Every business has a sales funnel, even if it hasn't been planned. If to date, your company has achieved at least one sale, then you already have a sales process that was born together with that first customer. This is because your customers had to go through a series of steps to make that purchase.
Your questions, then, should be: how to structure my sales funnel? How to manage it? How to improve its process? And this is what we will talk about today. In this article, you'll learn what it takes to make sure that every visitor to your website or online store ends up becoming another happy customer. 📈
Let's talk no more and start.
What is a sales funnel?
A sales funnel is a visual representation of your sales process. It is a scheme designed for businesses in which everything —or almost everything— the 'customer journey' is carried out online as in an e-commerce, since it has the facility to measure each action of its customers.
A conversion or sales funnel is not a strategy or tactic in itself, it is rather a framework that allows you to have a 'big picture' of the sales process that your visitors will go through, until they become loyal customers. In this way, you will have the necessary visibility to coordinate and control the efforts in their different stages.
It was given that name because it has the shape of a funnel, since it symbolically shows that the largest number of visitors or leads are in the first stages , and in the lower part, the visitors who are in the last phases of your cycle. sales, or are already your customers.
Why is it important to implement a sales funnel?
It is important to have a sales funnel, since with it you can better organize the entry and exit of business opportunities. Without going into the size of the leads, if they are going to leave money in your company, it makes a lot of sense that you worry if those sales will be effective. Or else you can see what you and your team are doing wrong.
Also, with the help of a sales funnel you can improve the user experience and customer service, thanks to the large amount of insights you can get from your leads throughout the process. At this point, the information and 'education' that you give to your prospects is key, since with this they will be able to perceive the authority that you have in your industry, and be considered as a good option from the first contact.
Working and implementing a sales funnel —if it is constantly optimized— can help you create an almost certain route to have 'revenue' or constant income, which are essential for the growth and future of a company.
Being more concise, a good conversion funnel is important because it will help you:
- Generate qualified leads.
- Educate and inform your prospects at the right time.
- Earn steady income.
- Project sales and create business goals.
- Ensure the satisfaction of your customers.
- And retain loyal customers.
Additionally, sales funnels are very useful to avoid spending a lot of time on prospects that will not be as profitable, and to have synchronization between marketing and sales efforts. You can see this more clearly in the next point.
Phases or stages of the sales funnel
The phases or stages of a sales funnel are based —or should be based— on the perspective or mindset of your potential customers, since according to their characteristics as buyers, they will dictate what they need to know and when.
The logic behind sales funnels is that each stage of the funnel should push your most qualified prospects to the next stage, or weed out those who don't fit your business. In this way, at the end of your funnel you will have the 'big fish' that you are looking for so much. 🤑
The most common stages of a sales funnel are:
- Attention or awareness
- decision or desire
These four phases are based on the AIDA model and we will break them down below:
Attention or awareness
At this stage of the sales funnel, the main objective is to reach your target and captivate them. Especially to those people who have not heard a word about your company, but know that they can benefit from your product(s) or service(s).
It is called that because you must win the attention of your potential customers, letting them know that you can be an option for them, since you have a product/service that they need.
The messages for this stage can be given in different mass channels such as: social networks, search engines, blog-posts, among others. As you can imagine, the number of people you can impact in this phase is very high, which is why it is the most robust phase in a sales funnel.
If all goes well, it is possible that these leads will become customers at this very stage. This will depend on the 'momentum' or opportunity of your potential client, and if you have what it takes to accelerate their conversion (for example: a limited time offer, a benefit for new clients, etc.) Let's hope so. 🤞
Useful tools at this stage:
- Social Ads (Facebook and Instagram)
- Google ads
- Blog-posts and relevant content
- Landing pages
At this stage of the sales funnel, you already know your future customers a little better, since they gave you some of their information through your form(s), or they contacted you through a chat.
Here, the goal is to make it clear to them that you have the necessary expertise and your product or service has the qualities they are looking for. The information you provide them in this phase has to solve all their doubts and provide them with extra value with inbound content .
Timing is crucial at this stage of your sales process, because you are not their only option. Remember that most users have already done a preliminary investigation before coming to you. They are comparing your product/service with other options similar to yours.
But don't worry , don't put too much pressure on them because you could lose them. In addition, this is the stage where customers who are not as profitable come to light and leave your sales funnel as expected.
The tools needed at this stage are:
- Facebook Pixel and tracking tools.
- Inbound content (webinars, free tools, videos, podcast, etc.)
- Measurement tools such as Google Analytics.
- Marketing automation.
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At this point, your audience has all the necessary information about your product or service. They know if it is exactly what they were looking for, and if their response is positive, they will be able to move on to the next phase to complete your sales process successfully.
Here "accelerators" such as discounts, months without interest, free shipping or gift products can make a big difference. Make sure you have something to 'nudge' them into conversion.
The tools used in this stage are:
- Pop-ups with promotions (not so invasive)
- Automated email campaigns
- Content such as FAQs, success stories, videos with demos of your products, etc.
When the sale or conversion occurs, what you've been waiting for. In this stage of the funnel will be the leads that need your product and have the opportunity (time and money) to make the purchase. It is the moment that culminates your sales funnel that you prepared so much. You gained a new client! 🎉
The tools used in this stage are:
- ads with remarketing
- Follow-up calls or emails
- Abandoned cart tracking
Differences between a sales funnel and a marketing funnel
Before talking about the differences between the sales funnel and the marketing funnel , it is necessary to mention that both funnels are related, since they have a common goal: to sell. 💳
The funnel or marketing funnel seeks to attract traffic that could be converted into leads. This practically provides potential customers to the sales department, which you believe will be able to go through your sales process successfully. Also, in this funnel the necessary materials that sellers or sales funnel will need for their customer journey are managed.
It is sought that the leads that come from the marketing funnel are the most qualified possible, since this will save sellers time and they will be able to obtain better results by focusing on the right prospects.
Then, the sales funnel takes care of receiving these leads using the materials created in the marketing funnel. There is no need to talk more about the sales funnel because it is what we have talked about throughout the note. Just to emphasize that one of the main differences between these two funnels is the direct contact with prospects, which does not happen in the marketing funnel.
Both teams and processes are indispensable to each other, since the marketing funnel is responsible for providing business opportunities to the sales funnel and this, in turn, provides valuable insights so that marketing executives can create content or materials. closest to the needs of your customers and leads. 🤜💥🤛
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How to make a sales funnel?
Once the phases of a conversion funnel are understood, it is time to see how to create a funnel that follows the sales cycle of your company. Look at the following steps:
Step 1. Analyze your audience and your current sales process
The more you know about your potential customers, the more effective your sales funnel will be. For this you will want to analyze the behavior of your users while they browse your site, using tools such as Google Analytics to be able to know where they clicked, where they arrived, how long they lasted and at what point they left your funnel.
Analyze your current sales funnel and together with your salespeople or marketing staff think about how it could be improved. Pay close attention to decision points from your prospect's perspective.
Step 2. Plan strategies for lead generation
This is the gasoline for a sales funnel to work. Review your current marketing plan to see what has worked and what tactic you can improve on. The fastest way to generate leads are strategies in paid channels and these can be:
- Google ads
- Facebook and Instagram Ads
- YouTube ads
- Twitter ads
- LinkedIn Ads
Another very good way to generate leads is by using organic strategies such as inbound content, SEO or content tactics for social networks . The best channel for your company is the one that brings together the largest number of potential customers, this will depend on the product/service you offer and the industry of your business.
Step 3. Build a landing page
A landing page is essential for a good sales funnel. This is where all your prospects will arrive and you can give them more information. This is a good time to ensnare them with some irresistible offer or perk for being there. Whatever you choose, you'll need a powerful call-to-action.
If you already have a landing page, analyze its performance in order to optimize it. Another good way to have a landing page that generates quality leads is to do A/B testing on it to have its best version.
Important: at this point focus on capturing the largest number of leads instead of closing the sale.
Step 4. Create an email marketing campaign
To have a constant flow of leads in your sales funnel, you will need an email marketing campaign . Give them relevant content from time to time, and from time to time, send them an offer to push their conversion at the end of the email.
This is your chance to 'educate' your audience. and position yourself in their minds as a great reference in your industry with content such as podcasts, downloadable tools, webinars, etc. It is important to put yourself in their place and think about what kind of doubts or obstacles they may have to make a purchase decision, and thus offer them content that is truly functional for the stage in which they are.
Step 5. Create the scheme that your leads will go through
It's time to put the puzzle together, that is, create your sales funnel. With the strategies and tools that you provided in the previous points, it is time to put everything in its place and order these tactics so that they are consistent with the scenario of your potential customers.
Create a system so that you and the salespeople on your team can identify good leads, and the parts of their process. A good way is by tagging leads based on their actions and responses. For example:
Contactless > Contacted (Leads) > Qualified > Proposal submitted > Negotiation > Successful sale
This system can change according to your business model, and works best for B2B sales cycles . Once you run this new scheme, review its stages again with your sales team to avoid confusion or spot improvements. In this way everything will flow correctly; both outside with your clients, and inside with your team.
Now, this is not rocket science. The fact that you define the phases and labels of your sales funnel does not mean that absolutely all your clients are going to follow those steps to the letter, since one lead can be different from another, and they can go or return between these phases. This can force you to create activities that you had not considered in your process, such as: training, face-to-face meetings, etc.
Example of a sales funnel
This is a real example of a successful sales funnel that shows the necessary elements to attract customers with all the necessary information, without losing sight of our commercial objectives. Let's see.
Shopify sales funnel
I did a Google search on how to make a website, with the intention of getting more information about it. But there are different companies related to the creation of web pages that have Google ads to appear with this type of search. Among them we see Shopify.
Note that my search is not aimed at creating a web page at this time, nor am I asking for a specific CMS. I just want to know how they are done, like any user in the first stage of a sales funnel.
Clicking on the Shopify ad takes me to their landing page where their intention is very clear: they want my email to convert me into a lead.
Note that they mention that I can start a trial period for 14 days without the need to enter my credit card. This is a major accelerator in the early stages as it frees your prospects from commitments and they can move through your sales funnel more freely.
Also note that they warn me with a small 'disclaimer' below the registration field, in which they make it explicit that if I enter my email I will accept that they send me marketing emails, and they do it to keep me in their sales funnel. Without a doubt, a great tactic.
In addition, they have a testimonial at the bottom, which serves as " social proof ". If I'm new to Shopify, this can be an important attribute as I'll be more confident to start my free trial on their site.
When entering the email on the first page, it quickly takes you to another just as simple, where they request a little more information.
When filling it out, they send the following email:
Length? Yes, a little, but well used because they address all the possible topics that their leads may be concerned about before continuing in their sales process. For example: they indicate the following steps to create an online store through a video, and provide the option to go to their help center to answer any specific questions.
The call-to-action of this email with which they are looking for their prospects to go to the next stage of their funnel, is that they complete the subscription, supporting themselves again with a testimonial. By clicking on the “Complete your subscription” button (your CTA), they automatically go to their next phase.
After that informative email, they have another landing page with a longer form. And how long it is doesn't really matter, because they know that their leads are very interested and they can take the time to give them all the necessary information and start their trial.
Once you fill out this form, they take you to their main dashboard to start creating an online store. Thus, with a few tactics and tools, they managed to have a new potential client who, at the end of their trial period, can bring them good profits. 💰
Now you have everything you need to create a more structured and consistent sales funnel for your leads. Do this process and repeat it to create an increasingly robust automated sales machine.
Analyze what happens in each of its stages, in order to determine how to improve that section of the sales funnel and optimize your website, your content or other relevant media. Do not forget to take care of these new customers so that they spread the word, and talk about how good your product / service is and get more qualified organic prospects.
As you have already seen, the key is to understand the context of your clients to adapt to it, and generate a long-term relationship. With this in mind, you are ready to bring thousands of customers and thus take your company to the top. 📈⚡
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