BY BILL FAETH
You’re probably wondering, what the heck is a SMarketing funnel? Let me explain.
The words “sales” and “marketing” have been spoken in tandem for years. Ten years ago, a young upstart with a great degree would probably have accepted an entry-level position and proudly proclaimed to family members that she had secured a job in “sales and marketing.” The irony is, however, that sales and marketing have historically been at each other’s throats. Marketing made promises that sales couldn’t fulfill, and sales accused marketing of costing more money than they made for the company. According to studies, 87 percent of the words sales and marketing professionals use to describe each other are derogatory. Why, then, have these two words been so tightly bound? Simple. Even those on the outside looking in knew sales and marketing were destined to be one entity.
And now, with the advent of SMarketing, a term credited to HubSpot executive, Dan Tyre, the two are together at last! The two schools of thought now work as one, eliminating the factors of each that annoyed the other. Instead of casting the marketing net and hoping sales could turn one of those caught into revenue, potential customers are directed through the SMarketing funnel.
To understand how the SMarketing funnel can fulfill both the sales and marketing requirements for your chauffeured ground transportation company, you must first understand how it works. Picture a funnel—any one will do—and then imagine all the consumers in the world at the top of that funnel. This is your average website visitor, the person who somehow found his or her way to your limousine service, whether through a Google search, clicking a link on social media, or a recommendation from a friend. The next stage is your Top of the Funnel, or ToFu, which comprises visitors who have some semblance of interest in luxury car service. As the funnel in your imagination gets smaller, you’ll reach the Middle of the Funnel, or MoFu. Consumers in your MoFu are those who are interested enough in your company to provide contact information. Finally, there’s the Bottom of the Funnel, or BoFu. These consumers require highly specialized information, because they’ve made it through the entire funnel and are only a step away from making a reservation.
The beauty of this new model is found in various aspects. First, your marketing content is doing double-duty to pull in potential customers. That content should cover several different styles and include a wide range of information. By planning for each section of your funnel, marketing does the selling for you. Your well designed website keeps first-time visitors around. Your blogs, white papers, checklists, and short videos keep regular visitors informed and position you as an expert in the chauffeured transportation industry. Longer videos, case studies, newsletters, and eBooks separate the truly interested from the looky-loos. Finally, discounts, special offers, and demonstrations make that final conversion from lead to buyer. Of course, without a plan in place to convert qualified leads, your marketing is for naught.
Another beautiful side effect of your new SMarketing funnel is that it never interrupts your potential buyers during dinner with a phone call. Their favorite television shows are never put on hold while your funnel sells to the masses. Your potential clients come to you when they need something. They seek out only the information they need to make a decision about luxury car service. Isn’t it great to have marketing that doesn’t annoy people?
Finally, inbound leads from your SMarketing funnel cost 61 percent less than outbound, according to inbound marketing giant HubSpot. There’s really nothing more to say when faced with that statistic. If your sales and marketing teams are still chugging along, interrupting potential buyers, and lobbing insults at each other, it’s time to bring the two together in harmony. The question, instead, shouldn’t be “What is a SMarketing funnel?” but “How fast can my business get one?” [CD0713]
Bill Faeth is the founder and president of Inbound Marketing Agents in Nashville. He can be reached at email@example.com.