Sales funnel at times called sales process is each step that someone has to take in order to become your customer.
Any marketing channel can be part of your sales funnel. And your funnel might be spread across several channels.
Why is a sales funnel important?
Your sales funnel illustrates the path prospects take.
Understanding your funnel can helps you find the holes in the funnel — the places where prospects drop out and never convert.
If you don’t understand your sales funnel, you can’t optimize it. We’ll go into the specifics of how the funnel works below, but for now, understand that you can influence how visitors move through the funnel and whether they eventually convert.
While there are lots of words used to describe different sales funnel stages, we’re going to go with the four most common terms to explain how each stage works as a consumer goes from a visitor to a prospect to a lead to a buyer.
A visitor lands on your website through a Google search or social link. He or she is now a prospect. The visitor might check out a few of your blog posts or browse your product listings. At some point, you offer him or her a chance to sign up for your email list.
If the visitor fills out your form, he or she becomes a lead. You can now market to the customer outside of your website, such as via email, phone, or text — or all three.
Leads tend to come back to your website when you contact them with special offers, information about new blog posts, or other intriguing messages. Maybe you offer a coupon code.
The sales funnel narrows as visitors move through it. This is partially because you’ll have more prospects at the top of the funnel than buyers at the bottom, but also because your messaging needs to become increasingly targeted.
4 Sales Funnel Stages.
This is the moment at which you first catch a consumer’s attention. It might be a tweet, a Facebook post shared by a friend, a Google search, or something else entirely.
Your prospect becomes aware of your business and what you offer.
When the chemistry is just right, consumers sometimes buy immediately. It’s a right-place, right-time scenario. The consumer has already done research and knows that you’re offering something desirable and at a reasonable price.
When consumers reach the interest stage in the sales funnel, they’re doing research, comparison shopping, and thinking over their options. This is the time to swoop in with incredible content that helps them, but doesn’t sell to them.
If you’re pushing your product or service from the beginning, you’ll turn off prospects and chase them away. The goal here is to establish your expertise, help the consumer make an informed decision, and offer to help them in any way you can.
The decision stage of the sales funnel is when the customer is ready to buy. He or she might be considering two or three options — hopefully, including you.
This is the time to make your best offer. It could be free shipping when most of your competition charges, a discount code, or a bonus product. Whatever the case, make it so irresistible that your lead can’t wait to take advantage of it.
At the very bottom of the sales funnel, the customer acts. He or she purchases your product or service and becomes part of your business’s ecosystem.
Just because a consumer reaches the bottom of the funnel, however, doesn’t mean your work is done. Action is for the consumer and the marketer. You want to do your best to turn one purchase into 10, 10 into 100, and so on.
An example of a sales funnel.
- Awareness: You created a Facebook ad to funnel (pun intended) people to your website.
- Interest: You offer something of value in exchange for lead capture.
- Decision: Your content informs your audience and prepares them for a purchase.
- Action: You offer a coupon your leads can’t resist, then begin marketing to them again to boost retention.