Every business needs to create a sales funnel to convert cold prospects into hot leads. Failing to do so can have serious consequences.
The primary goal of a sales funnel is to move prospects from one stage of making a sale to another until they are ready to purchase.
What is a “sales funnel”?
A sales funnel is a marketing term used to describe the customer journey, from the time potential customers learn about a brand to the moment they complete a purchase.
Each stage of the sales funnel pushes the qualified leads onto the next stage and excludes those who are not suited for your business proposition.
How do a sales funnel help you and your target market?
A sales funnel helps you understand your potential customer’s thought process, challenges, and decisions at each stage of the purchasing journey. Through these valuable insights, you can make investment decisions about suitable marketing activities and channels, create relevant content during each phase and turn prospects into hot leads.
A sales funnel can address customer’s key needs and deliver the right message at the right time. It also helps organizations scale their sales process, conduct sales, and revenue forecasts, and achieve their goals. You do not have to waste your time and efforts on unqualified leads. Instead, you can channelize all your energy on converting hot leads.
Your sales team can guide the prospect from the moment they become a lead to when they make a purchase by understanding their pain points and providing the right answers at the right time. These days customers have shorter attention spans, and they are always being bombarded with information. Hence, they appreciate it if a brand shares the relevant information at the right moment. Sales and marketing have to be well-aligned to attract, nurture and influence the decision-making process of a potential customer.
How do a sales funnel work?
Every lead passes through the different stages of the sales funnel from the instant they discover your product or brand to the moment they ultimately become your customer. The journey undertaken by each customer might be different, but it all comes down to how they find your product or service and if it fulfils their needs.
These sales funnel stages give businesses a clear idea of what efforts they need to put in, and it also helps your potential clients get the right information at the right time and extract the best deal from you.
The sales funnel stages
This is when people become familiar with your product or service through social media, word-of-mouth, or advertising. Whether or not these people will move down the sales funnel will depend on your sales and marketing ability.
An example of the awareness stage is when a customer learns about your brand for the first time either by clicking on your ad, finding your website through organic search, reading your blog, or hearing a friend talk about your offering.
In this stage, customers are doing research, comparing, and evaluating their options. This is the best time to swoop in with content that will influence their decision and raise their interest level towards your brand. Do not push your product or service, instead build your credibility and support the customer in making an informed decision.
This is the stage of the funnel when customers have shortlisted a few options and are ready to make a purchase. The right strategy to adopt at this time is to make your best offer. You could offer a free trial, a discount or promo code, or a bundled product. Make an irresistible offer so that prospect fails to ignore it.
This is the bottom-most stage of the funnel when the customer makes a purchase. Your work is not over once a customer reaches this stage. You want to do your best to upsell and cross-sell. If the customer chooses your brand, express your gratitude, ask for their feedback and make yourself available for support. And if the customer decides to go the other way, don’t lose hope, rather create retargeting campaigns to stay fresh in their minds.
This stage is all about preventing customers from leaving. This focuses on building customer loyalty, taking them down the sales funnel, and turning them into brand advocates to maximize your profits. Customer retention is the new acquisition. It involves lesser cost and more revenue.
How to grow your business using a sales funnel?
A good sales funnel can gain the attention of your target market, access their pain points, and convince them that your offering is the best service suited to their needs. Businesses take this opportunity to identify their target audience and decide where and how to reach them. This way, they can control their destiny and not just rely on referrals or word-of-mouth.
Each stage is a micro-conversion that can be further optimized to increase conversions. You can constantly evaluate the drop-off rate at each stage to determine what is wrong and test out possible improvements.
Creating and optimizing a sales funnel can involve significant time and effort. However, it is critical to surviving in this competitive marketplace. Take time to build your sales funnel so that it suits your brand as well as your target audience. Find out multiple approaches and find out why your efforts are not working.