Why Sales Funnels Work and How to Make Yours Successful

MARKETING TIPS | 10 MINUTES

What is a Sales Funnel?

A sales funnel is a process that moves prospects from the initial stage of awareness or interest to their goal, which is usually conversion into a paying customer.

It is a framework that marketers use to track the progress of leads through the company’s sales process. It is typically designed in the shape of an inverted pyramid. It starts with the widest part at the top (the widest part represents all potential customers) and narrows to individual customers at the bottom (representing actual sales).

A typical sales funnel is divided into five stages: Awareness, Interest, Evaluation, Purchase and Repeat/Referrals.

  • Awareness stage: It’s when potential customers are aware of your company or product.
  • Interest stage: The customer is interested in your company or product but needs more information on it before making a decision.
  • Evaluation stage: The customer has decided to evaluate your company or product but will need more information before making a purchase decision.
  • Purchase stage: When the customer makes a purchase or conversion on your website or in person. 
  • Repeat/referral stage: When the customer becomes an advocate for you and encourages others to buy your product or service.

How a Sales Funnel is Different from a Website?

One of the main ways sales funnels differ from websites is that a website will have multiple navigation points whereas a sales funnel will have just a single point of action where the visitor can either enter his email, click a video, make a purchase, etc. 

This way, a sales funnel is much more conversion oriented than a traditional website. The idea behind a sales funnel is to take the uncertainty out of the buying decision by guiding people through a systematic process that goes from solving their problem, to educating them about your product or service, to finally making the purchase.

The fundamental goals of a website and a sales funnel are different in nature and they can be summarised as below,

Sales Funnels:

– Build an attractive offer,

– Capture leads through landing pages,

– Guide visitors through the buying process with personalized messages,

– Convert visitors into buyers,

– Allow customers to make repeat purchases,

Website:

– Generate interest in your business or cause, product or service online,

– Provide more information on your product or service with details on features, pricing, etc.

– Provide a way for your customers or clients to contact you,

– Improve the overall branding of your business,

– Building social proof for your business with details of your existing clients and customers, testimonials, etc.,

– Give a detailed insight of your business with an in-depth ‘About Us’ page.,

– Provide information about your team members, office locations, etc. 

– Informing your clients on your company culture, things you stand for as a brand,

– Build relationships with potential customers.

Factors to consider in order to build a high-converting sales funnel

As effective as sales funnels are in driving up conversions and revenue for your business, it is important to consider the following factors while building them. Let’s have a look at these factors,

1) Attract the right prospects in order to get them interested in what you are offering

If the right prospects are not attracted to the sales funnel, then the chances of making a sale are slim.

First, it is important to understand what defines a good prospect. They are people who have some level of interest in what is being offered at the funnel.

Second, if your offer is a B2C product, they must have some disposable income or have access to funds that are not being used elsewhere. Then, they should be at least somewhat knowledgeable about the product or service being offered at this stage of the funnel.

Third, prospects must have an established desire for what is being offered at this stage of the funnel. It may be that they don’t know how their problem will be solved yet but they just need more information before they decide on buying something from you.

2) Qualification of leads

Once you have brought in prospects and leads into the funnel, the next most important aspect is to qualify the leads and see how likely they are to make a purchase. 

It is a vital step as not all leads are equal for your business and their value has to be evaluated at the earliest stage possible so that you do not waste more resources towards less valuable leads. This is known as lead scoring or lead qualification.

Lead qualification is mainly based on the following factors,

  • Demographic data about the lead,
  • How likely it is that the lead will convert,
  • How much effort it takes to reach out and contact them,
  • And finally, how much potential revenue can be created from this lead.

The time you spend on qualifying your leads provides you with many advantages such as

  • Fewer resources are spent on unqualified prospects,
  • By identifying your key targets, you will be able to tailor your marketing efforts to reach them effectively,
  • It brings your Cost of Customer Acquisition (CAC) significantly down,
  • You can target your market more precisely by understanding the needs and interests of your prospects,
  • It lets you come up with offers for each potential customer so they can find something unique they would want

3) Nurturing leads to convert into paying customers

Nurturing leads is a critical step in the sales funnel conversion process. Your prospects need to build trust in your company before they are ready to buy your product or service. 

A typical way to do this is through lead nurturing which consists of sending emails or using tools like webinars for example to get information about potential buyers’ needs and show how your products can meet these needs.

The purpose of nurturing leads is to provide prospects with a series of content, whether it be educational or interactive, that they need to become paying customers. 

You can use two types of lead nurturing techniques: prospecting and retargeting.

The prospecting technique consists of sending information about your company and products to potential customers through email, social media, and forums. 

The retargeting technique consists of following up on past interactions with prospects by sending them ads or promotional material via email or social media.

Nurturing leads also helps you by letting you know which prospects need more attention and which ones are less interested, so that you can focus on the right people. 

This helps increase your lead conversion rate and reduce your spent time, effort and money on uninterested leads.

Lead nurturing also provides a meaningful opportunity for companies to build relationships, answer questions, and provide resources that will help their prospects make informed decisions about the company’s products or services. 

4) Customer Retention and Increased Lifetime Value

There are plenty of reasons why customer retention is important:

  • It saves time and money by decreasing lead generation costs and optimizing conversion rates,
  • Increases customer lifetime value,
  • Helps to build trust with customers,
  • It generates positive communication between customers and your company and helps in the overall branding. 

5) Use the right Software tools for your Funnel

Sales funnels can be simple or complex in design and can include many moving parts. There are many things to keep in mind when building a sales funnel but there are two key components:

  • A clear understanding of what you want your customer to do when they start interacting with your business or brand,
  • A system that will work for your unique audience, which will increase the likelihood of conversion.

In order to achieve the above mentioned points, it is important to use the right software tools to map, build, and track your funnel. 

Tools like MarketPlan will help you with easing the whole process by making it so efficient to map your whole funnel before building it and track how well it converts in order to keep optimizing it continuously. 

There are no shortage of funnel builders in the market, but it is crucial to choose the right one that suits your exact requirements and patterns of usage. 

The Tools you are using ideally must be,

  • Easy to use and understand,
  • Intuitive to navigate,
  • Collaborate with your team members and work together effectively,
  • Offering good value for your money that helps your business grow. 

Conclusion

A sales funnel when done right can be an incredibly important source of revenue generator for a business. They provide a framework for marketing campaigns to ensure that they are providing value to customers at each stage of the campaign. 

However, in order to be a funnel to be effective, it is important to make sure you follow the right steps as explained above. See how you can use MarketPlan for free to start mapping your own funnels today!

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