When you think of automating your sales process what probably comes to mind is sales funnels. But just what is a sales funnel and why do you need to automate it?
Let’s start with the definition of a sales funnel.
Quite simply a sales funnel is the “process” of leading unqualified prospects to become buyers, weeding out the tire kickers along the way.
You want the sales process to be smooth & standardized and your sales funnel is what makes this a reality. Nearly every aspect of your sales funnel can be automated so that all you need to do is set it up and drive traffic to it. That’s the beauty. Put in the necessary work now upfront to be able to put sales on autopilot for the foreseeable future.
So, let’s break down the different components that make up your funnel and process that you can automate.
The Squeeze Page/Opt-in
The first part of your funnel and thus process is the squeeze page. You will also hear a squeeze page referred to as an opt-in page because people opt-in for your offer. Squeeze pages are often used as the entry point to your sales funnel(s). If you don’t have a full-fledged website, I highly recommend at least setting up a squeeze page to capture emails and leads until you get a full website.
*Note – Never forgo getting a website built in hopes of just having a squeeze page only or using just Facebook. Why? Because you want to own your web real-estate for one and for two you want to offer more information as your business grows; like blogging, articles, services and products pages, testimonials, etc. All of which cannot be captured without being overwhelming on one page or a squeeze page.*
The way these pages work is to initially qualify prospects by offering an opt-in form. The opt-in form is on the page that urges your prospects to sign up for your freebie or other incentive. This entire process can be easily automated so that prospects can enter your sales funnel at any time, 24/7.
Even while on vacation!
You can increase efficiency by adding pop-ups for your offer to your regular website and also an exit pop-up for those who leave your website or leave the squeeze page without signing up.
Once a prospect signs up, they’re redirected to a download page where they can get your freebie or incentive. This could be any type of item, such as an information product, a video or a coupon, but the entire process of downloading it can be automated. You don’t need to manually deliver the product to them.
You can use several tools for landing pages. A few to consider would be:
This is not an exhaustive list but a good start in finding a tool for squeeze pages.
Once the prospect has signed up for your offering and is on your email list, you can start marketing to them through their email. This is done through an automated software tool called an autoresponder. An autoresponder is essential for email marketing.
Through your autoresponder you can schedule automated messages that give your subscribers content and various back-end offers that help you qualify them even further. We will dive into email marketing and autoresponders in a future blog post.
The Sales Process
Now we are getting down to the nitty gritty. It’s essential for every coaching and consulting business to automate its sales process. You do not have the time to process each purchase manually. It’s impossible for your business to scale when sales pick up if you are processing sales manually. Doing so can lead to complaints and chargebacks.
Not good business!
One area of automating your sales process is the shopping cart. Automated shopping carts allow customers to shop and buy your products without any involvement from you.
Before you jump the gun and get a shopping cart, you need to figure out if that is what your business needs at this time or not. The questions to ask:
- Is this a one-off product that I’m offering?
- Do I plan on offering many digital or physical products?
- Do I just need something to offer clients a way to pay for my coaching or consulting services?
By answering these questions you will be able to choose the right tool of either a full on shopping cart or a service that just offers a way to make payment buttons that can be placed on your website or used standalone.
What Not to Automate In Your Sales Process: Customer Service
One area of your business that should never be automated is customer service. You can lead prospects through your sales funnel and allow them to buy from you completely on autopilot. But when there’s a question, problem or concern, you need to have a real person there to answer them. When you are just starting out you may be able to handle customer service directly, but as your business begins to grow you will need to use the help of software and/or other services to provide customer service for your business. Software tools, such as Zendesk, can be manned by REAL people. There are several companies out there that you can delegate your customer service operations to.
The point is to make sure that you just don’t set up some canned response and not have a real live person that your clients and customers can get in touch with.
No matter how big your business grows NEVER lose the personal touch.