensions can make it easy for someone to click and call you right from the search result.
88% of consumers that search for a local business on a mobile device call or visit within 24 hours.
Remarketing in Google Ads allows you to show a choice ad to website visitors that have expressed an interest in your products or services. You can think of remarketing as the “don’t forget about me” marketing asset.
And you can get very detailed with remarketing, showing specific ads based upon the page someone visits, such as:
A website visitor spends time on your managed IT services page. When they’re visiting another website that embeds Google ads, you can have an ad appear that includes a quote from a managed IT client saying how great your services are.
While PPC ads cost money, they also give you the ability to laser target who to show your ads to and in which geographical areas.
Funnel Stage: Awareness, Discovery, Quote
If you’ve ever been searching online for something, like the “Ultimate Customer Quote Template,” then hit a form to fill in your name and email before you can download it, you’ve been on the receiving end of a lead magnet.
Lead magnets are designed to draw people in by offering them something of value in exchange for some information that allows you to further identify their needs and how you can help fill them.
An effective lead magnet will require a form to be filled in with information you can use for future marketing such as their name, email address, company name, and you can even get more detailed by asking questions, like, What is your biggest IT challenge?”. Then once they fill out your form, they get whatever the lead magnet offer is.
Three popular types of lead magnets are:
A flashy eBook in PDF format offers a lead something of value if they’ll just let you get to know them a little better. eBooks can be easily created in Word, PowerPoint, or Pages (if you’re a Mac user) and should include text mixed with visuals (images, charts, infographics) and a call to action on the last page to prompt further interaction.
Hubspot has some nice free eBook templates (which they use as a lead magnet for their own site!).
Some eBook examples you may use to help draw people in could be:
- Top 10 Ways You Can Help Speed Up a Slow Computer
- Guide to Converting Your Computer into the Ultimate Gaming PC
- Cybersecurity Policy Templates for Your Small Business
Live webinars that offer a Q&A at the end are another excellent way to make potential customers aware of your business. Offer a webinar on a topic of interest, such as “Office 365 Tips for Business Users”, and use channels like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and PPC to advertise them.
Medium has some great stats that can help you plan successful webinars:
- 44% of attendees prefer 45-minute long webinars (#1)
- 41% of attendees prefer 30-minute long webinars (#2)
- 11am is the most popular webinar time (preferred by 32%)
- 92% of webinar attendees want a live Q&A at the end
To get a webinar going, you would first choose your topic, then create a PPT that you’ll using during the webinar. Get your webinar set up on a webinar service and look for the ability to make it recurring (i.e. you can offer it each week or a few times a month).
Several webinar services offer free 30-day trials, such as:
Plan to use about 80% of the time for the webinar presentation and 20% for the Q&A session afterwards. The interaction in a live webinar environment can take a lead through the discovery funnel faster than if they just reviewed your website.
Tip: Record your webinar and put it on YouTube for video marketing (minus the Q&A).
Another lead magnet to make your name known and drawn in new leads is to offer free computer diagnostics.
This gives a potential client an excellent free service, one which it’s hard for many to turn down, and you get the chance to learn more about their IT needs so you can better position your services to help meet them.
Here are some ways you can advertise this type of free diagnostics offer:
- Get a Free Security Scorecard to See How Your Business Rates in 12 Areas of Risk
- Free PC Scanning to Find the Best Options to Speed Up Your PC or Mac
- Bring in Your Computer Risk Free! We Offer No Cost, No Obligation Diagnostics
An advantage of the free diagnostic lead magnet is that it can jump your lead right into the quote stage, helping move them through your sales funnel more quickly.
Dedicated Landing Pages
Funnel Stage: Awareness, Discovery
If you’re just driving people to your main home page, you could be losing leads in your sales funnel by not giving them targeted enough information. Dedicated landing pages offer three major advantages over your main website pages describing your services.
- They target the message and value statement to the customer’s interests
- They offer a great SEO opportunity for different local service areas
- They allow you to zero in on service and industry combinations
If you’re running a Facebook ad for anti-virus services, you’ll have a much better chance at a conversion if the page the person is taken to when they click is all about your anti-virus solutions rather than just a main home page.
According to makers of self-service advertising software, SteelHouse, targeted landing pages can increase conversion rates by 300%.
You can super-charge your search engine optimization for multiple areas or towns that you service, by creating a dedicated landing page for each area, and use keywords like “best computer repair in Denver” or “best computer repair in Evergreen, CO” which helps you gain more leads that search for services in their own towns.
Using both an industry and service combination helps you completely tailor your message to your audience, grabbing their attention more than a generic message. Combinations used for targeted landing pages can be something like:
- “Cyber Security for Dentists”
- “Networking for College Campuses”
- “Data Privacy Compliance for Financial Firms”
Funnel Stage: All
Automating your email communications during different stages of the sales cycle can ensure no one falls through the cracks and that you’re keeping consistent and relevant messaging going out to lead and clients.
How strong is your follow up game once someone has purchased? Often once we get to that “home run” stage of the sales funnel, our communication with a client drops dramatically.
But treating continuous communication AFTER the purchase as just as important as during the lead nurturing process, can help you not only gain repeat business but also referrals.
The easiest way to do this and continue to nurture new prospects (without spreading yourself too thin) is through the use of email automation. This means that during different stages of the sales cycle you can have automated communications that go out based upon different triggers or timelines.
Here’s an example of how you can set up email automation to nurture a lead:
- 2 days after someone initially contacts you and receives your reply, send a “touch base/still interested?” email
- Add a nurture campaign of a group of emails that highlight your 4 most popular website blogs, and space them to trigger 1 per week
- After a quote is sent, have a reminder email that goes out 4 days later asking if they have any questions (if they haven’t purchased yet)
- After purchase, send a helpful guide or tip sheet as an additional thank you for doing business
- Two weeks after purchase, send a request for review email
- 60-days after purchase send an email offering a discount on a service with a referral
While the initial setup process for email automation can take a little time, the time is well worth it because once those emails and triggers are in place, the whole process is automated and you’re following up with everyone like a champ (without having to do any additional work!).
Here are some cool examples of various automated email nurture campaigns.
Funnel Stage: Awareness, Discovery, Loyalty
When it comes to guiding leads through your sales funnel, one of the most valuable pieces of information you can have is the lead’s email address. If you see someone visiting your website, but they don’t give you their email address or any contact details, you have no way to try to help them further. They’re a “lost visitor.”
Counting on someone to find your menu link to sign up for your email newsletter can leave your list somewhat sparse, because not everyone is going to navigate over there. But one small trick to gathering those visitor emails is using an exit pop-up form.
The exit pop-up says, “Hey! Before you go, sign up to receive some great stuff in your inbox!”
An exit intent pop-up can convert 35% of previously lost visitors.
Some tips for successful exit pop-ups:
- Keep your form simple and quick to fill in, many of them use just a first name and email blank
- Use a catchy message like “Get Weekly Tech Guru Tips to Impress Your Friends”
- Use the right exit intent settings, so it doesn’t keep popping up after someone closed out of it
Keep Your Funnel Flowing
A surprising number of IT businesses don’t take the time to map out their sales funnels and the marketing activities to use in each stage. Just that simple process of visualizing your funnel and taking some time to understand what the customer is thinking during each process can result in big returns through more conversions, more effective marketing efforts, and more sales.
Have you planned and mapped out funnels for your marketing efforts? What have you done to try to close the gaps from lead to sale? Share your stories below.