Little nightly thoughts
by Business Exploration

Dear Fellow Innovator,

There is a striking resemblance between a product or service B2B sales and On-line B2C sales. In both cases the Customer knows to have a problem and is looking for a solution. The sales carousel is a framework of activities that we can put in place to transform a potential customer into a Customer signing an order.

The sales carousel is made of 3 main streams,converging in an engagement arena, where the customer is made an offer.

Building it properly will increase our conversion rate. Here how it works:


The sales carousel


The sales carousel focus our attention in:

the three Arenas of the sales funnel:

  1. The Traffic Arena
    creating a stream of prospects
  2. The Engagement Arena
    meeting your prospects
  3. The Conversion Arena
    making your offer accepted

to design a funnel process that will go from the first point of contact to one of:

the 4 landing offers:

  1. NO offer
    ( when prospect is not converted at all)
  2. Last offer
    ( when prospect leaves you at least an explanation )
  3. Soft offer
    ( when prospect accepts to keep in touch )
  4. Hard offer
    ( when prospect buys from you and become customer)

Along the direction of:

the 3 main sales funnels

  1. The directories
    ( listing of solutions )
  2. The advisors
    ( comparisons of solutions )
  3. The referrals
    ( endorsement of solutions )

The Traffic Arena:


The first scope of any sales initiative is to reach out as many customer is possible. As main advertising professionals say: coverage is more important than frequency. But "who" are you really trying to reach out? Internet based businesses divide the prospect customers into 3 categories:

Prospect customers:

  1. Browsers
    want to made up their mind and are looking for information
  2. Shoppers
    they know the solutions and want to compare – find out the best
  3. Buyers
    they know what they want and look for the best deal.

Each prospect category has therefore its trigger: an information hook that respond to a Pain. To know what the pain is, you can intercept Prospects conversations at Expo, look for key conference topics, ask and even bring it to the prospect attention.
After the customer has been activated by an external challenge or an internal organizational contradiction ( misalignement between desiderata and reality ), he will look for specific types of information that triggers its advancement into the sales funnel:

Prospect’s triggers:

  1. Browser look for DATA
  2. Shoppers look for DELTAS (or differences)
  3. Buyers look for DEALS
    (prices, or shopping convenience, or delivery)

Every one of us would love to deal just with buyers, people that come to us already sold. But unfortunately is not like that: most of the prospects need to get to know that there is a specific solution for their problem ( someone does not even know to have problem, by the way…) and those that have identified a potential category for solutions, need to be convinced of our product superiority.
We need to offer them a point of contact that is relevant to their need. The points of contact can be summarized for each prospect category as follows:

Type of points of contacts:

  1. Browsers: offer them information
    Live information – like blogs or forums
    Systemic information – like editorials ( books, articles) or courses, lessons
  2. Shoppers: offer them comparison of products:
    Claims – like any type of advertising, whose job is to proof superiority
    Tests – like third party reviews, laboratory tests and comparisons
  3. Buyers: offer them a market place.
    Markets – like any physical or virtual place where they know they can buy
    Agents – like any person that can refer your solution and facilitate the transaction, for free (referrals) or at a cost ( sales agencies )

Prospects reach out the relevant trigger following precise

Traffic directions:

  1. Browser get to DATA through LISTS:
    Google ( after all: the best directory so far)
    Catalogues
    Yellow pages and other directories
  2. Shoppers get to DELTAS through ADVISORS:
    Advertising: Pay Per Click, but also any other communication media
    Consulting: they may need someone explaining them the differences
    Rating agencies: from Standard & Poor’s, to your pal
  3. Buyers get to DEALS through NETWORK
    Can be our own personal network
    Referred by Peer
    and of partners of partners ( up to the 3rd degree: the one that allows at least one person to be known by both the others)

Is up to us to assure that prospects’ traffic along each direction is maximized. The more prospect we are able to capture, the greatest the chances of business. We need to be present on the LISTS, be recognized by ADVISORS and on the mouth of our NETWORK peers. And for each type of prospect we must be able to offer what she wants: whether great DATA, clear advantages ( or DELTAS), or great DEALS.
But the ultimate scope of the TRAFFIC ARENA is to convey the prospect to the engagement arena.

The Engagement Arena


In internet you may call it “landing page”, in daily life the landing page can be a corner, a SHOP, an office reception, or your smiling face. The engagement arena is the moment when you make your first impression, declaring the benefit you can offer to your Customer. And since everyone is emotional, keep in mind that people tend to buy based on how they anticipate feeling as a result of owning and enjoying a particular product or service.
There are two type of:

Benefits you can offer

  1. You can offer to ELIMINATE a problem.
  2. You can offer to ACHIEVE a result.

Your first impression should be able to address the pain, or feeling, of your customer, caused by the problem he needs to eliminate. Or it should be able to address the desired outcomes, and therefore the state of mind that reaching the results can produce. Making a good first impression is important, wherever you meet the Customer, if you want to engage him, and transfer him to the Conversion arena.

The Conversion arena


If you have been able to capture Customer attention, there are only 4 options you can offer to him:

The 4 offers:

  1. No offer:,
    when customer leaves you with nothing in the hand ,
  2. Last offer:,
    when you can ask him to leave at least her phone number, e-mail or business card, or as a minimum an explanation why you have not been able to satisfy her needs.
  3. Soft offer:,
    when you are able to convince your customer to receive a small gift, in exchange of the permission to record his contacts and get back to him with better offering in the future,
  4. Hard offer:,
    when you can sign a deal with your customer, and hopefully deliver the solution to his problems.

Each of these offers aims to a serie of leveled goals:

  1. Learning,
    A/B testing
  2. Teasing,
    permission for planned, automated, random emails
  3. Meeting,
    In person, in a gathering, occasionally
  4. Solving,
    Selling a product or service,

Everything in your Conversion Arena should be made to funnel the Customer to one of the last 3 type of options: LAST, SOFT, HARD. The first option: leaving without any explanation, is a defeat. We should investigate (with an A/B testing?).
Is an occasion for learning from our own mistakes.


To talk about this, contact me at the numbers below.
Flavio

Flavio Tosi is an expert in designing marketing plans targeting the Oil & Gas, Energy and Aerospace industries. His ideas about innovation go to market have been featured on "Impiantistica Italiana" -the ANIMP official organ - and adopted by SMBs, Startups and Spin-offs in Italy, Austria, France and U.A.E.

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