Every business owner has experienced the pain of losing a sale after weeks of pitches, demos, and conversations to attain a potential lead. It happens but can happen less with proper sales funnel management strategies.
So, for a successful sales funnel, every potential lead should be treated as an asset to the business and needs to be carefully handled in every stage of the customer journey until they are converted to sales. But, before starting anything else, you should very well know the sales funnel definition if you are in for improving your leads and sales.
In this article you’ll be taken through:
- Sales Funnel Definition and Meaning
- The Importance of a Sales Funnel
- Stages of Sales Funnel
- Steps to Create and Nurture a Sales Funnel
Sales Funnel Definition and Meaning
Sales Funnel Definition – The identification process of where the prospective customers are in the stage of the sales journey is what the basic sales funnel is.
Sales Funnel Meaning – Sales funnels help you visualize the journey potential customers go through in the sales process, from the start of the journey, where a prospective customer becomes aware of your product or service, to the end stage of purchasing the product or service.
Funnel Stages – There are many stages in the sales funnel, usually known as TOFU – Top of funnel, MOFU – Middle of funnel, and BOFU – Bottom of funnel. Every company has its own version of these steps that may slightly vary from others.
The Importance of a Sales Funnel
A Sales funnel has many stages and each stage of the funnel helps you understand your customer’s perspective and needs to guide them through the sales process. You need these insights to choose the right marketing channels and activities and to turn more potential customers into paying customers.
Stages of Sales Funnel
A potential lead passes through different stages of sales funnels from the time they first became aware of your product or service, to the moment they finish making a purchase. The prospects are changed throughout the journey of the customer, but the evaluation, in the end, is based on the interest level of a lead and the company’s sales model.
A customer will conduct competitive research based on their problem, and if your product or service offers the best solution. An effective sales funnel changes accordingly to each business. But in general, there are four important sales funnel stages.
The first stage of the sales funnel is called the awareness stage since this stage is where your target audience first becomes aware of your product or service through search engines, landing pages, advertising, social media marketing, landing pages, or even word-to-word suggestions.
Why and how qualified prospects move through the stages of the funnel purely depends on the marketing funnel strategies, sales strategies, and the abilities of a sales team, and varies for every qualified lead.
You need to pay even more attention to the leads in the middle and bottom of the funnel since they have moved on from the stage of awareness to the next stage.
The next stage after awareness is the interest stage, and based on the specific interest level of a prospective customer and their problems, they start to evaluate your product or service after learning about it. They consider their needs and analyze if your product or service can meet their needs and expectations.
Competitive research is conducted by a qualified lead so that they can be assured that the product or service is the best solution to their problems.
If a prospect is satisfied with all the research and information they collected about your company’s product or services, they move on to the desired stage where questions about the pricing, packaging, and other details relating to the buying process of a product will arise.
The sales reps can make a move through webinars, guides, calls, and sales pages to convince high-quality leads to make them purchase your product. The lead is considered a sales-qualified lead, and it is in the sales performance to try and sway the customer.
The action stage is one of the most important stages in a well-defined sales funnel since all your efforts for the sales pipeline come down to this stage. This is where you find out if the potential buyers will make a purchase decision or not.
The deal is not over once the customer decided to not make a purchase. You can still create nurture campaigns to make sure you stay on top of their mind if the customer ever wanted to make a purchase.
Sales funnel stages also do not end with the customer making a purchase. Next, is the retention stage, where the current customers and existing customers decide if they want to continue their relationship with the same seller. It is all about the experience of the customer throughout the buyer’s journey.
Getting customer feedback and changing your marketing efforts and sales alignment can help customer retention. The marketing team and sales team should have a steady flow of customer interactions and customer engagement to make them stay with the brand. This is an essential key in each of the business sales funnel to not only retain customers but also to increase conversions.
Steps to Create and Nurture a Sales Funnel
To fully understand the sales funnel definition you must know what makes an effective sales funnel to exist. For that you first need prospects to move through the stages of the funnel. To make a sales funnel work properly you need to use lead scoring to track lead behavior and engagement to identify where the leads stand in the funnel.
Here are 5 important steps to build a sales funnel:
1. Creating a Landing Page
Building a landing page is essential, as it may be the place where a prospect learns about your product for the first time. A landing page is where the potential customers end up if they sign up for webinars, click on ads, or download e-books. So, your website should communicate with the customers about your company and your unique benefits.
Make sure to have a form for the prospective customers to enter their information like contact details, so the sales teams can communicate with the new leads. You should also keep track of how many visitors you have for your landing websites.
2. Offering Something of Value
In exchange for the customer’s contact details, like their email address, you should give something of value back to your potential customer. A white paper or an e-book kind of lead magnet can be an effective way of offering something of value to the leads.
3. Nurturing of Prospects
Lead management starts with the nurturing of qualified leads that have moved from the awareness stage to the interest stage. You can share educational content in a series of nurturing emails since you have the email addresses of qualified leads.
4. Special Offers
While learning sales funnel definition it is also important to provide potential leads with valuable offers at the right time and in that anything you offer should be a factor to convince the customer to make a purchase. This could be a special discount, free extended trial, or product demo.
5. Keeping the Process Going
Either you’ll land new customers in the action phase or learn why a prospect is not interested in purchasing your product. Focus on educating the new leads about product, engagement, and retention. And for the uninterested prospects create a new series of nurturing emails, and check in with them regularly.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Sales funnel definition?
A sales funnel is a marketing term used to capture and represent the journey of the customer throughout the sales process from prospecting to making a purchase.
2. What is a sales funnel and how does it work?
A traditional sales funnel, also known as a marketing funnel or revenue funnel, is the visual representation of how a sale starts with many potential customers and ends with just a few making a purchase.
3. What is funnel importance?
Sales funnels help you deliver the right information to the customer at the right time, and across the right channel. It helps you gain an understanding of the prospects, as well as learn their views and interests.
End of Sales Funnel Definition
A sales funnel definition helps you identify where a lead stands in the stages of a sale, and guides them through the sales process. Both the marketing and sales team should invest equal efforts in attaining a new lead and leading them from the top of the funnel to the bottom until the sales process ends with the purchase.
Also, make sure to keep the sales cycle going by nurturing existing customers with new marketing campaigns and marketing tactics. By handling the sales-qualified leads properly with the help of the sales funnel you can increase the conversion rates as well.
Reach out to Appointments.co for more marketing and sales-related information, as well as to seek more business growth by fixing appointments with your customers.
Illustrations – Storyset