70 to 80% of the online inquiries you get probably aren’t sales ready but that doesn’t mean that they’re not worthy of nurturing.
Over the next several weeks, I’ll be devoting the Professional Services Marketing Digest to discussing the online sales funnel and its role in helping you get your firm (or niche) more visibility, more leads and more new customers. Today, we’re going to do an overview of the sales funnel concept and how it can be used.
Sales Funnel for Accounting and Other Professional Service Firms
Think about the online sales funnel like it’s a roadmap that starts with an eyeball being driven to your website and ends with that eyeball becoming a new client.
There will be different “rest tops” along this roadmap and the further on down the road(BTW, that’s one of my all-time favorite Eric Clapton tunes) those eyeballs travel, the greater the likelihood that they’ll stop their journey. In fact, if you realize 1 or 2 new engagements for every 1,000 visitors that come to your site, you should be very pleased, indeed.
The best depiction of the online sales funnel that I’ve ever seen comes from MOZ, and I’ll be referring to it as we go through this series.
For accounting and other professional service firms, online marketing needs to be about using a variety of offline and online tactics for reaching as many eyeballs as possible and driving them to your website, converting them into a prospect through “gated” offers, separating the wheat from the chaff through marketing automation nurturing that’s built on delivering increasingly advertorial communications, and finally, reaching a destination where a face to face sales conversation (and close) takes place.
6 Reasons Why an Online Sales Funnel Strategy Will Make Your CPA Firm Marketing More Effective
Once you get past referrals and networking, and the marketing effort and resources you’ve putting into branding activities, your firm’s marketing program should be all about lead generation. Today, when we talk about lead generation for professional service firms, we’re talking about effectiveness in terms of measurable outcomes ranging from conversion rates of things like visitors to leads, to overall ROI calculations.
When you view your firm’s online lead generation through the filter of a sales funnel, you’ll realize the following benefits:
- You’ll get the ability to align multiple strategies from first to last touch to signing an engagement letter
- You will be better able to allocate marketing resources to missed opportunities that deserve the most attention, for example, putting more into middle of the funnel activities like webinars instead of top of the funnel activities like creating and promoting new whitepapers
- Online sales funnel strategies are stepping stones for creating tactics for reaching the right prospect with the right message at the right time
- Knowing what you need to make an online sales funnel strategy work is fundamental to selecting the right marketing technology (like HubSpot) for handing implementation activities ranging from posting blogs to automating drip campaigns
- You can measure just about anything, and pinpoint what’s working in the sales funnel, what’s not working, and readjust or reallocate resources appropriately
- You’ll deliver leads to your business developer or rainmakers that are more qualified, more sales ready and more informed about your firm’s products, services and competitive differentiations
Up Next: Filling the Top of the Funnel
Next time, I’ll be discussing what the top of the sales funnel is all about, how to fill it, and different ways that CPA and other professional service firms are using online marketing to reach and convert eyeballs with gated offers.
If you’re in your firm’s marketing or budget planning season, the concept of the online sales funnel can play a pretty important role in moving your firm into a strong and viable online marketing program. If you would like to discuss this further, we’re happy to do some brainstorming ... at the top of the funnel!