Digital Marketing, PPC

What Is a Sales Funnel?

What Is a Sales Funnel

Sales funnels are a type of marketing term for the steps that potential customers go through when purchasing. There are multiple steps for the sales funnel, and these get referred to as the bottom, middle, and top of the funnel. However, these steps may be varied based on the sales model of the company.

Any business owner will know how it feels to miss a sale. After weeks of demos and pitches, charm, and conversation, the potential customer drops out of the sales funnel without purchasing your product.

That happens, but it will happen less often whenever you have the right help with your sales funnel management. Most small business sale funnels will get filled with holes that have gotten patched with forgotten follow-ups, missed appointments, sticky notes, and spreadsheets.

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Why are Sales Funnels Vital?

Sales funnels will help you understand what your potential customers are doing and think at every step of a purchase journey. The insights gained from this help you invest within the right marketing channels and activities and create relevant messaging for each stage to turn potential customers into paying customers.

Sales Funnels

Sales Funnels

 

What Are The Stages of the Sales Funnel?

Whenever a prospect learns about your service or product until the moment that they decide to make a purchase or not, they will go through various stages of the sales funnel. This journey through the funnel could change based on the potential customer, but it is evaluated based on the customer’s interest level. They will think about the problem they are in solving and then go through research to ensure that you have the best solution for them.

In general, there will be four main stages:

Stage 1: Awareness

The beginning stage of the sales funnel called the awareness stage because people become aware of your services or products. They could hear about your business from word of mouth, social media, or advertising.

The why and how people move down the sales funnel will depend on your marketing and sales abilities. The leads within the lower and middle funnel stages will be the ones you want to give the most attention to because they are beyond awareness to the interest stage.

An excellent example of the awareness stage would be a potential customer learning about your company for the first time. Maybe they clicked on an ad, found your site through a search on Google, heard a friend talking about your services or products, or read your blog.

Stage 2: Interest

Once a potential customer learns about your brand, they will begin to evaluate your brand based on their interest level. They will think about the problem that they are in solving and doing research to ensure that you have the best solution for them.

Stage 3: Decision

When your potential customers have the information about your business, they will start to look deeper into your packaging and pricing options. Calls, webinars, and sales pages will help you out in this stage to help sway these potential customers to make a purchase.

Stage 4: Action

All of the hard work that you have put in will come down to this stage. That is where the potential customer is going to make a purchase or not. If they did not make a purchase, then the deal is not lost forever. You have the option to develop nurture campaigns to keep you ahead of the game.

How You Can Create a Sales Funnel for Your Business

To make your sales funnel, you will need to have potential customers who can start to move through your sales funnel.  Whenever you have those potential customers, you will track their engagement and behavior by utilizing lead scores to find where your potential customers are within the sales funnel.

There are five main steps to create a sales funnel:

  • Create a Landing Page

Landing pages will be the first time that a potential customer will learn about your company. If they click on your ad, download an eBook, or sign up for a webinar, then they will go to a landing page. That page will need to communicate who you are as a company and the benefits you have. That is going to be the one opportunity that you have to wow your potential customers. You will want to ensure that your landing page has a form for your potential customers to put in their information. You will want to get their email address so that you can communicate with your potential customers.

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  • Provide Something Valuable

That is the section where you have to offer something to potential customers in exchange for their email address. Lead magnets, such as e-books or white papers, are an effective way to provide valuable elements to your landing page.

  • Start with Nurturing

At this stage, your prospects will move from the recognition stage to the interest stage. Since you have all the email addresses on the landing page, you can set up an email series to share educational content about your product.

  • Upselling

When prospects enter the decision-making phase, you want to provide everything to propel them towards buying decisions. That could include product demos, extended free trials, or special discounts.

  • Keep it Going

In this phase, you will acquire new customers or understand why potential customers are not interested in buying. In any case, keep communication open. For new customers, the focus is on product training, engagement, and customer loyalty. For potential customers who haven’t purchased any products, please create a new Grow Series and check back with them every few months.

 

Find Cracks Within the Stages of the Sales Funnel

Now that you know about how you can build a sales funnel, you may begin to notice why management of your sales funnel will matter to your business. Even the very best potential customers can leak out of your sales funnel if they do not get carefully nurtured. The best way for you to prevent that from happening is to have a clear idea of the steps for a good sales process and help make those steps happen.

Some companies may have steps that look similar to this:

Sales Funnel

Sales Funnel

 

Marketing and prospecting are what you will do to get people into your sales funnel’s first stage. Keep in mind that all steps will be broken into multiple stages when needed. A demo could be a single stage, but when done, it can have multiple parts such as contacting customers, sending out reminders, presenting the demo, and then following up. Whatever your sales funnel happens to look like at all stages, you will need to support them and get managed the same.

Once you fully understand the stages of a sales funnel, you will need to look to notice if you are losing any potential leads. You need to start asking yourself:

  • Where do you tend to lose track of your prospects?
  • Where are the sales process bottlenecks?
  • What positive trigger points help result in a sale of your product?

When you look closely at the cracks, you have in your sales funnel, and you can see what steps are not working and fix your funnel.

How The Management of Your Sales Funnel Can Help

Three main things can cause leaks within your sales funnel. The main point is that management of your sales funnel is able to help with each stage that your potential customers go through.

Not Bothering With The No’s

When it comes to a no, it could mean not right now. For instance, a common objection for CRM (customer relationship management) software is that they do not have time to gather content to make the platform useful. They are saying that they are interested and see the value, but they cannot take advantage of it.

You may be tempted to dump this potential customer and then move on to a new lead.

There is a better way to do this. It would be best if you built automated email follow-up campaigns that will speak to that objects. If you want to have to deal with that problem, you can send out prospect information that has been designed just for them. You could reduce the content anxiety by doing an educational campaign that spreads over a couple of months, nurturing a sale. Yes, it is work that you have to do, but once you have finished it, the campaign will work.

Action Items:

It would help if you looked at your potential customers’ most common objections and then think about what can get turned around using helpful education and automated follow-ups. Where in the sales funnel have you started to dismiss your potential customers too quickly?

Fails at Follow-Ups

Are you doing your best to follow up? According to the Business News Daily, you may not be:

  • Only 10% of sales representatives made more than three contacts with potential customers 48% of sales representatives will never follow up with potential customers
  • However, 80% of sales got completed between the 5th and 12th contact

Many subsequent failures. The challenge is easy to understand: Should I call the new lead or follow up with the old lead for the sixth time? Persistence feels like a waste of time, but it turns out not to be the case.

However, there is a better solution. Small businesses could find that help is in marketing automation funnels. Instead of getting the “either/or” runaround. You get both. All of your potential customers will have friendly and consistent contact and emails at all stages of your sales funnel. That allows you to save your attention for the best leads.

Action Items:

Look into your last 20 leads. Count how many times you contact that lead, and if you notice any fails for follow-up, then you know marketing automation funnels can help your business.

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