If you’re in sales, then you know the importance of a sales funnel. But what is a sales funnel? A sales funnel is simply a process that companies use to convert prospects into customers. The goal of any good sales funnel is to move potential customers through each stage of the buying process until they eventually make a purchase.
However, this isn’t always an easy task. In fact, according to HubSpot’s State of Inbound report, only 22% of businesses are satisfied with their conversion rates. So what is a sales funnel and how can you improve your own company’s conversion rate? Read on to find out!
What Is a Sales Funnel?
A sales funnel is a marketing model that describes the journey of a potential customer as they move through the stages of awareness, interest, and purchase.
The sales funnel is used to track the progress of a customer from initial contact to final purchase, and to identify which marketing activities are most effective in driving sales.
All businesses that sell something have some sort of funnel, even if they don’t realize it.
A website that uses word-of-mouth to attract people is a basic sales funnel. Using search ads to direct people to an eCommerce store is another way to create a sales funnel.
There are many different ways that businesses can succeed online, but creating a well-designed funnel is often key to success. By guiding users through a series of steps, you can help them make better decisions and take actions that lead to conversions.
Service-based businesses may find success by creating an email list that people who visit the site can sign up to. They can then work on nurturing leads via email until they make a purchase. By doing this, the business will have a better chance of converting leads into customers.
Here are some reasons why you need a good sales pipeline.
A Focused Sales and Marketing Strategy
By putting in a sales pipeline, you no longer have to rely on a haphazard approach. You have instead mapped out the steps to take at every stage of the sales process.
Defining your strategy is the first and most important step. By doing this, you set the foundation for all the other benefits that will follow.
As you learn more about what activities result in prospects buying your product, and which ones put them off, you can focus your efforts on sales-generating activities. This way, you can make the most of your time and resources, and generate more sales for your business.
Fewer errors mean more sales and better lead generation.
If you want to earn more revenue per sale, consider adding a step to your sales funnel that allows customers to choose add-ons related to their initial purchase. This way, your business can upsell customers and earn more money from each sale.
Increase Forecast Accuracy By Tracking Leads
By keeping track of how each lead moves through your funnel, you can predict what your future sales will look like. This can help inform your decisions about cash flow, budget, and customer demand.
If you know that 10% of people who sign up eventually buy from you, then you can estimate how many sales you will make based on new subscribers.
Higher Profit Margin
Having a better understanding of your sales process can help you estimate your cost of acquiring customers. This helps you determine which methods are most profitable.
If you want to increase your profitability, focus on acquiring customers through Instagram rather than Google. It costs $9 to acquire a customer on Instagram, while it costs $10 to acquire a customer on Google.
This is a great way to increase your profit margin! By looking at where you are spending money and what is effective to reduce costs, you can save a lot of money that can be put back into your business. This will help you to be more profitable and successful in the long run.
By AB testing your funnel, you can increase your profits by finding out which parts of your sales process are most effective. If you discover that one landing page is converting at a much higher rate, you can generate more sales without having to spend more on acquiring new customers.
What are the Stages of a Sales Funnel?
From the first time a prospect hears about your product until he or she makes a purchase (or doesn’t), they go through various stages of your sales process.
Your sales funnel may be slightly different for each of your prospects, but the end goal is to evaluate their interest.
The prospect will first consider their problem and do some research to make sure you’re the best company to solve it.
Stage 1: Awareness
The awareness stage is the first step in the funnel, where potential customers are made aware of your product. They could be hearing about you from your advertisements, social media posts, or even through word-of-mouth.
How and why those customers moved down the funnel depended on your own marketing and sales abilities, naturally.
The middle and bottom stages are where you should be paying the most attention because these are where your prospects have moved from just being aware of you to being interested in what you have to offer.
Stage 2: Interest
Once a prospect has learned about your company, they will consider whether or not they want to work with you. They will weigh the pros and cons of your solution and compare it to other solutions on the market.
Stage 3: Decision
As prospects learn more about your company, they will start to evaluate your pricing and packaging options. Sales pages, webinars, and calls can be helpful in this stage to help convince prospects to make a purchase. By providing additional information and answering any questions they may have, you can increase the likelihood of making a sale.
Stage 4: Action
You can always follow up and try again. This is the most important stage of the sales process: whether the prospect makes a purchase or not. If they didn’t, the deal isn’t lost forever. You can always follow up and try again.
You can create nurture campaigns to keep you top of mind with your customers.
How to Create a Sales Funnel for Your Business
To have a functioning sales pipeline, you need qualified leads to move through the stages. Lead scores allow you to identify where a prospect is in your sales process.
There are five steps to creating an effective sales funnel.
1. Build a Landing Page
A landing page is the first page that visitors see. If they clicked on an advertisement, signed up for a webinar, or downloaded an eBook, they’ll be taken to a landing page.
When building a landing page, you’ll want to make sure that it is clear who your company is and what your unique benefits are. This could be the one chance you have to impress potential customers, so you’ll want to make sure that your page makes a good impression.
Most importantly, make sure your landing page has a form for prospects to enter their information. You want to capture their email address so you can continue to communicate with them. This will help you build a relationship with them and eventually convert them into customers.
2. Offer Something of Value to Prospects
If you want your landing page to be effective, you need to offer your prospects something of value in exchange for their email address. A lead magnet, such as an ebook or whitepaper, is a great way to do this.
3. Nurture Your Prospect
Now that you’ve captured their email address, you can follow up with them via email. You can share more educational and relevant content about your offer.
4. Upsell a Product
As your prospects move closer to a buying decision, offer them anything that will push them over the edge. This could mean giving them an extended trial, product demos, or special discounts.
5. Keep the Conversation Going
In the action stage, you will either be closing the deal or hearing why the prospect isn’t interested. Regardless, keep the conversation moving.
For new contacts, focus your marketing efforts on educating them about your product, engaging them, and retaining them. For customers who didn’t purchase, build a nurturing campaign to check in with them every 3 months or so.
Benefits of Creating a Sales Funnel
Some benefits of having a sales funnel are that it can help increase conversions, it can automate your marketing and sales process, and it can help you track your results. Having a sales funnel in place can also help you to better understand your customer’s journey and what they need from you to make a purchase.
Delivering the Right Information at the Right Time
If you have a sales funnel set up with a clear understanding of your prospect’s questions and needs, you can ensure that you’re always delivering the right information at the right time. This will save your customers from any frustration down the line.
Align Marketing and Sales
Your customer can reach out to you at any point of their buyer’s journey, whether they’re researching or ready to buy.
It’s important to align your marketing and sales efforts, so your prospects receive the information they need even when you’re not able to deliver it directly as a salesperson. Having a proper sales funnel in place allows you to deliver the right offer to your prospects at different stages of their customer journey.
With a sales funnel, you can effectively present the right offers to potential customers outside of your sales conversation.
Saves Time and Effort
Having a well-defined sales funnel will enable you to quickly disqualify poor leads, and focus your attention on those that are more likely to convert – resulting in increased sales and happier customers.
How To Manage a Sales Funnel
The key to managing your sales pipeline is to review and adjust your sales process based on the changes in your prospect’s buying journey. Do this by reviewing your metrics and, where needed, using your instincts.
Let’s imagine that you’re in the “desire” stage of your sales process, but the prospect is hesitant to purchase. Normally, your process is to dazzle them with a pitch and follow up by sending over a contract.
If a lead is wavering, it’s important to revise your strategy in order to keep them moving through the funnel. This may involve offering more incentive to buy or addressing their concerns more effectively. By doing so, you’ll be able to keep them engaged and increase the likelihood of making a sale.
Review and adjust your sales strategy based on lead changes in the funnel. Do this using the best data available and, where appropriate, human intuition.
After you’ve nurtured your lead, you might discover that you kept them in one particular stage of the funnel for too long.
This tactic can cut their momentum to purchase. Try adjusting your approach.
One way to successfully manage your sales funnel is by moving prospects to the “Action” stage more quickly. You can do this by creating a sense of urgency using clear deadlines.
Additionally, organizations can improve the efficiency of their sales teams by re-allocating resources, offering additional incentive options, or providing team support for complicated deals.
Data insights are the key to optimizing your sales funnel. The three most popular data-driven technologies for sales are account and contact management, sales forecasting tools, and customer relationship management (CRM) systems.
By using these tools, you can get a better understanding of your sales pipeline and make more informed decisions about where to focus your efforts.
The CRM tool is especially useful for keeping all customer data organized in one place.
Salespeople use data to better understand a prospect’s relationship with their company. This helps them prioritize leads and opportunities, so they can focus on selling to those who are more likely to buy again.
This shift from the conventional marketing and sales model means that now, the focus is more on the quality of a lead, rather than the volume.
While data is undeniably important, the sales process ultimately comes down to connecting with and persuading real people.
To successfully manage your sales funnel, you need a combination of human skills and data-driven insights. The ability to listen is considered a critical attribute for landing deals by 78% of those surveyed.
These characteristics, coupled with data-based insight, will ensure that the sales process flows smoothly.
What is a sales funnel? In summary, a sales funnel is a process that companies use to convert prospects into customers. If you want to improve your company’s conversion rate, then you need to focus on moving potential customers through each stage of the buying process until they eventually make a purchase. By doing this, you’ll be well on your way to successfully managing your sales funnel!