What Are Your Social Sales Funnels?

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I’ve been re-reading this post over and over the last week. It’s a guest post by David Risley on the ProBlogger site, in which he says quite brilliantly:

“I’ve been quite direct about the fact that blogs are not businesses. I believe that so many bloggers get so hung up on their medium that they haven’t stepped back to look at the big picture. A blog is a promotional medium and a communications platform. And in order to really monetize a blog, you have to ask the question: To what end?”

This really got me thinking – What is my product? What is my end?

During a Skype call with my friend Robin Dickinson, Robin explained that he has two ends when it comes to business relationships: Sales Teams and Sales Leads.

Sales Leads are the people that will buy his product (premium business development consulting), and Sales Teams are the people that may not be able to buy his product, but will tell people about it. Both of these actually cross over – both sell his products on – so they are actually not just ends, they are funnels.

What I jotted down after our conversation is actually three funnels that I think I have, that send people towards my products.

My Funnels

Sales Seeds are those that I scatter my message to (remember that spreadability is like scattering seeds?), and are unlikely to go for any of my paid products. What they consume are my blog posts, my Twitter stream, my shared items – all digital social data. I don’t expect to get sales from them, but I do expect to get awareness from them as they share my content. That’s the currency I have with them: sharing.

Sales Teams are those who sneeze my message to others. They verbally tell others about me – and even possibly their clients. Whilst they probably won’t buy my high end products, they will certainly purchase my mid-range products – namely Like Minds Conference and Immersive tickets.

But more importantly, they are my sales team, and as their sales manager, I need to equip them with the tools to sell. This is where my blog, Twitter stream and shared items come back in. But also, my sales team get my time for free. These are the ones who I have Skype calls with. This is the largest benefit for me, and also for them, because what flows from this is mutual promotion. They are on my sales team, and I am on their sales team. So the currency I have with them is promoting.

Sales Leads are those who buy my high end consulting. As a premium priced consultant I have to deliver premium value consulting, so naturally I don’t have many sales leads. They don’t number more than 10 at once. The currency I have with them is buying.

Where My Funnels Flow To

These three funnels should flow to the product, and that’s where I’m a little stuck. In a video following his blog post, David says that “blogging is not a product, because no one is going to pay you to blog.”

David then says you should write ebooks and have inner circle content and that type of thing, and perhaps I should listen to him, but I know that my greater value (my premium value) is not in ebooks but it’s in offline engagement: my consulting and my events. My blog is the third product, where I have writing, but I chose to make it free.

That’s how I see it for now. What about you? What are you funnels? What is your product?

Photo courtesy of Scott Ableman

Archived Comments

  • http://radsmarts.com Robin Dickinson

    Nice build on our conversation, Scott.

    Consistent with my discipline of maintaining a diamond-tip focus in business development, I choose to channel my resources into finding and equipping the ‘Sales Team’. This is where the giant online opportunity is. This is the ‘value-based’ strategy we have discussed numerous times.

    ‘Sales Seeds’ is much more of a volume-based strategy – something that I choose to say “No” to. Sure, it will happen along the way, but it can’t be allowed to distract form the core play.

    ‘Sales Leads’ come from referral, so the key there is to deliver value way beyond the market average. This is more about the ‘offline’ delivery of products/services to paying clients.

    Best, Robin

    :)

  • / Scott Gould

    Hey Robin

    There certainly is more in there. I’ve got a little diagram in my mind of how this can work as well – so for sure, we can get more out of this and talk it through more.

    I think my first stop is to actual get this basic setup working!

    I would ask some leading questions to draw more out of you here – but I still need to do what I’ve already learnt before moving on to more!

    Scott

  • http://twitter.com/so_you_know Annie Syed

    scott–this is great—curious what are your thoughts on someone who just has stories to share via the medium of a blog? like i am not offering any consulting (yet)–but yaaay me–i am incorporating my on project management company (i was going to call myself a “dot connector” but consensus remains that is not ‘professional’ enough–boooo! lol), so how do you think this would be applicable to the likes of someone like me, a newbie blogger, recently out of the writer’s closet, and wearing multiple hats, not just that of a “writer”.

    would really appreciate your feedback.

    gratitude,
    ~annie

  • http://twitter.com/so_you_know Annie Syed

    yes, diagram please!

  • / Scott Gould

    lol – your wish is my command!

  • / Scott Gould

    Hey Annie

    I’ve got plenty of time for you.

    Well the first thing is – what is your offering? You need to know this with crystal clarity. No waffle, no 100 possibilities – what is the distinct, clear, diamond focussed thing that YOU and YOU ALONE do?

    Once you’ve got that together, come back, and we’ll talk some more

    :-)

    Best, Scott

  • http://twitter.com/so_you_know Annie Syed

    Will DM you. thanks so much. you are GREAT at ‘this’…but ‘this’ i mean–just all of it.

  • / Scott Gould

    :D

  • http://www.theleadershipcoach.com Paul Andrew

    Hey Scott,

    Great, thought provoking article. I have a similar outlook on why I engage with social media

  • sytaylor

    Yeah I could do with understanding this too. It’s exactly where I am a the business idea.

    All likelihood is that it will be content / video based and as socially spreadable as possible. There are some great examples of how to monetise if you are telling a story, but what are the practicalities?

  • / Scott Gould

    I’m still working on the practicalities TBH – will let you know when I have something!

  • http://ivanhernandezonline.wordpress.com/ Ivan Hernandez

    Remarkable post Scott! It really got me thinking on the effectiveness of my strategy using social media as a medium to share and connect with great people out there, thinking that this may lead to some business development opportunities but not really working on it. Your post shows a clear approach towards including the commercial mindset (a concept that Robin describes fantastically in all his videos and posts) while not turning into a “sales-focused-pushy-wanna-be-super-rich-blogger”

    :)

    I am glad you are in touch with Robin (he is not only an incredibly kind guy but a true expert on business development). The combination of both of you clearly brings remarkable stuff to the table. Thanks guys!

  • / Scott Gould

    Thanks Ivan – it’s certainly useful – I try to keep in front of me everyday.

    And yes – Robin’s influence is very strong here! We’re doing some great work together – it’s awesome to see what we can all do when we collaborate

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