What is a Sales Funnel?
A sales funnel represents a customer’s journey from first contact until purchase. It establishes phases that a customer crosses as they continue to interact with a brand on their journey to purchasing a product. Milestones of sales funnel could look like:
- Lead details are collected from the website.
- Customer makes first contact.
- A lead becomes a prospective customer.
- The prospect’s needs are met by the company’s offerings.
- The company sends an offer and proposal.
- The prospect decides to purchase and becomes a customer.
- The satisfied customer develops a long-term relationship with the brand and repeats business.
A sales funnel is called such because it looks exactly like a funnel as it progresses, with a high volume of potential leads at the start and a lower volume of converted customers at the end.
The Importance of a Sales Funnel
Strong sales funnels are vital for two reasons. First, they give the sales team a blueprint to follow for effective lead generation. Second, knowing which stage of the funnel a lead is in gives the sales team information about customers’ intent and interests at that moment. Sales funnels help businesses develop targeted marketing strategies that lead to better insights and higher sales conversions.
The Stages of a Sales Funnel
The sales funnel usually divided into three stages, and each stage can have one or more processes/activities:
- Top of the Funnel: Generating interest and awareness to capture leads.
- Middle of the Funnel: You qualify leads – both you and the potential customer are trying to understand if it’s the right fit.
- Bottom of the Funnel: Qualified leads are ready to make a purchase and your brand is prepared to close.
Top of the Funnel
Customers at the top of the funnel have just discovered your website or some other company channel like a social media page through digital marketing or offline marketing tactics like custom banners, banner stands, and shelf signs. Maybe they have received some information about your company from a cold call made by a sales rep.
However, they are not entirely sure about what they need, what to look for, and what solutions are out there. Activities performed here are part of the marketing and awareness phase. A strong initial touchpoint will captivate curious leads and propel them to learn more. Start a strong sales funnel with the following steps:
- Target the Right Audience: to ensure you are getting good leads with potential, always define your target audience and create ideal user personas before running any marketing campaigns.
- Generate Awareness: use marketing strategies like SEO, PPC campaigns, social media campaigns, email marketing and cold calling to generate awareness for your brand and attract the defined target audience.
- Make Customers Interested: once you generate awareness and traffic for your brand, you need to get potential buyers interested in your product or service. Pay attention to the content and graphics on all channels – website, social media page, email and more. Share information about the benefits of your offerings
- Design with Conversions in Mind: your website’s user experience and offline channels must be tailored to visitors’ convenience. You can achieve a great customer experience by using pop-ups, easy-to-access buttons and web layouts, and digitized print materials, like decals with QR codes.
- Automate Initial Conversations: with effective marketing tactics, you can achieve high-volume leads. Use a CRM to automate initial conversations and focus your efforts on promising leads.
- Gather Information & Segregate Leads: using information acquired by automation tools and initial sales calls, segregate your leads based on intent and interest. This strategy will help you identify which leads will move to the middle of the funnel.
Middle of the Funnel
Once leads are qualified as potential prospects, they move to the middle of the funnel. Either they show interest in your product or service, or they have a problem that you know your product or service can solve. Once these leads are identified, the sales team needs to deliver highly relevant content through pitches, displays, videos and presentations. The intention is to give the prospect all the information they need to be convinced that your product or service is right for them.
- Understand the Needs of The Customer: before making a pitch or sending a proposal, the sales team needs to understand the needs of the customer in detail so they can suggest the right product or service.
- Deliver High-Converting Information: once you have identified their needs, you need to convince them that your product or service is the right fit for them. You can achieve this through high-converting content that conveys the message that your brand has the answers to their problems.
- Tailor Your Solutions to Their Needs: lastly, tailor the service or product to suit your prospect. Focus on features that are highly relevant to them.
Bottom of the Funnel
In this section, prospects are converted to paying customers. Once a lead is convinced your product or service is right for them, they will close the deal with a purchase.
- Design An Offer Customers Can’t Refuse: offer discounts and pricing structures ideal for your target market’s income. Position your product as a desirable commodity and focus on scarcity. Limited time offers, short-term product launches, and customer rewards can incentivize purchases.
- Final Offer & Beyond: lastly, put a proper customer support plan in place to remain happy, loyal, and a long-term paying client. Continued customer success enhances lifetime customer value and boosts your profitability and social selling capabilities.
The sales funnel differs from business to business, so use this guide as a structure that can be tailored to your brand. You can add more steps to each stage or remove them based on what suits your sales team and brand. Ultimately, the sales funnel should move the customer from interest to purchase. Keep these insights in mind as you design high-conversion sales funnels and you will grow your customer base and increase customer retention.