January 7, 2019

Why Do You Need a Sales Funnel?

So you as a company are developing marketing strategies to figure out how to lead people to be aware of your product or service and then lead them to a final purchase and then even to stay loyal customers with you. Most the time this doesn’t just happen by chance, so a strategy needs to be put in place. There are many ways to go about this situation by studying past company statistics, using marketing software or trying to come up with ideas on the spot. The best way is to use business templates. For this specific situation, it would be smart to implement the sales funnel. The sales funnel is a perfect way when you already have a product or service created and are wanting to get it out there and have it lead to sales. The sales funnel has five main phases: Awareness, Interest, Consideration, Engagement and Closing. Why a funnel you may ask? The reason this analogy is used it at the beginning of the process there are a lot of people that join in but as the steps progress slowly people drop out so it begins to narrow. Starting out with 100% of people in the awareness stage can lead to only 5% sticking it out for the closing stage. Before diving into the sales funnel phases you need to figure out your marketing segment and gather data on your potential customers. This can lead to adjusting your insights to focus on relevant problems and key selling points.

Here are three key reasons why you need to use a sales funnel:
• Nail your Selling System –
• Identifying the steps you take to close a sale is a prerequisite to selling better.
• Once you have your system in place you can then take steps to improve the process.
• A visual representation of your Sales Funnel will ensure that you can apply it to your business, test it, and develop it.
• Manage your day-to-day – Once you create a sales funnel within a CRM, you can view the progress of all your deals at a single glance, including the number of deals in each stage of the funnel. This allows you to answer questions like
• Are there high value deals at the closing stage today?
• Do we have enough leads to keep us occupied for a while?
• How long does it take for customers to get through the my sales funnel?
• Forecast earnings – When you apply a probability to each sales stage (i.e., leads in the first stage have a 10% chance of closing, 20% in the second stage, etc.) you can multiply this by the value of each deal and thus find out how much revenue to expect overall.
• For example- Out of 1000 people who see my ad, 10% will visit my page. (100 leads)
• Out of these 100 leads, 20% will move through to the next stage (20 leads)
• Through this process you will be able to predict how many customers will get to the closing stage and convert. In this case, mostly like 5 leads will convert (as stages progress, likelihood of conversion increases)

Tool Template

Instructions/Guides/etc for using the tool

In order to use this tool effectively, you must being with the end in mind. What does sale mean in your business or industry. Once you have that set, you will be able to think through the process of your customer and how they will get to that ultimate conversion.

1. Awareness- To start off you need to let your audience know your product or service exists. You can also make someone aware that they have a problem and you can solve it for them. Think of your personal brand and create buzz around it to give it credibility and make people start thinking about your brand. Social media and websites are good tools to create awareness.
2. Interest- There are a lot of options out there so how are you going to draw them to your company? You need to hook them right off the bat with creative content and a solving to their problem or show good quality and a good deal. This is a hard but very important step.
3. Consideration- You have caught their attention and now they are considering your company in their options of what to choose. This is the middle of the funnel where customers can get comfortable with you so keep them invested. Interact and give them any feedback or answer any questions that they have.
4. Engagement- The prospect is looking more and more into deciding, possibly with you. They have looked at what you have to offer and maybe have compared it to other companies. Depending on the price and intensity of the product or service, they might have been thinking for a while if they need it or can afford it or want to follow through with it.
5. Closing- The deal is official. They have either made the final purchase or signed a contract. You want them to stay as loyal customers and tell their friends that they like your company and recommend you.

Why?: The Product Life Cycle

What is the Product Life Cycle?
The product life cycle (PLC) is the course of a product’s sales and profits over its lifetime. There are 4 stages to this cycle: 1. Introduction 2. Growth 3. Maturity and 4. Decline. This cycle helps companies determine and foresee where their product will go, and what moment in time improvements and changes need to be made.

Introduction Stage
This is the point when a company introduces a new product to the public. The company determines pricing strategies, whether it wants to use price skimming, penetration pricing, bundle pricing, etc. This is the time the company determines how to advertise, and will spend more money on advertising than it makes on selling the new product. Also, it’s important in this stage to reach out to early adopters or other influencers in the market.

Growth Stage
In the second phase, the company is hopefully seeing an increase in sales and a decrease in manufacturing costs. But, it doesn’t want to get too comfortable. In the growth stage, the company should be looking for ways to innovate and add value to its customers. It may be looking for options to expand its target audience and break into a more massive market. Look at different options of distribution, what is working well, and what could work better.

Maturity Stage
Maturity is when a product has reached a peak in sales and costs of production have dropped. This stage is when the company should make changes to the product so the maturity stage lasts longer and the lifetime of the product is extended. This can be done by launching a new version of the product. Apple is a great example of this. They are always launching a new and improved product to keep their customers interested and satisfied. Evaluate where the company’s prices are sitting and whether there is a need to increase or decrease the price based on cost and current revenue.

Decline Stage
The fourth stage is the time to contemplate whether to let a product fade out or not. The company can choose to invest in more marketing, an added feature, or another product to add to your line. But if it does choose to let a product fade out, it is good to have an exit strategy! The way a product exits the market says a lot about the company and leaves a reputation, so it’s best to do it tastefully.
The product life cycle is important in helping products take off and become successful. Always be ready to change and improve throughout the product lifecycle and this will create a successful product.

McKinsey 7 S Model

Any good business owner knows that there is always room for growth and improvement. But how can you as a business owner see the bigger picture? How can you view your company or team as a whole and recognize the areas that need improving? You need to be able to see how the different aspects of your business work together, and the McKinsey 7 S Model is a great way to do so.

The McKinsey 7 S Model is a tool to help you analyze your business or organization to determine if it is set up to succeed in its current state and then use what you glean from the process to learn and better align your organization to your goals and objectives.

Developed in the 1980’s by Tom Peters and Robert Waterman of McKinsey & Company, this model can be applied to the company as a whole all the way down to a small team within a department.

So, here’s how it works. There are seven elements of this model, divided into two groups, hard and soft. Hard elements are those that can indeed be defined or identified and easily changed or influenced by management. Soft elements are often more difficult to describe and are influenced more by culture. These elements are more important than hard ones if the company or organization wants to be successful.

The seven elements are as follows:

Strategy: A plan created to support and construct improvements and gain superiority over the competition.
Structure: the way an organization or business is organized, including the hierarchy of positions and communications.
Systems: the defined day-to-day procedures that staff carry out to effectively and efficiently do their jobs.
Shared Values: originally called “superordinate goals,” are the core values of the organization that are reflected in the organization’s structure, strategy, and systems.
Style: the style of leadership adopted.
Staff: the employees and their general assignments.
Skills: the actual skills and knowledge of the employees working for the organization.

For an organization to perform to the best of its abilities, these seven elements must work in harmony together. The 7 S Model helps to identify strong and weak points, which allows for growth and improvement. It can help guide organizations in identifying the kinds of questions it needs to be asking and answering for it to know how to best move forward and improve from Point A to Point B.

This model is also ideal to consult whenever an organization is undergoing any kind of change. By checking in and keeping tabs on where the organization stands with each S during the change, you can ensure that things continue to run smoothly and effectively.

I have created a worksheet for you to use to evaluate where you and your business stand and identify what needs improving or tweaking.

After identifying the specifics of each S for your business it is time to evaluate where they each stand in relation to one another. Here are some basic guidelines to help you do so:

You should start with your Shared Values, compare them to the first three (hard) elements. Do they support one another? Are they consistent? If not identify what changes should be implemented.

Then, take a look at the first three elements on their own. Do they support each other?
Now, look at the last four (soft) elements. Do they support the first three? Do they support each other?

In just those three simple steps you will be able to determine the relationships between all seven S’s. By answering the questions within the worksheet, you can find the shortcomings and inconsistencies that are preventing your seven elements from fully connecting to one another and creating a strong organization.

After determining where your organization stands within the 7 S Model, you will next need to determine what you think the optimal organizational design for your business should be. Figure out what your organization should look like to meet this new standard, and then determine a way to achieve it.
Making the necessary changes is a one step at a time process. You will need to make a change or two, give yourself and your organization time to adjust, and then re-analyzed to see if further improvements need to be made. In the end, the goal is to end up with better performance, and a more cohesive organization that supports itself from the inside out.

In short, the simple process behind the 7 S model is as follows:
1 – Identify the areas or seven S’s that are not effectively aligned.
2 – Determine your optimal organization design.
3 – Decide where, what, and how the necessary changes should be made.
4 – Make the necessary changes.
5 – Repeat!

The 7 S Model is indeed a helpful tool in keeping tabs on your business as a whole in a more simplified process. Once you get the ball rolling it is easy to maintain and check back with as you deem necessary. As you continue to use this tool, your business will continue to grow stronger, and your organization will only get better and better.

4 Ways to Strengthen Your Brand with Keller’s Brand Equity Model

Customers create and establish feelings and thoughts regarding your brand with every experience they have with it. These can be negative or positive. Keller’s Brand Equity Model is all about taking control of what those feelings and thoughts are. You need to shape the experiences to create the desired thoughts and feelings about your brand. Controlling these parts of your brand creates strong Brand Equity. Strong Brand Equity will mean more people will buy from you. So here we go, how can you improve your brand?

1. Brand Identity – Who are you?
Identifying who you will help you to stand out for customers to recognize you and be aware of you. But remember, awareness is not always a good thing. You need to make sure the perceptions that people have are the desired ones. This is the important part of establishing who you are and what your brand identity is. So how do you do this? Research your market to understand who your customers are, identify how they decide between your brand and another brand, what decision-making process they go through, and find out how well your brand stands out during this process that they go through.

2. Brand Meaning – What are you?
What does your brand mean and what does it stand for? There are two areas to focus in. Performance and Imagery. How does your product perform? Does it meet your customer’s needs? What are the main features and characteristics? Imagery is thinking about how you meet your customer’s needs on a social and psychological level.

3. Brand Response – What do I think, or feel, about you?
Your customers responses are important for this step. Find out how they are responding. They will respond in two areas: Judgement and Feelings. People are always making judgements in these categories: Quality, Credibility, Consideration, and Superiority. Brands also make people have feelings, both about the brand and about themselves when they interact with the brand. Finding these out can help you to move forward to understand what you can do to improve the positive feelings and judgements that customers are making about your brand. How do you compare to other brands? How can you beat them? Identifying one of the positive feelings your brand is good at and using that to your advantage is key.

4. Brand Resonance – How much of a connection would I like to have with you?
Welcome to the most difficult step. The highest level. Where everyone wants to get to. Your brand resonates with your customers when they feel a deep and psychological bond with your brand. Four things happen when you achieve this. Customers are loyal repeat purchasers, they love your brand and see it as a special purchase, they feel like they are a part of a community with other customers, they are actively engaging with your brand without even purchasing it. How can you do this you ask? Focus on each category one by one and identify what specific things you can do to increase the customers in the category and their strength. Make a list of ACTIONS you can take to help these categories.

So that is how you can strengthen your brand with Keller’s model. Now go out and do it. Because your brand sucks. Especially If you are reading this. It sucks. I’m sorry. Face the facts and now go fix it.

6 Thinking Hats

You are faced with a specific situation, and it is time to make a decision. But how do you know it is the right one? From one perspective, you might choose a particular option, but from another viewpoint, it might be the worst decision to possibly make. Are you traditionally someone that sees all of the positives without recognizing the downfalls? Do you normally lack creativity while solving a problem? Is going with your gut the extent of your decision-making process? Then, the Six Thinking Hats model of decision making is for you.
By “wearing” the Six Thinking Hats, you are forced to see a decision from all angles and aspects. This is a great tool to solve problems because it offers enough viewpoints to allow you to make a smart and calculated decision, while also eliminating the obstacle of having too many viewpoints. Having too many perspectives can bring just as much confusion to the decision making process as too few.
To understand how “wearing” these six hats can guide the course of your decision, you must get to know each one of them. Each hat is characterized by a specific color and represents a specific viewpoint. They are each described below:
When you “wear” the white hat​, you judge based on the data that you have available. If you “put on” this hat, you will take into account any and all numbers, scientific research, and projections. By making a decision with this hat, you are assuming that all calculations are correct and have been interpreted precisely. Others can be easily convinced of the decision this hat makes because it is backed up with numbers.
When you “wear” the ​red hat​, you utilize gut feeling to represent your decision. Hunches, impulses, emotion, and inclinations all come into play with this hat. You can consider both your’s and other’s intuition when coming to a conclusion. These personalized factors make this hat’s decision one of the hardest to persuade others to get on board with.
When you “wear” the ​black hat​, you acknowledge the negative downfalls. This is the hat that gets to play “Negative Nancy” and see every single possible downside and pitfall of a selection. You must try and think of all of the ways that the decision will not work out. This hat is one of the most important ones to “wear” because it is vital to recognize the weak point in a proposal. By recognizing these fragile points, you can make your decision and plan stronger.
When you “wear” the ​yellow hat​, you consider the situation in a positive light. Focus on all of the favorable and positive components in the situation. This hat makes you recognize the strengths in your plan. If concerns arise regarding the outcome of your decision, “put on” this hat to focus on reasons that build confidence.
When you “wear” the ​green hat​, you think creatively. Get those juices flowing, because the most innovative idea may be the best concept anyone has brought up. This is a vital hat because it may bring some of the best insight. This hat’s contribution is rarely responded to with negative feedback because inventive ideas are so individualistic.
When you “wear” the ​blue hat​, you are the control variable of the group. Every great think tank needs a mediator. This person can call on certain hats when contribution is running thin or if a situation needs to be seen from a specific viewpoint to be determined or decided.
These six hats can be “worn” during a decision that you make alone, or in a group style meeting. When “worn” alone, you would put one hat on at a time and take note of the decision and key factors that influenced your decision. When “worn” in a group meeting setting, six individuals would represent each hat and come to a conclusion based upon the perspective of their respective hat. By choosing to use the Six Thinking Hats instead of a single viewpoint decision in a group environment, you can eliminate disputes between individuals that have come to personal decisions based on a single perspective.
Imagine a group of you and your friends are going out for dinner one night. You all are having a hard time agreeing on a place to eat. The following story is a possible conversation that may happen between all the different hats to help you understand the concept.
The ​white hat ​begins the conversation by stating that there are three restaurants within a ten-minute drive including ​Maria’s Place, Toro’s​, and ​Donny’s Diner​. She explains that Maria’s Place​ is an Italian restaurant, ​Toro’s​ sells only pizza, and ​Donny’s Diner ​has a variety of American-styled foods like burgers and chicken.
The ​red hat ​says she’s been wanting to try ​Maria’s Place​ for a long time. She says she heard from a few sources that food from both ​Toro’s​ and ​Donny’s Diner​ was unsatisfying and occasionally made customers sick. She was nervous that the group would get food poisoning or regret spending their money there.

The ​black hat ​states that ​Maria’s Place​ is much more expensive than the other two restaurants. He is unsure whether the cost of the food will be worth the money they would spend.
The ​yellow hat ​reminds the black hat and the rest of the group that​ Maria’s Place, ​while more expensive, has a great atmosphere and a great reputation for food. They have won multiple awards for best Italian in the state. ​Maria’s Place​ also offers a selection of desserts while the other two restaurants don’t.
The ​green hat ​would think outside of the box. They may bring up the idea to cook something at home together rather than going out and eating at a restaurant. They could all go to the grocery store and spend quality time together and make memories cooking while also saving money.
The ​blue hat ​takes the initiative to put the group to a vote. Everybody could choose whether they’d want to go to one of the three restaurants talked about or if they’d rather make a homemade meal. In the end, the majority decided on cooking the homemade meal as the green hat recommended.
After going through the process of listening to the points of view of each of the six hats, you will be more prepared to make an informed and enlightened decision.