We would like to get advice and guidance for setting up a robust sales plan, pipeline, and strategy for reaching out aggressively to travel agencies all over the world. We need help on how to set up our pipepine, the funnel, and how to avoid mistakes as we execute.
Hello! This is a great question. I have been helping startups and small business owners with their funnels for quite some time now. My name is Humberto Valle, I'm an MBA strategist with Unthink and actually recently completed another Sales Funnel Marketing Guide, you can find it here: http://bit.ly/2j4XPid
With that said, I will be as helpful as possible to you in this response.
1) Define Your Brand
What makes you remarkable?
The first step toward answering this question is conducting a self-audit to identify your purpose, strengths, values and passion. In a fiercely competitive cleaning maid service environment, it’s essential to crystallize your competitive advantage. Some cleaning professionals differentiate themselves through their individual achievements (e.g., well-known clients, endorsements) while others boast added value (e.g., JD, MBA, Successful exits, number of employees, etc.).
- Understand Your Audience
Define your target audience — and arm yourself with intelligence about what drives them to take action. Determine who you’re talking to: consider age, gender, personality, and profession. Then, identify your clients’ pain points: how can you solve their needs better than your competitors? What is their preferred channel of communication? Answering each of these questions thoroughly is imperative. Just like when networking, building rapport is what makes a brand good.
- Know Your Competition
With rising confidence in the real estate market, there are many new cleaning companies popping up every day - which means more and more competition. In order to stand out, gather intelligence on who you’re up against and go for an opposite plethora of efforts and experiences that will help you build a different brand from the rest. Then, be better than them. One key question to answer in this process: what niches within my city and industry are not being exploited by the largest cleaning companies? Once you figure it out, you’re ready to put your stake in the ground - copy their efforts for managerial to get started, promote where they are and they are aren't. Subscribe to our newsletter and I will follow up later with ways on doing this.
2) Live Where Your Customers Live (not - literally)
In order to get customers’ attention, you have to live where your customers live. And today more than ever before, where customers live is on social media. But, if you want to multiply your success opportunity, you must be where your competitors aren't. That isn't social media, per se.
You can choose to avoid Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube on purpose, assume they don't exist and use that are a rule of thumb forcing you to find alternate platforms that would be potentially favored by your prospect clients but not used by competitors to reach them. Create beautiful sales funnel marketing campaigns that consider the acquisition as more than cookie cutter reach.
Lead Generation Is About Anticipating A Buyer's Needs:
When you create a funnel, as you are sketching it out you should aim to address each phase of their buyer journey from awareness, consideration and decision because chances are your audience will be at various interest levels when they first encounter your ad/service.
My first approach would be optimizing the website for SEO, making sure all pieces are coherent across all platforms, then address occasionally a major competitor and its key differences. Using linkedin and google ads I would generate awareness and traffic to the site to kickstart Google Analytics for retargeting purposes, then follow them through other platforms via ads offering stories, case studies, guides, best practices, and data they can use with their own clients in exchange for lead information, then nurture them through email marketing. If all this is set up on a platform like Hubspot, you could essentially invest the time upfront and then let it run on auto-pilot.
To learn more you can read more about lead generation on my blog post: http://blog.unthink.me/lead-generation-best-practices-for-top-of-the-sales-funnel-marketing
It sounds like a terrific and fun business opportunity. I have been a Sales VP 9 times for different startups and scaleups. I have also been a CMO for two companies. I have seen the ins and outs of building a sales funnel having done it from scratch many times. First, I would recommend that you make sure that you have identified a solid target market. How do you know travel agencies are your core customer? Who is your end user and where do they go to find offerings like yours? How do you differentiate your offering so you are a clear choice or are you competing on price? Have you explored all the possibilities and weighed them in terms of cost, reach, fit, etc. (Life is too short to create and sell a product/service that no one wants.) If you have then I recommend that you build a sales playbook. There are many approaches out there. I have used the Jack Daly model with a couple of clients as it is simple and walks you through the basics. I have a basic version of it on my site - #17 in Business Resources - https://catalystgrowthadvisors.com/catalyst-growth-advisors/resources/
From there, you can incorporate the appropriate stages into your sales tracking software. After that, you should begin to sell, learn and modify the playbook as you learn more. Hold your team accountable to the process that you continue to refine or you will have everyone doing whatever they want with varying degrees of success and failure. There may be more that one best way to sell and market your product but there are not hundreds. If you do not hold your reps accountable they will each come up with their own way.
Your marketing software is going to be key. Your marketing automation and sales pipeline should be integrated seemlessly. A consistent and persistent social media saturation is a must, with lots of content that gives your tour exposure. You will need to always lead to a landing page, not your website, but a landing page thats sole purpose is to capture someone email address. You want your social presence and ad spend to do nothing but capture the email addresses. This email address will then move into your sales pipeline to nurture to become one of your tour companies raving fans. As you nurture these leads to a sale you might consider setting up a affiliate program offering to travel bloggers.
Every business needs these systems:
1. Lead generation
If it's missing one or more, it won't make money. A fourth system, for Fulfillment, is also a darn good idea.
Many tools are sold as a "business in a box" or a complete solution when in actual fact they are a small piece of just one of these systems. For example, whiteboard explainer videos were all the rage awhile back. People jumped on board because they were told the videos would make sales brainlessly easy. Ha ha, the joke's on them and the only people who made money were the software creators.
Where's the traffic in that situation (leads system)?
Maybe a little qualification in the video, if it's written correctly.
Maybe a little closing (conversion to sale, moving the lead to become a buyer) if the copy is good and the offer is a match to the viewer.
But as a "business in a box"? A complete system? Seriously flawed. Many pieces missing.
You have an idea of your target market. How will you attract them? How will you capture those leads, then nurture them? And after that, what offer will you present them with?
These are the nature of all those mistakes you want to avoid. No one is going to give you this expertise for free. It's earned by the school of hard knocks--they sure didn't teach it to me 20+ years ago in college--and it comes at a price.