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Acquiring customers used to be treated as a linear process. But today, we operate knowing the digital sales process is not a linear one. When you align marketing with sales and map out the strategy for your sales funnel, you can make the funnel work for you.

Remember, the “right model” is ultimately what resonates best with you and your team.

Let’s dive into how we think.

The basic deal stages are: awareness > consideration > decision. These stages help define the purposes, concerns, and circumstances of potential buyers so you, as a seller, know what’s most important to the buyer at any given time. These stages are frequently subdivided into more detailed ones (customized for any given business) and commonly referred to as the “Buyer’s Journey,” as previously noted.

An entire field of best practices and terminology (“demand generation,” for example) has evolved from the concept of deal stages. Why?

Deal stages help businesses understand what needs to be pushed to (or readily available for) prospective buyers, based on who they are and where they are on their journey to a purchase.

Closely connected is the marketing funnel, which categorizes prospective (and even existing) customers according to marketing activities that drive desired results. The desired result is to turn “strangers” into “visitors”. Marketing activities are thereby planned and tested to attract strangers who might also be categorized in an “awareness” deal stage. As visitors move into a consideration stage, marketing activities are focused on converting visitors to leads, leads to customers, and so on.

Given the various stages, categories, and groupings, it’s no wonder why so many forms of marketing and sales funnels take shape. The most practical way to make these models work for you is to consider the questions they raise. You’ll find some of the answers to these questions to be concise, while others may need to be researched further.

The following are several common questions we ask our clients (and ourselves) in this context:

How can the roles and responsibilities, with respect to personas that fit into your Buyer’s Journey be better defined?

  • Considering how prospective buyers learn about you, how does your sales and marketing content serve their purposes?
  • If you are categorizing leads as “marketing qualified” or “sales qualified,” what’s needed to better close the gap between them (processes, content, etc.)?
  • Assuming most of the Buyer’s Journey will be conducted online, where do you believe there is a shortage of information to help the buyer get closer to a purchase, and what is that information?
  • How can you make more accessible the information your prospective buyer needs to make a purchase decision?
  • Where do you see opportunities to further scale or personalize processes and content that drives results?
  • How are you measuring the effectiveness of your efforts?
  • What’s the most important thing you need to know and do to advance your marketing and sales system in this context?
  • What will have the greatest impact in the least amount of time?
  • How might you make changes based on what you’ve learned from your competitors, conversations with prospects/customers, and more recent experiences?

When you ask yourself those questions, you can hone in on how to make a model that works for you.

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Jason Cormier

Jason Cormier

As co-founding Partner of Room 214, Jason is dedicated to helping people and companies grow and innovate. He is a best-selling author of Transformative Digital Marketing, is on HubSpot's Global Partner Advisory Council and serves as a mentor for social entrepreneurs at Watson University. He believes in acting out of love instead of fear, connected leadership and open book management.