4 ways the sales funnel has changed

By Lisa Goldsberry

32145718_s.jpgUse these PR tools to stay ahead in today’s digital age

Just when you thought you had it all figured out, the traditional sales funnel has changed. To move customers through the funnel, you still have to go through the stages of attract, convert, close and delight. However, you can no longer use the same old tired tactics to make this happen. Today’s customers demand more. Thankfully, you can use public relations tools and initiatives to stay ahead of the competition.

Change # 1: Where consumers enter the funnel.

In the past, the sales cycle was linear. You knew exactly how to predict the buying process. But customers today move in and out of the funnel at various stages. For instance, it could be word-of-mouth, social media or a Google search that initially attracts consumers. When they encounter this information, they could be at any stage of the cycle. They may even go dormant for months before popping back in and making a purchase. As a result, the process is now more erratic and you must learn to adjust.

You can use PR to make sure that wherever consumers come in contact with you, your branding is solid, your reputation is positive and your content is relatable. Additionally, you must ensure that no matter which touch point you use – whether it’s your website, social media page or a customer service representative – prospects can easily find what they are looking for.

Change #2: Closer collaboration between sales, PR and marketing.

Previously, these functions operated in their own little silos, squabbling over budgets and blaming the others for shortcomings. At some companies, this is still the case.

Now, smart companies realize they must have consistent messaging and good communications in order to convert leads into customers. When these operations cooperate with each other, they can develop interesting, relevant content to make it easier to move prospects along and build trust. This takes proper PR measurement tools and a clear understanding of what everyone is doing to ensure that all groups are working toward the same goal.

Change #3: The effect of social media.

Studies have shown that consumers now travel through most of the sales cycle before ever talking to a salesperson. In fact, more than 60 percent of the buyer’s journey is digital. Also, a whopping 84 percent of CEOs and VPs report that they use social media to make purchasing decisions. Online review sites, shareable content and peer-to-peer forums have all resulted in a more informed consumer, who typically enters the sales funnel lower in the process. This means your company may have much less influence in the purchasing decision.

To have an impact, you must promote the ways that you differ from the competition, use data to your advantage and, most importantly, be agile. With help from PR, you can build qualified traffic on social media to raise awareness of your brand, increase inbound prospects and reach your sales goals faster.

Change #4: The importance of hiring a PR firm.

Lack of credibility can cause your company to lose sales. Better communication helps to build trust and creates more empowered leads, which benefits your company in the long run.

Nurturing leads is critical for moving prospects through the sales funnel quicker, and the professionals at Axia Public Relations have the content management knowledge and creative campaign tools to help. To learn more about how we can contribute to your sales success, contact us or download our free e-book Maximizing Your Public Relations Investment.

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Lisa-G-Color-SM.jpgLisa Goldsberry is a blogger for Axia Public Relations with more than 15 years of public relations experience. She specializes in business and technology PR. Lisa has worked for Axia since December 2013. Learn more about Lisa Goldsberry. Connect with Axia on Twitter @axiapr or tell us what you think in the comments below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Featured image credit: 123rf.com

Topics: Public Relations, Featured, Social Media

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