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In marketing, the importance of strategy cannot be understated. An excellent tool B2B companies can use to turn leads into sales is the marketing funnel. A funnel is a useful tool that can help you and your business guide your prospects through a sales process that converts them from leads to clients.
At Ajax Union, we like to visualize our funnel in three parts:
- TOFU or Top Of Funnel: The top of the funnel process includes building awareness and educating your leads. After sparking interest with landing pages and lead magnets, you prime and educate your prospects using a variety of assets like buyer guides, how-tos, answers to frequently asked questions, industry tips, and so forth.
- MOFU or Middle of Funnel: Once your leads have generated enough interest, it is key to convert that interest into consideration and trust. Businesses can build trust with their leads by providing case studies, testimonials, infographics, and statistics. Showcasing this credibility is what will take them to the next step.
- BOFU or Bottom of Funnel: Here your prospects have garnered enough interest and trust to become clients, and it’s where you continue to keep your current clients engaged with brand personification. B2B marketers build brands with experiential elements, core values, culture, and customer success stories
How To Get Started Building Your Marketing Funnel
Before creating a successful funnel, you first have to identify your target audience. Once you understand your audience’s needs, you can begin to craft the appropriate language needed to engage them.
Once you know who your business’s target audience is, you can begin strategizing. When strategizing, it is important to consider what your business goals and priorities are.
At Ajax Union, we perform workshops to help businesses design their strategy and marketing funnel. Here are some useful points Ajax Union can clarify for your business:
- Buyer Personas: who your target audience is, what they do, and what they need
- Brand Messaging: the messages your target audience needs at each stage of the funnel
- Brand Experience: the specific attributes your company wants the audience experience
- Unique Value Proposition: what makes you stand out from your competitors
- Goals: what your business would like to achieve
- SWOT Analysis: what your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats are.
To learn more about how Ajax Union can help you generate leads and referrals for your business using marketing funnels, click here.
HOW TO RETAIN YOUR AMAZING SALES TALENT:
Here’s the most important thing you’ll read all day: HIRE WELL. Follow our steps above to qualify your candidates thoroughly before onboarding them. After you’ve found The Next Larry, here’s how to get him to stay:
- According to Entrepeneur.com: A great way to keep your office “sticky” is to offer training. Ajax Union offers training across all areas of digital marketing. Why? If salespeople feel like they’re growing and gaining, they’ll stay far longer.
- Pay employees well. Don’t be cheap. Pay grade should be based on skills, experience, industry demand for their position, and your geographical location (if you’re NYC based, you’re gonna have to help them make rent). Seniority should count as well.
- Provide great benefits and incentives: insurance and bonuses are a must in today’s workplace.
- Promote your open culture. A salesman should never be afraid to admit that they screwed up. It’s better to tackle problems before they become disasters…and employees feel safer.
- Offer flexibility in working arrangements. Telecommuting options are almost ubiquitous.
- Want to know how to kickstart your new retention strategy? Call in each member of your team and simply ask, honestly, how you could be a better employer. Let the fascinating conversation ensue.
OK, THIS NEW LARRY ISN’T DOING GREAT. DO I FIRE HIM, OR GIVE HIM MORE TIME?
According to the Rainmaker Group, here are some warning signs that may indicate it’s time to kiss “New Larry” goodbye.
- You think about their inadequate performance for more than 15 minutes a day.
- You ‘ve mentioned this person’s issues to people in your personal life. Like, your wife knows about this guy’s signature whine.
- You tried coaching this person and you’re getting nowhere.
- You get the vibe that they don’t like you. = awkward.
- They bash the company, you, or fellow employees behind their back. No no NO.
- If you ask yourself: would I hire “____” again, and the answer is no.
- But what if I really like New Larry as a person? I don’t want to hurt him! Look around the office… maybe there’s another seat they can fill? If not, you’re doing them a favor by setting them free from a position they can’t succeed in.
WHAT COMMON MISTAKES DO BUSINESSES MAKE WHEN RECRUITING?
- Simply put, your looking for the wrong things. Listen, charisma is important, but it has to be backed by skill.
- Another common mistake: businesses neglect their presence on Glassdoor, LinkedIn, Social Media comments, etc. People really do their research these days – can YOU afford to have a scathing review from an employee you burned on your Facebook page?
- Another mistake: the company interview process is weak. Are you looking out for the right things (see above!)?
- A good rule of thumb: would you want to grab a drink with this person? If not, then neither will your potential customers.
WHY IS SO HARD TO FIND TALENTED SALESPEOPLE?
Firstly, talented salespeople are not RARE, but definitely not easy to unearth on your first shot. Yes, a lot of superstars are swept up by major corporations who can afford to pay them the big bucks, but you have to look for the right sales qualities, not just the right sales resume. Someone who’s new to the game can have the fire to sell what others wouldn’t: as long as they’re a constantly growing, passionate, empowered team player.
CAN YOU RECOMMEND A SOME GREAT WEEKEND READING ON THIS TOPIC? SURE.
There’s an adage that we here at Ajax have coined after working with hundreds – if not thousands – of B2B enterprises whose sales teams keep them afloat: Always be recruiting. “But why?” You ask. I’ve got Brian, Chelsea, (insert your favorite sales guy’s name who hasn’t vacationed in 8 years, closes deals daily, and went prematurely grey…let’s call him Larry.) Larrys are great. We love Larrys. We’re going to tell you how to recruit, and more importantly, RETAIN more people like Larry. But wait, why should I be on the lookout for more Larrys (and more salaries to pay)?
Because three things are going to happen.
- Someone is going to be promoted. What if your CEO decides Larry should leave sales behind and become the CFO? It happens!
- Someone will resign/get fired. It may not even be Larry: if Larry’s best friend Cole leaves for your competitor, Larry might not be far behind.
- Someone may surprise you. If you meet some firecracker Millennial at a conference that fits the exact mold as Larry – and may even surpass him energy-wise – are you really going to turn him away because you’re “Not hiring?”
So you’re “sold”: you’re going to jump back on this recruitment train! Now, where do you begin? It’s time to take a deep look within your company’s soul. If you’re recruiting because Larry left, ask yourself: Why did he go? If you just fired your 5th salesman this year: what about your hiring process could be improved to ensure you don’t waste training dollar? Until you understand and concede to what you can be doing better, you’ll never get a great salesman to join your team – nevermind stay there.
WHERE TO FIND YOUR NEXT GREAT HIRE:
The same facts reign true across all areas of marketing, sales, HR, technology, etc.: nothing beats word of mouth. A good referral is worth hundreds of Craigslist applicants, so spread the word: you’re on the prowl for an awesome new Larry. Where else can you look? Recruiting agencies can be super-helpful…and super costly. Be sure you’re ready to make the investment. Online directories like Craigslist, LinkedIn, and Upwork are great places to start, but the candidates will need way more investigating. And don’t underestimate job fairs: give those newbies a chance! They may surprise you.
HOW TO ATTRACT AMAZING SALESPEOPLE TO YOUR B2B BUSINESS:
Ajax Union is always talking about the importance of establishing a UVP: Your organization’s Unique Value Proposition that sets your apart from the competition. But here’s what you might have forgotten: What is your Employment Value Proposition? Establishing a strong “Employer Brand”, is a concept created by Richard Mosley. In a nutshell: what is your organization’s reputation as an employer, aside from your general brand reputation? Here’s how to make it great again:
- Treat people right. This topic is an article in and of itself, but common sense will take you far. Treat people as you would want to be treated – simple as that.
- Make the benefits of working for your company known. This can mean a fun, exciting, culture-fueled Instagram, or a detailed “Why Work For Us” page on your site. Spread the word, and encourage your employees to do the same: this company is the place to be!
- Show them sales are an important part of your culture. Everyone wants to feel that they’re going to be appreciated!
QUALITIES TO LOOK FOR IN A SALESPERSON:
According to Inc.com. There are a few qualities that indicate a successful salesman, though not all of them are conventionally positive.
- A Hunter’s Mentality: Do they possess that hungry passion? Do they notice small details and only reveal their “key move” at the end?
- Predisposition to ADD: That frenetic energy is an AMAZING benefit for salespeople. Just ask them. Most people with ADD/ADHD are proud to reveal they possess that unique quality.
- The Discipline to Follow Up: Simply – did he email you after your first interview?
- Charisma: Ah, that intangible “special something”. If they got it, they got it.
- Resilience: Rejection is par for the course in this role. Can he/she handle it?
- Empathy: Salespeople sell to humans. Can they relate to people on a personal level?
- A Touch of Arrogance: It takes confidence to the point of arrogance to walk into meetings and sell your heart out. How’s their swagger game?
How do you put this investigation into practice? Read the quote that completely speaks for itself:
“I test a salesperson in every way possible before I hire them: I miss our scheduled phone call to see what he does; I ask him to give a presentation and sell our product during our interview; I email him and use an incorrect name to see how he responds; I reject him to see how he responds to rejection. My goal is to find out if the salesperson is truly tenacious and willing to close the deal.” –Jun Loayza, www.JunLoayza.com
RED FLAGS TO LOOK OUT FOR IN A POTENTIAL HIRE:
Forbes.com said it best (as they usually do): If they talk more than they listen, you can bet they’re not going to be “hearing out” your customer’s needs. Some more little notes to add to your “concerns” section of his review:
- Did he/she look sloppy? No one’s going to be sold on a slob. Their confidence level is probably not that great either.
- Did he/she dance around the hard questions? I.e. why do you want to be a salesman? Where did you learn your sales skills? Did you get along with everyone on your old team? Which brings us to…
- Do they play well with others? This may not be easy to spot. Stay safe and call some references. Or better yet, call those who worked with them that aren’t on their resume, and ask for honest feedback.
- Does he/she have the “Sales Passion”? If they’re just kind of ‘blah’, chances are they won’t perk up when they hit that boardroom.
Need help building your dream sales team? Ready to take the next step? Contact us at email@example.com so we can create a strategy that will work for YOU and your business.
Episode 3 features the host Phillip Lanos interviewing one of Ajax Union’s Marketing Strategists and his approach to B2B lead generation.
Ajax Union is a full service digital marketing agency based in Brooklyn, New York.