It might sound like just another marketing buzz word but trust me, this one’s worth knowing about…
Because understanding your sales funnel can increase your sales.
See! Told you.
But let’s backpeddle a little. If the only funnel you know is the one in your kitchen – don’t worry.
We’ll start slowly.
Your sales funnel is your customer’s journey with you.
The moment someone becomes aware of your existence, they enter the top of your funnel and flow through various stages towards the bottom – the point where they commit to your offer, product or service.
But unlike a real funnel, not all of those prospects will reach the end. You’ll lose leads along the way. (But more on that later).
Why Should I Care?
Getting to grips with your sales funnel and spotting any holes means you can channel potential lost leads before they’re lost.
If you’re clued in to each step your prospective customer will take and what they’re thinking when they do, you can firm up your messaging and meet their needs at each stage.
In simple terms…
Optimise your funnel.
Give prospects what they need.
Turn leads into sales.
The Stages Of Your Sales Funnel
Prospective customers pass through four stages from the second they hear about you until they make a sale (or slip through the net).
There’s a nifty little acronym that’s used in the world of marketing to make these stages easy to understand and remember.
Not especially exciting or witty, I know, but it gets the job done…
So what does it stand for?
A = Awareness
Kick off. We enter this stage with you, quite literally, getting noticed.
Your potential customer might not know what they need yet. They might have seen your ad or heard your name from a friend.
Blogs, ads, social media posts, podcasts and webinars are all types of content that play a big role in drawing people into this stage because they boost your brand awareness.
I = Interest
If your potential customer likes what they’ve seen or heard, they will move from the Awareness stage into the Interest stage.
They now know what their problem is. They also know about you and what you offer, but they’re not ready to buy from you.
Prospects in the Interest stage will be comparing your wares to others in the market. Case studies and product comparisons are examples of content that can be used to reaffirm how you can help them.
D = Decision
Your prospect now fully understands their problem and is ready to buy. They are heavily considering what you are offering.
At this point, you need to sweeten the deal. Stand out.
Free trials or consultations are popular tactics to tip the scales in your favour.
Emails and sales pages are where this magic usually happens. Make an offer they can’t refuse and back it up with a risk-free guarantee where you can.
A = Action
This is it. Yay or nay. Either they buy from you, or they don’t.
If no purchase is made, all is not lost – you need to make sure nurture email campaigns are in place for those who don’t buy first time round. This keeps you fresh in their mind in case a need arises in the future.
And there we have it. From top to bottom. Getting it so far?
How To Create A Sales Funnel
As you can see, the needs of your customer change throughout their buying journey.
Understanding where your potential customer is in your sales funnel means you can match your content to suit…
But you’re going to need a funnel first. To make it super easy for you, you just need to follow these steps to create your very own.
Thank me later.
Step 1: Make A Landing Page
If you are actively marketing your business, you need a landing page.
Landing pages are simple pages on your website that are specifically created to speak to your customer’s need – and make them opt into your email list. When someone clicks on your ad or a link in your email, this is where you want them to end up.
Your landing page needs to do one thing and one thing alone: make them opt into your list.
Great landing pages include three very important things:
- A lead magnet. Entice prospects to give you their email address by offering a high-value freebie in exchange.
- An easy to use form. Make it easy for your prospect to give you their details.
- A clear call to action. Your prospect should know exactly what to do next.
Step 2: Look After That List
Bingo. Your lead magnet has worked and you’ve got a list. Your prospects are now officially interested, and of far more value to you.
If you don’t already know, (you should), work out exactly who your audience is. Grow your relationship and increase their trust in you by sending them nurture emails.
Nurture email campaigns educate, inform and entertain your postential customers. They do not sell. Save that for later, when they really like you. These emails are about prepping the ground for future sales.
Step 3: Nudge Towards A Decision
Pumping out all of that information encourages your prospects to filter through to the Decision stage.
Now that they feel informed, you can move towards clinching the deal with extra goodies.
Make them an offer with a sales email campaign, overcome their objections and convince them to take the leap and become a paying customer.
Step 4: Don’t Say Goodbye
It’s Action time. If they don’t buy from you this time, it’s okay. Don’t cut ties with them.
A separate nurture email campaign designed specifically for leads that didn’t convert will keep you in the role of trusted ally. You’ll be there when they need you (and happy to sell to them when they do).
And that is how to create your sales funnel from scratch.
Preventing Lost Leads With Sales Funnel Management
If your sales funnel isn’t producing many sales, you need to work out where the leads are leaking.
Even very warm leads can leak from your funnel if they’re not looked after.
Here are 4 common reasons you might be losing leads:
- You don’t know who you’re selling to. If you haven’t pegged the changing needs of your potential customers your content and messaging is going to be completely irrelevant and lose you sales.
- You don’t understand your sales process. Break down each stage. What actually happens? How are you following up with prospects that sign up to a webinar but don’t show?
- You’re abandoning prospects at the first hurdle. They didn’t buy from you, but a ‘no’ isn’t a ‘no’ forever. You’ve put time and effort into building this relationship, don’t disappear on them!
- You’re not contacting your leads enough. Persist! 80% of sales require 5 follow-ups.
Making It All Actually Work
It’s a lot of groundwork. I know.
Figuring out your customer personas and the way they wander through your sales process sounds like a huge job.
Creating content to speak to their different objections and changing needs feels challenging.
I can almost hear your panic… Responding quickly and often? Sending the right content at the right time?
Where are you going to find time for that?!
Automate Your Sales Funnel
Plenty of small businesses use marketing automation software to ease this strain.
This means you can:
- Map out your customer’s entire journey
- Build and maintain a streamlined sales process
- Ensure follow-ups are made
- Respond quickly
- Track sales with ease
And after all that, it’s easy to spot further cracks in the funnel.
Remember, data is your friend, and data-informed marketing decisions work.
The most important takeaway is this.
It is vital to deliver the right messages, in the right way, at the right time.
The needs of your prospects change throughout their buying journey with you. Determine exactly what those needs are at each stage and automate your sales process to deliver clear and consistent messaging.
Nudge your prospects towards a sale in the right way and they will make one.
All sound a bit much? Need help working out what your sales funnel looks like? Book a call with me and let’s start mapping it out.
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