At our core, Nexta is a B2B sales engine. To effectively run this engine, we use a carefully calibrated sales funnel to build the alliances pipeline for our clients.

Building a deliberate sales funnel for your alliances pipeline

Context

For any client, we explore between 1 and 15 campaigns simultaneously. Each campaign, can have between 5 and 25 prospective partners. That means, we could potentially be having 300 simultaneous conversations for our clients. To optimise their time, your Alliances Manager at Nexta needs to focus their efforts. They look for prospective partners who engage back with them.

We break down their efforts into two parts – Pre-Engagement and Post-Engagement.

Pre-Engagement Sales Funnel

As always, we begin by understanding the client’s problems. Then we identify the right industry, brand and decision maker to address the problems. Finally, we establish contact to give the prospective partner initial context.

This outreach effort is largely automated at Nexta. The objective here is to reach out to multiple stakeholders simultaneously. And filter out those that have the Budget, Authority (decision maker), Need and Timelines (BANT) to partner with our client. If they do not engage with us, we switch focus to building long term authority for our client’s alliance program. So that when the missing B/A/N/T changes, the first partner they think of is our client. And they become an inbound lead for us.

We use a very deliberate sales funnel for this purpose.

Here is an example. This is what the sales funnel looked like for a leading global laptop brand’s campaign we executed recently. We were able to bring 14 partnerships to the Agreement stage in under 3 weeks using this funnel. Perhaps prudent to mention here that this was an astronomically fast turn around time by any standards! Our usual turn around times are longer.

  • Day 0 – Call
  • Day 2 – Call
  • Day 2 – Drip Email #1 (Give initial context – Introduce self. Introduce client. Talk briefly about campaign. Give a link to deeper campaign details. CTA – Discovery call)
  • Day 5 – Drip Email #2 (Give more context – Talk about campaign target audience, reach, expected conversions and other relevant data points. CTA – Discovery call)
  • Day 10 – Drip Email #3 (Give further context – Talk about long term possibilities of an association – participation in a brand amplification campaign, access to the larger ecosystem, content partnerships to encourage newer conversations. CTA – Discovery call)
  • Day 11 – Call
  • Day 12 – Call
  • Day 17 – Drip Email #4 (Deliberate attempt to influence engagement – In case you are busy, no sweat. Do let me know so I can make some adjustments in my outreach efforts. No CTA)
  • Day 20 – Call
  • Day 21 – Add new point of contact at prospective partner to the top of the funnel. Move current point of contact into Long Term Authority Building funnel.
  • Day 30 – Call
  • Day 45 – Drip email #5 (Building authority. Use a case study from a previous alliance campaign)
  • Day 60 – Call
  • Day 75 – Drip email #6 (Building authority. Share relevant live data about ABC’s SMB business)
  • Day 90 – Call
  • Day 105 – Drip email #7 (Building authority. Invite brand to host a joint thought leadership webinar or co-write a white paper)
  • Day 120 – Call

Lather, rinse and repeat alternating calls and emails. Slow down the call frequency over time. Use targeted content ads if required to build authority faster.

Post-Engagement Efforts

We only deviate from the above funnel when a prospective partner engages with us. Once they engage with us, we invest time to understand their problems. A series of predefined qualifying questions as asked. We ideate on possible campaigns and create partnership proposals. Finally, our team executes the campaigns end-to-end. 80% of our time is invested in the Post-Engagement phase. Just 20% of our time is invested in the Pre-Engagement phase.

When we do this like clockwork, our clients usually get a healthy alliance pipeline. We end up investing less than 3 hours per year per prospect who do not engage back with us. It is quite an efficient process and works well for us.

Do let us know if you have any tips for us to improve our approach to sales funnels!