In fact, by the time a potential customer actually reaches out to a person in your organization, 70% of the decision-making process will already have taken place. Puts into perspective why you need to have online and website-based tools to act as proxies! (See Why ZMOT is Relevant for B2B Marketing: 4 Data-Based Reasons and Inbound Marketing and ZMOT: Perfect Together?)
Landing pages originated with the IT departments of Microsoft in late 2003 in response to poor online sales of Office. The process was tedious and time-consuming. As a result, in 2009, several startups, including Unbounce, were formed to simplify and streamline the process. The rise of cloud computing and e-commerce around 2009 provided ideal conditions for these startups to flourish. Since then the customer requirements changed, requesting integrations with other solutions such as email marketing, lead nurturing and customer relationship management systems.
ClickFunnels is now a fairly mature service developed by Russell Brunson and his team. It’s now been up and running for more than 3 years at the time of this review. As a quick aside, I learned about ClickFunnels through Russell’s new book DotCom Secrets: The Underground Playbook for Growing Your Company Online. If you want to learn how to sell products, then I highly recommend it.
A sales funnel is a marketing system. It’s the “ideal” process you intend your customers to experience as they go from Prospect to Lead to Customer to Repeat Buyer. Sales funnels have been around much longer than web marketing, but the online world is the best thing to ever happen to sales funnels because websites and email marketing make sales funnels easier to build.
Actionetics is ClickFunnels’ email automation software, designed to be used in conjunction with ClickFunnels. When it comes to Actionetics, you are spoiled for choice when it comes to functions. For example, you can use Actionetics to create an autoresponder, to create email lists, to make email sequences, to segment/organize contacts with tags, and to construct action funnels following certain internal/external triggers.
Cons: The customer support has gotten worse recently. They used to have live chat on their site, now they use some weird ticketing software that I do not like. I will say this, there support is very good but a lot slower than I'd like. When they do get back to me, it typically solved my problem immediately. But sometimes it takes a full day or more for them to respond. This can be valuable lost time for a business, especially if you're running ads to a page that stops working.
The only problem is, most businesses don’t know how to talk about themselves or what they are selling in ways that matter to their potential customers. Why? Well, all businesses struggle with egocentrism. After all, you spend all day, every day thinking about and improving your product or offer. It’s natural to want to talk about all the special things that make your business unique!
Prospecting and marketing are all the things you do to get people into the first of your sales funnel stages. Note that stages are broken into two or more steps wherever possible. A demo could be called a single stage, but in real life it involves a lot of things: contacting the customer, sending reminders, doing the demo, and then following up. Whatever your own sales stages look like, the support you need in managing them will be the same.