For as long as anyone can remember, a company's sales funnel has determined its survival. The premise was simple and still holds true today — fill up the top with prospects and convert those who reach the bottom. Sales funnels matter to a business, so get ready to learn more about what sales funnels are, and how they can help your business succeed.
A sales funnel is a marketing term applied to the processes and procedures used to capture and describe the journey a potential customer travels through. Every sales funnel is different, and what works for one business won't necessarily work for another. If you can build a strong sales funnel without gaps, you can shepherd potential customers through the buying process toward purchase completion.
Why is the Sales Funnel So Crucial?
Sales funnels matter because they help marketers understand the customer purchasing journey. You can apply these insights to decide which marketing channels and activities are the most effective options to guide your customers toward a purchase. With sales funnels, marketers can tailor and optimize their activities and messaging to increase conversions.
The 6 stages of a sales funnel
Sales funnels vary in size and shape from business to business and industry to industry. For our purposes today, we will look at six basic stages of a sales funnel. You can take inspiration from this basic structure to design your own custom sales funnel that suits your needs.
At the top of the sales funnel is the awareness stage. This stage is populated by the largest number of people but they are not ready to be prospects yet. These people have just interacted with your company and its offerings. They know you exist but not much more.
As with almost everything, first impressions matter and will help hook people and draw them deeper into your sales funnel. Once you have aroused their interest, people will learn more about your company and offerings.
Once potential customers have gained knowledge, they will double down on their efforts to know your company and service offerings. Potential customers may contact your customer service team with specific questions or fill out a form to access more information. Take the time to address the questions, comments or concerns brought to you.
4. Negotiation and decision
At this stage, it's fair to assume your potential clients have a purchase intention. There may be negotiations over price, purchase terms or both. The prospect has now almost decided to purchase your product or service.
At this point, we are at the bottom third of the sales funnel. The prospect and seller have negotiated a mutually satisfactory deal. The prospect pays the seller to become a buyer — or customer.
6. Renewal or repurchase
It is critical to note that the sale stage is not the end of the sales funnel. When sales contracts are up for renewal, your customer has to decide if they want to renew them, so prepare for a fresh round of negotiations.
It is important to note that the above framework isn't set in stone. The above framework, however, applies to most business models.
How to build and nurture a sales funnel—fast
If you are worrying, relax. Building sales funnels doesn’t have to be a time-intensive effort. When you understand their process and how they work for you, you can work on creating and maintaining effective sales funnels. You can’t make a sales funnel without knowing your leads, prospects and customers. You need to engage your customers and follow through on the following:
1. Analyze Your Existing Customers
The most effective place to start when building a sales funnel is with a deep understanding of your existing customers. Any analysis of your customers must include their pain points, aspirations, needs, goals and past solutions. This data will help you find lookalike audiences while putting the right messaging out at the right time to attract prospects.
2. Captivate Your Target Audience
Your audience is busy, and to lure them into your sales funnel, you need to capture their attention across online and offline platforms. You can do this with compelling content designs to educate and inform potential customers. This content will assure them that you can understand and meet their needs.
3. Create a Compelling Landing Page
All your content should lead your prospects somewhere — typically, a landing page. Check out our previous post on landing pages for a quick refresher. Your landing page needs to communicate who you are as a company, what you offer and what needs you can solve. It is extremely critical to remember that landing pages should have a clear call-to-action that takes the prospect further down the sales funnel.
4. Create a Powerful Email Campaign
You have captured email information from your leads. Keep them engaged with a powerful email campaign. Start by providing information and education that helps them understand how your products and services can meet their needs.
5. Keep following up
Once there is a purchase, the customer doesn’t move out of the sales funnel. They remain at the bottom of the funnel — right where you want them. These are customers who have purchased your products and services, and you want them to return for more. Always thank them for their purchase and incentivize them to return through promotions and informational campaigns.
Measuring Sales Funnel Success
Sales funnels are dynamic tools. They change in shape and size as your business grows, as your product and service lines diversify, as you understand your customers’ needs better and as these needs evolve. When evaluating sales funnels, conversion rates can are a key metric. When you have an understanding of your conversion rates, you will be able to pinch or expand your funnel in relevant places until you arrive at a shape that maximizes conversion at that point in time.
To build a successful sales funnel, they must have specific goals for defined target audiences and execute them using compelling marketing content. A sales funnel without these three basic tenets will not properly function. You will lose prospects and leads before converting them into paying customers. If you are looking for more information on sales funnels, call the experts at Alley Kat Web Consulting today for your free needs assessment. We have the skills and talent to help you realize your online potential today.