Understanding The Sales Funnel in 2016

Mind and MetricsBusiness advice

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When mobile searches surpassed desktop searches in 2014, it signaled a new shift in advertising. Mobile has forever changed the way we live, we consult our phones on impulse at any time. We take immediate action whenever we want to learn, find, do or buy something. Some would argue that the sales funnel is dead because of it, but we find the sales funnel to be very much alive, but now it’s fractured into thousands ‘non-linear’ important decision making moments. Understanding your consumer’s needs in the moment that they interact with your brand is crucial.

marketing-funnel-oldUnlike yesteryear, today’s funnel is mostly compromised of marketing efforts and only a few sales efforts. Customers are nearly 80% of the way to a buying decision before they reach out to the sales person in your company. That’s because mobile has allowed consumers to research the solution to their problem through self-initiated, small bursts of digital activity throughout the sales process and beyond as well. This makes a complete marketing strategy across all channels more important than ever before.

Understanding your customer’s intent and position in the old sales funnel can help you craft the appropriate message and help you create compelling calls to actions so that they finish their journey with you and not your competitor.

Customer Intent vs Target Demographics

Have you noticed we haven’t mentioned anything about targeting demographics? That’s because research shows that marketers who try to reach their audience solely on demographics risk missing more than 70% of shoppers.

For example, according to research, 40% of baby product purchasers live in households without children.1  This is also true for 52% of baby product influencers. These people could be grandparents and cousins, friends, and co-workers. And search is their #1 way of finding out about these products.2

As you can see, if you want to reach this valuable audience, demographics alone won’t cut it.

Intent beats identity. Immediacy trumps loyalty.

When someone has a want or need, they turn to their smartphone for help. When a need arises, people turn to search and YouTube to look for answers, discover new things, and make decisions. These intent-filled moments are the best opportunity brands have to connect with people at the exact moment they are looking for something.

Since we can take action on any need or curiosity at any time, the consumer decision journey has been fractured into hundreds of tiny ‘non-linear’ decision-making moments at every stage of the “sales funnel”.

Understanding consumer intent and meeting their needs in the moment are the keys to winning more hearts, minds, and dollars.

1 out of 3 smartphone users has purchased from a company or a brand other than the one they intended too because of information provided in the time that they needed it.

Ok, you’re ready to launch your new company, you’re committed to meeting your consumers needs across all channels. But where do you start, since there are now millions of potential moments to consider?

A good guiding principle is:

Be there across all stages of the consumer journey, not just when someone is ready to buy. To accomplish this, consider four key moment types that represent the full range of user needs as they travel along your sales funnel.

I-Want-to-Know Moments

Someone is exploring or researching, but not yet in purchase mode. They want useful information and maybe even inspiration, not the hard sell.  This is where your brand can start to build affinity with consumers.

Consumers at this stage gravitate toward brands with snackable, educational content—not brands giving the hard sell.  And when a brand’s mobile site or app makes it easy for a smartphone user to find answers, 69% of those users are more likely to actually buy from them.

Helping consumers find answers to their questions can make or break a sale and influence their perception of your brand not only in the moment, but in the future as well.

I-Want-To-Know-Moments also happen after the sale. Answering consumer questions in their moments after the sale, allows you to maintain relationships, build authority and start building the journey for the consumer to be a brand advocate.

How to get ready for I-Want-To-Know-Moments:
  • What do consumers want to learn about your category, products, or services?
  • Do you have snackable content on mobile that answers their questions?

I-Want-to-Go Moments

In the case of I-want-to-go moments, consumers are looking for a connection to the physical world.

61% of smartphone users say they’re more likely to buy from companies whose mobile sites or apps customize information to their location.

That could mean, for example, showing a nearby store where a particular searched-for product is in stock.

Give them what they want by using location signals to highlight relevant locations, store inventory and driving directions in your ads and mobile site, and also within your app content.

Proximity matters to these mobile consumers, and winning the I-want-to-go moments drives real results for both your brand and bottom line.

How to get ready for I-Want-To-Go-Moments:

  • Do consumers want to visit your business?
  • Are you helping them find nearby locations and highlighting in-stock inventory on your mobile site/app and in mobile search results?

I-Want-to-Do Moments

These may come before or after the purchase. Either way, these are “how to” moments when people want help with getting things done or trying something new. Being there with the right content is key.

This type of micro-moment is all about the “how-to.” It’s the “I-need-to-fix-a-leaky-pipe” moment or the “I-want-to- try-a-new-hairstyle” moment. Consumers are looking for immediate help with getting something done or trying something new in these I-want-to-do moments.

This is where video content can play a huge role, since it allows consumers to learn at their own pace, often with step-by-step instructions.

And while the mobile screen for video viewing may be small, the connection brands can create is significant: smartphone video viewers are nearly 2X as likely as TV viewers to feel a sense of personal connection to brands that show video content or ads on their devices

How to get ready for I-Want-To-Do-Moments:
  • What are consumers doing with your product or service (for example, baking cookies, buying a home, recovering from an injury)?
  • Do you have how-to video content to support their efforts?

I-Want-to-Buy Moments

These are huge, of course. Someone is ready to make a purchase and may need help deciding what or how to buy. You can’t assume they’ll seek you out; you have to be there with the right information to seal the deal.

“I need to buy cough syrup for my 5-year-old.” “I want the same shade of lipstick I got last time.” Thanks to mobile, I-want-to-buy moments can happen anytime and anywhere: in the makeup aisle, in the kitchen, and on the street. That means how a consumer wants to buy from you will vary depending on their context and intent.

Clues like location, time, and device will help you be useful in the moment and give consumers the information they need to make the purchase. Then it’s about making it seamless and easy to complete the sale.

Your customer should be empowered to purchase in whatever way suits their needs, whether in-store,
on mobile, via call center or across devices.How to get ready for I-Want-To-Buy-Moments:

  • Where are consumers buying your product?
  • How can you support consumers who are buying from you in-store or while on the go?
  • Are you empowering consumers to check out in whatever way suits their need?


Micro-Moment Sales Funnel 2016

  1. Mobile Purchasers & Influencers Report. Google / Ipsos MediaCT, Ipsos Online Omnibus, August 2015, N=5025 Online smartphone users 18+, baby product purchasers in past 6 months
  2. Mobile Purchasers & Influencers Report. Google / Ipsos MediaCT, Ipsos Online Omnibus, August 2015, N=5025 Online smartphone users 18+, baby product influencers in past 6 months