A majority of small businesses will have a selling method in place to close deals with one goal in mind “Make money”.

To achieve this, businesses need to build a sales pipeline. It doesn’t matter whom you sell to, or the size of your business. Building a sales pipeline helps you better predict upcoming sales, and create rich opportunities for potential customers from prospect to closing.

The sales pipeline process is the same for everyone and works the same for sales teams sitting in big corporations and for small business owners who want to sell more.

In this article, we have provided an overview of what a typical sales pipeline formula looks like, and how you can build one for your business using messenger marketing.

  1. Create new leads.

The first step of your sales pipeline is a simple one and that is to identify new leads for your business. Generally, there are several ways of finding these prospects that include:

  •  Relying on social media posts
  • In-person networking
  • cold outreaching to bring in new business leads

However, with the rise of messenger marketing, conversational selling is quickly becoming the ideal choice for discovering and connecting with target audiences. Messenger is a vital communication channel because it’s where everyone interacts these days. More than a billion people use FB Messenger — that means your prospects are probably using it too.

Take a look at the examples below:

These companies have used chatbots to inform and encourage audiences to enter giveaways, which resulted in high-quality leads and more sales. Users could click through “Apply Now” and end up in a Messenger flow where the engagement will  continue.

2. Engage with them.

Once you finalise some leads, you can then offer them something fun and exciting so they stick around. With Messenger, there are a lot of ways to create stimulating conversation. For example:

  • Quizzes
  • Games
  • Videos

Implementing these aspects will draw prospects deeper into your funnel and toward the next action.

Starting with a quiz means, you get to learn about new subscribers so that you can tailor content and offers and people like to talk and learn about themselves, so they are more willing to engage. It’s a win-win.

Moreover, if you start with a question or quiz that weed out the right leads, you start on the right foot with them. It can help move them to the next desired action, like offering you a phone number or email, redeeming a coupon, booking an appointment, or watching a video. Now that they’re more comfortable with you, they’re more likely to click and engage with what you send.

3. Qualify leads.

Qualifying leads is really valuable. The goal is to identify who is ready to buy, and who needs more nurturing. If someone clicks a button or downloads an eBook or coupon, you can assign them a point. It’s up to you to decide which actions mean someone is more likely to buy versus which doesn’t.

Look at these three characteristics to help you figure out a scoring system:

  1. Determine the common threads between leads that became customers.
  2. Identify characteristics of leads who didn’t become customers.
  3. Decide which characteristics should be weighed heavy based on how they indicate someone will buy.

If lead scoring sounds like too much of a challenge, try using live chat. Jump in at the end of a sequence and see if users have any questions you can answer to help close the sale.

4. The sales meeting.

Considering some of your leads will be ready to chat right away, it’s natural for them to expect a face-to-face meeting or trial of your product, that’s the original sales pipeline formula. But thanks to Messenger, there’s no need to meet in person anymore. Everything can happen right in your leads’ chat windows.

There are two ways you can reimagine the meeting:

  1. Send videos, sales decks, and PDFs to give prospects the same product demo you’d typically present in a sales meeting, but inside Messenger
  2. Live chat gives you the ability to connect with prospects in real-time and respond to any questions or concerns.

The sales meeting can still take place, just on a different, more accessible channel for your clients.

5. Follow-Up.

Ideally, you want people to buy from you after your meeting, but as we all know this is not always the case. There are often people who won’t and will need some extra love to come on board. Therefore, it’s an idea to follow up after you send digital sales documents to show prospects you’re still there for them. There are a few steps you can do to achieve this that include:

  • A thank you message
  • A recap of what happened during your interaction
  • Discuss the next steps, thereby leading them to the next stage of the sales pipeline

6. Close the deal.

Closing a deal can transcend into one of two scenarios, it can be as simple as a purchase of your product inside Messenger. Or it could be a complicated process where several people need sign-off to finalize everything. Regardless, you want to make the buying experience easy for your potential customers. To benefit from your Messenger bot, add a Stripe integration, free-trial form, appointment booking, or other actions that seals the deal to make sure it’s easy for people to buy.

7. Turn customers into repeat buyers.

This can be achieved by offering existing customers something to keep them around. For example, it could be one of the following:

  • Free products
  • Discounted services
  • Rewards for customer referrals

Word-of-mouth marketing is also extremely effective, so having friends to tell their friends about your business is extremely useful.

The Takeaway

Upholding a successful sales pipeline involves social skills and using the right tools at the right time to find, qualify, and convert prospects. The good news is that there are plenty of tools available for today’s sales reps and small business owners to help them create a pipeline that delivers increased ROI – and a Facebook Messenger bot is just one such tool.