As an entrepreneur, one of the most important exercises you can undertake for your business is determining the marketing and sales processes that lead to the purchase of your product. The sales funnel is a particularly well-known and overused term in today’s global economy. Yet one mistake that it is continually made, is the attempt (deliberate or not) to completely distinguish marketing from the sales process. Hence it is not surprising to see sales and marketing teams attack each other in the corporate setting as though they are on opposing teams.

A deliberate attempt to understand the sales and marketing process as a uniformed body with a single goal has led to the term “Smarketing” which is particularly ingenious. Smarketing -as you rightly have guessed- is an amalgamation of Sales and Marketing which has been popularized by Hubspot (a CRM software company). It has been estimated that practising smarketing in your business could lead to a 20% increase in revenue.

Hubspot has championed the smarketing movement by redesigning the sales funnel to day to include the important marketing essence that should be found in the customer acquisition process. This funnel is called the inbound marketing funnel (see the image at the bottomof the articple please) and it has six clear cut stages.

The Six Stages of the inbound marketing funnel

#1. The Visitor

A prospect or visitor can be described as someone who has signed up onto your website and you have gathered minimal data on. Visitors who arrive at a website, come through a variety of sources including but not limited to search, referral and social media. When someone clicks on a website and does not necessarily sign up for anything that individual cannot really be deemed as a prospect.

A prospect must register to receive a newsletter or a freebie or has subscribed to your website after engaging with your content. Social media affords you the opportunity to research of different client persona’s that might be interested in your content which then allows you to draft content that suit their needs.

#2. The Leads

A lead is someone who has submitted a form in exchange for a freebie which can be in the form of ebook, a report or a webinar. What matters in the lead generation process is that an individual leaves enough useful detail for you to fully research and comprehend why he decided to opt in for your product in the first place. At the lead generation stage, social media allows you to fully scan the leads interest, what associations they have and how your product can help solve their problems.

#3. The MQLs (Marketing Qualified Lead)

MQLs are leads who have qualified themselves as deeply engaged. Leads in this section starts requests for high level perks such as product demo and buyer guides. A marketing qualified lead is a clear expression of interest and it shows the lead is considering purchasing your product. The most important thing to do at this stage is to rehash how the product aim to solve the leads problems. This can be done by referencing to successful case studies and use cases that have been executed by your business. Search Engines allow you to quickly analyse the website of the lead and look for similar websites within their industries. This can help you make in-depth analysis of how your products help solve the problem as against what their competitors have.

#4. The SQLs (Sales Qualified Leads)

An SQL is every potential customer who has successfully gone through the MQL and your sales team has determined these as worth follow up. Bearing in mind that when running your business as a solopreneur, these task will have to be executed by you. Purchase decisions are sometimes not made of the bat therefore certain potential customers will need continuous follow-up calls and emails. This is where the product positioning statement is key in etching the benefits of your product on the mind of the potential client through deliberate differentiation. Use social media to monitor the updates of the potential customer and find ways you can use your product to help solve their problems.

#5. The Opportunities

An opportunity is a Sales Qualified Lead that a sales rep has communicated with and logged as a legitimate potential customer. The next important thing at the opportunity stage is for the potential customer to shell out money to pay for your product. This can be a daunting stage for marketers and sales people. It is important not to come across as too desperate to make a sale that you side step legitimate questions the potential customer might have. Stay in touch with the potential customer via email and social media. Selling a product is essentially about building relationship and it important that you come across as “human” with empathy and understanding.

#6. The Customers (finally!)

Congratulations! You have reached the holy grail of the sales funnel. All the hard work in the 5 previous stages lead up to this moment. At this stage, the “potential customer” is called a customer and they have paid for the product. Continuous communication is key at this stage, this can be done by letting the customer know that you are always available to help them with challenges they might have pertaining to your product or service.

Delight! Delight!! Delight!!!

Now that you have a fully paying customer who depends on your product to solve a specific problem for them. It is important to delight the customer. This is done through constant communication with them on how the product is solving their problems. By sharing information with them on the current news, updates and trends of the product and the industry they find themselves in.

So.... Follow customers on social media to track their updates and proffer suggestions and solutions where necessary and turn those ‘strangers’ into known prospects over time, and in best-case scenarios, loyal customers and advocates of your brand.

Good Luck,



Spiros Tsaltas is associated with a unique Customer Loyalty Startup : HireLoyalty ( which is coming out of stealth mode in the next few months.

Spiros is als associated w/ HIREghana (www.

© 2017 Spiros Tsaltas and © 2017 HireLoyalty

Author's Bio: 

Spiros Tsaltas is associated with a unique Customer Loyalty Startup : HireLoyalty ( which is coming out of stealth mode in the next few months.

Spiros is als associated w/ HIREghana (www.

© 2017 Spiros Tsaltas and © 2017 HireLoyalty