HOW TO CREATE AN EXPERIENCE FUNNEL

Most companies have a marketing funnel that focuses on attracting, engaging, and converting prospects. And of course, the business measures the investment it makes in various marketing channels.
It’s essential that a business understand the performance of various channels through each stage of the funnel. A channel’s performance should not just be measured by how well it does at attracting prospects, but how well it does through each stage to conversion. In other words, if conferences produce the most number of leads, but horrible conversion and research content produces a lower number of leads but the most number of conversions then it becomes much clearer where to invest.

Additionally, most companies have a sales funnel that the marketing funnel empties into. Prospects move through stages in a sales funnel by clearing well defined hurdles. It’s in the sales funnel where the business measures the effectiveness of their sales process. At its simplest it’s a list of all the opportunities the sales team is working on closing and should include the value of the potential deal, labeled with a stage indicating its likelihood of closing and what the next steps the sales rep plans on taking.

 

All opportunities get pushed out of the funnel as either won or lost. The won deals empty into a bucket that is labeled clients. The lost deals need to go back to the top of the marketing funnel with targeted campaigns completely dependent on the reason the deal was lost.

The newly won client has an account opened so they can purchase and are onboarded in some fashion. Here’s the problem, they shouldn’t empty into a bucket, they should empty into another funnel. The experience funnel.

Most organizations spend an incredible amount of money acquiring clients but far less on retention and advocate creation. That’s where the experience funnel comes in.

A great experience funnel consists of three key stages:

Educate

There’s two key parts when it comes to educating your clients. The majority of us have buyers remorse upon committing large sums of money to a service, product, or contract. It’s essential to eliminate that on day one. People need to be reminded why they bought and it has to centre around the pain you are removing and the value you are creating. You need a documented communication plan on how you do this.

Secondly, your job is to educate a new client on how you work, how your organization operates, and how to get the most out of your product. Part of this is going through a slimmed down version of your sales discovery. I believe the secret ingredient for this step is a great deal of confidence, not unlike what your sales team may have done if they used the challenger sales methodology. You are the expert and the client may need to change how they operate in order to maximize the value you can provide.

The educate stage, depending on your product or service, could be from one week to three months. It’s essential that it is well documented so every client facing employee executes it in the exact same manner.


Delight

Now that you have your client drinking the Kool-aid and getting value from your product, let them know how much you appreciate them. This stage too, should be documented to ensure consistent execution. Map out a year of delight and leverage a CRM so it is executed consistently. For example:

Day 30 – A hand written card from the founder welcoming them. In order to get the biggest bang for your buck these should be personalized with something specific about this client and their company. The extra time lays the groundwork for the client becoming an advocate.

Day 60 – A box of cookies (works well for individuals, teams, or offices). There’s a number of services that make this easy to execute nationally.

Day 90 – Lunch of their choice, delivered to their office.

Day 180 – A book with a handwritten note inside saying, “happy half year anniversary”.

Instead of including a holiday card, consider adding in a Valentine’s Day card or send candy on Halloween.

These are just examples. You need to create a multi-touchpoint plan that has impact, aligns with your company’s brand, and lets your clients know you really appreciate them. Really work hard to think differently with your delight campaign, you want to show up when no one else shows up.

Inspire

You can break Inspire into three sub-parts. First, business review. Second, renewal, up-sell, and cross sell. Third, advocacy.

By day 270 you should have a ton of data to share with your client with the intention of inspiring them, helping them clearly see the difference your company, your product, your service has made to their business or life. This will vary wildly by type of business and business model but you should be able to put together a repeatable process that pulls key points of data for a day 270 review of the time you’ve now spent together.

The second stage of Inspire, now that you’ve laid out the impact you had, is renewal, or, depending on your business model it might be focused on upsell.
When you have a satisfied client on your hands, there’s no better time to turn them into an advocate for your company. More than just acting as a reference for your sales team, imagine if they proactively found prospects for you through an advocacy program. In the past, this has been called referrals, but today the better term is advocacy. There are many ways to execute an advocacy program, but that’s a whole other post in and of itself – and is not what this post is about. This post is about ensuring you don’t drop the investment you’ve made in a prospect once that prospect becomes a client.