Sales is the backbone of every industry. It does not matter what type of business you run, to bring in the revenue, you directly or indirectly need a solid sales process. Once you have that process in place, all you need to do is convert a lead to a customer. But it also differs from business to business. If it's B2B or B2C sales, the important part is that the sales reps should understand a lead’s journey; or else it will be like shooting in the dark.
What is a Sales Funnel?
A sales funnel can be defined as the process by which your prospects go through before they become your customer. It can be explained by taking an example of an inverted pyramid. Here at the top of the pyramid are your top potential customers. Now when the sales reps start conversations with them, they start moving down through different sales funnel stages and then ultimately towards the end of the funnel getting closed by your sales team.
Now that we already know what is a sales funnel, let us talk about its importance.
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Why is Sales Funnel Important?
To improve your sales and drive more traffic to your product, thus increasing your revenue, you need to have knowledge of your customer journey.
Sales funnels actually help you illustrate the path that your customer takes to reach you. When you have details of the journey, using a proper sales funnel will make you understand the leakages that exist and look clearly at the sales funnel stages where the customer does not convert. A wider perspective of this will help your team to know where they need to put extra effort.
1. Helps You Create A Marketing Strategy
When you find that the current marketing strategies are not helping you bring any profit, in that situation a sales funnel comes to rescue. It helps you prioritize and choose a sustainable business model that you would need to help you succeed
You can also focus your attention on those clients who are in the decision stage on your sales funnel stage. It becomes easy to convert these customers who are in the decision stage by pushing them down where they can take action and you can close the deal.
2. It Helps You To Know Your Customer Better
In sales, communication is everything. The way you talk about your product and discuss it with the customers can help you push them down towards the end of the sales funnel. To make this easy and improve your communication process, you can use conversation intelligence technology that helps your sales team understand calls and close more deals, every single day.
3. Create More Sales
When you choose a strong marketing strategy, it will help you connect with your customers better. And when you do so, you know where your customers are stuck, and you will definitely bring them to the end of the sales funnel stage to get them converted and close the deal.
When you have mastered the game of sales funnel, you would be able to make more sales in the long run. The principle of the sales funnel is learning how to pull them systematically towards your desired outcome.
If you want to make a strong sales funnel you have to understand the different stages of the sales funnel that comes along.
5 Important Sales Funnel Stages
There are 4 stages of every sales funnel. They help you understand what the customer is thinking and their mindset. If you don’t want things to go ugly, you need to have a different approach to every sales funnel stage.
If you are someone like me who does not remember every stage of the sales funnel, use the acronym AIDAR. It will make it easy to remember. So now let us go through the 5 stages of the sales funnel.
1. Awareness Stage
The awareness stage is at the top of the sales funnel stages. Here the entire focus is to spread your product/service’s name at the right places. This will bring in more visibility to your brand and you will start collecting leads. Since you don’t want to restrict your audience to a particular section, you can start spreading a wide net and keep things generalized.
So when people come searching for the solutions to their problems, you can make them aware of your product/service. There are multiple ways you can create your brand awareness.
1. Write content about the pain points of your customer
2. Place your ads on social media platforms
3. Optimize your content for the search engine
4. Guest posting or guest podcasting
5. Creating Ebooks and whitepapers from your experiences and statistics
6. Hosting webinars
7. Sharing videos
9. In-person events
It is very important that the content that you feed at this stage of the sales funnel should not only be informative, but it should also be witty. This is your chance to woo these people so that they can be your buyers.
2. Interest & Validation
When you bring your lead from the awareness stage, they move to the second stage called the interest and validation stage. This means that you have succeeded in getting the attention of your lead who is looking for a solution to their problems. But this still does not confirm that they will make a purchase.
Here you should start building relationships with your leads to check if they qualify for your product. This lead qualification process will let you find their end goals.
To check these, read the below ideas that you can develop.
1. Sending cold email campaigns
2. Lead magnets
4. Social media accounts
5. Free trials
6. Retargeting campaigns
Use a CRM such as ActiveCampaign CRM or an Email Tracking tool to check what are the links that they clicked. Also, look out for what kind of posts they like and dislike on social media. These things are not useful in this stage but they help you create a foundation for the below stages. So when you take the leads into the next stage, you can set your sales pitch according to the activities you have tracked before.
If you have reached this stage, bingo. You have aced the above stages. But still, this is not the stage that you should celebrate. In this decision stage, most of the leads might blow out and that is not under your control.
Your prospects are not sure if they want to purchase your offerings. Issues like budget constraints or approval from the decision-makers may lead to a longer sales cycle.
You can use the below ideas to help your leads move down the decision stage.
1. Show them your client testimonials.
2. Let them compare the pricing
3. Share them your case studies
4. Offer them Discount codes
5. Present them your customer reviews and product recommendations
6. Show them live demos or tutorial webinars
7. Give them Consultations
8. Compare the products for them.
Here you can show them what it would be like if they become your customer, what can they expect in return to the investment that they have put into your products or services, and make this process seamless for them to decide.
This is the most interesting stage. Most of the actions will happen here.
If you would have properly nurtured the lead, you would be ready to close the deal and convert your prospect.
A good sales rep will end the conversation here But a better sales rep would want to gain more. Extent your relationship further by educating these customers about your product/service. Introduce your customer success team here. You want your customer to not only buy your product but also increase their productivity with your solution. You can use educational materials to help them for example.
Here are a few kinds of content to include at the action stage of the sales funnel:
1. Insider or customer success tips
2. Special offers
3. Product implementation or training webinars
4. Bundled packages
5. Follow-up email campaigns
There is a trick to this stage. If you put the extra efforts of educating and helping your customers to gain success, then reaching this stage is smooth. You can increase your sales from 25% - 95% just by retaining 5% of your customers
You can also re-engage with your customers as you already share a good relationship with them.
Here are some ideas to re-engage customers:
1. Referral programs
2. Upsell campaigns
3. Re-engagement email campaigns
4. Product-specific webinars and tutorials
5. Live demonstrations
The sales funnel is one of your most critical growth processes. If you have a proper sales funnel, an organization can increase its sales surpassing their sales quotas.
closing deals faster, and improving its sales processes.
But most of the companies suffer from disorganized and not so optimized sales funnel.
Well, if you want to help your sales team understand the customer requirements and market sentiments that will bring your team closer to the market reality, use the free trial of Convin for 30 days.
Results first, payment later.