You’ve probably heard the term sales funnel mentioned. Perhaps online. Or in meetings. But you’ve paid little attention – because the significance of the term has never been explained to you. That’s why we’ve decided to talk about the sales funnel stages and how they apply to your business.
- What is a sales funnel?
- What are the stages?
- What are the benefits?
Read on to find out and take control of your marketing strategy, generate more leads, and improve retention.
What is a sales funnel? Mapping the customer journey from A-Z
Sales funnels vary from business to business. Broadly, though, the typical construction comprises a beginning, middle and end. In basic terms, it’s the journey a customer experiences prior to making a purchase.
- Minimise the risk of losing hard-won sales
- Provide insight into customer thinking
- Help you invest in the right:
- Marketing tools
- Marketing activities
- Marketing channels
Understanding the sales funnel stages and why they matter
What is a sales funnel used for? Well, once a customer is interested in your product or service, they’ll traverse a series of predefined stages. But, even then, success isn’t guaranteed.
Broadly the four stages are as follows…
Stage 1: Building brand awareness
Don’t rely on customers finding you via organic search results in Google. Boost your brand visibility using targeted ads, posting on social channels, or publishing optimised blog content on your website.
Stage 2: Arousing customer curiosity
But what is a sales funnel if focussed solely on awareness? An empty shell is the simple answer. You need to encourage participants to evaluate your offering – so that they ask questions and research competitors too.
Stage 3: Nudging them toward the sale
Having completed their research your customer is now teetering on the brink. It’s your job to persuade them to choose you. This is perhaps the hardest of all the sales funnel stages – because the prospect could go either way.
To help them decide:
- Direct them to tailored sales pages
- Send them downloadable guides
- Run free webinars or call them!
Stage 4: Converting interest into a sale
This is your moment of truth. If the customer fails to buy, then the lead is lost. But don’t be despondent. This final stage can be won (eventually) by nurturing unwon leads using targeted content.
So don’t give up. Instead, continue to educate and win over prospects by…
- Creating targeted landing pages
- Following up on unwon leads
- Offering something useful (and free) like:
- An invitation to a webinar
- A downloadable guide
- A limited trial or discount
- Nurturing awareness via targeted emails
The benefits of a sales funnel
- Deeper understanding of the customer’s purchasing journey
- Knowledge of which of the sales funnels stages they’re at
- Target and attract the right target audience
- Nurture leads and convert them into customers
- Building a relationship of trust with prospects
- Increasing your conversion rates
Regularly monitor and update your sales funnel
Your sales funnel – even when fully developed – will be imperfect. This will result in strong (and often well-nurtured) leads falling through the cracks – a situation you’d prefer to avoid.
In which case, what’s the solution?
When trying to answer the question ‘what is a sales funnel?’ we must look beyond the headings described earlier and break each one down into a series of granular steps.
For example, building brand awareness might include:
- Running a series of targeted ads
- Posting on various social channels
- Creating a dedicated landing page
- Running a free webinar
Breaking this stage into steps creates a checklist of sorts – meaning that nothing important is missed.
Once you’re confident the process is watertight…
- Figure out the bottlenecks by talking to your team
- Deep dive into the stats to work out weak points
- Equally, locate the positive triggers that elicit sales
The sales funnel stages work effectively when tailored to your audience. Therefore, careful planning and organisation is needed to get it right. Of course, you could hand the responsibility to us instead – giving you more time to concentrate on closing those all-important sales.
Book your free consultation now.