Can your sales funnel data show you this?

A traditional funnel report will show you how many customers you have at each stage. The stages will be defined by how interested or qualified the customer should be at that stage. As you go through the funnel the numbers of customer decreases until you reach the bottom. (See our article on leaky funnels.)

If you instead create a sales process based on the Buyer’s Journey you will find that it more naturally represents what people actually do – i.e. they don’t travel in a straight line and therefore someone leaving a step may not be disengaging. Tracking actual buyer journeys shows us that people don’t always join at the beginning, they skip forward and they circle back. Ultimately, however, they are trying to satisfy a need (or several needs) and their needs may change as they engage with your content. To really dig deep into what is working and what isn’t with your sales and marketing process then you need to do the following:

  1. Design the sales process around the customer’s buying journey. (See our article Mapping the Buyer Journey)
  2. For each step on the journey you may have multiple items of content that satisfy different needs for your customers.
  3. Keep the customer moving forward with content that is connected by the journey design.
  4. Track what needs are driving people to your sale by Persona.
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If you follow this approach you will be able to analyse the results of your sales process/funnel like this:

The Journey Analysis shows:

  • Each circle represents a step on the journey.
  • Red arrows coming down from the top represents number of customers joining the journey at that point. (Not everyone joins at the beginning.)
  • The blue arrows underneath represent customers abandoning the journey – i.e. we don’t see them engaging further in the time period selected.)
  • The green arcs represent journey steps taken forward – i.e. if someone skips from step 1 to 5, their count would be shown on this arc – people don’t travel in a nice straight line.
  • The purple arcs are as above but represent people going backwards – this way the calculation is not “leaking” customers like a funnel. It shows that people are still engaging which gives a more accurate representation of what is actually happening on the journey/funnel.
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The Needs Analysis shows which Needs are creating more engagement and you can view this by Journey, Persona or even an individual step on a journey.
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When you have the data organised around the Journey, Needs and Steps, there are a lot of further ways to “drill” down into the data. The example above looks at an individual Step in a Journey and shows what Needs are causing the most engagement by each Persona.

From a marketing point of view, this data provides full marketing attribution to sale but the insight also helps marketers to optimise content and messaging for the Needs that are driving sales.

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