What Is a Sales Funnel? The Guide to Making Your Website Your Best Salesman.
I often talk with my clients about their website’s sales funnel (or conversion funnel). Many new entrepreneurs—and even seasoned business owners—are unsure what a sales funnel is, or even whether or not they have one. So let’s talk about it here!
Do I Have a Sales Funnel?
Do you sell a product on your website? Do you offer a service through your website? If the answer to either of those questions is yes, then yup: You have a sales funnel on your site.
But is your sales funnel working for you?
What’s a Sales Funnel?
Visualize a funnel, collecting and directing from a large area to a specific space. A sales funnel guides a potential customer to the threshold of purchase. The success of the sales funnel is all about the customer’s journey from a prospect to a committed customer. Building a strong and effective sales funnel can increase the number of prospects who go from awareness to action.
Stages of the Sales Funnel
There are five classic stages of the sales funnel:
Awareness – This is the education stage of the sales funnel. An individual learns they have a problem and they’re beginning to explore solutions. This is when they become a prospect.
Discovery – Here is where you get found. The prospect is looking for a solution to their problem or a way to achieve their goal. They’re beginning to look online, searching for the right answer to their need. They find out that you exist, and they’re learning about what you offer and how your product or service solves an existing pain point for them. This is the stage where you’ve found this is a qualified prospect and you’ve saved their information for further contact.
Evaluation – At this point, your potential customer has some interest. At this stage, your potential client is ready to read, learn, and get ready to make a decision. They might show you their interest by following you on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or another social media platform, or by joining your email subscription list. This is when you have the chance to demonstrate your product/service—perhaps with a demo or an eBook.
Decision/desire – This is when the prospect is ready to make a decision. They’re weighing your sales options and packages, prepared to move to purchase. This is the negotiation stage; a good time to make sales offers.
Action – At the final stage, your client is taking an action to purchase. This is your ultimate goal. You want your client to reach this stage of the funnel, then make the jump to conversion. This is when your close is won or lost.
Initially, the prospect will only be willing to take “low risk” steps to express interest or to learn more about your product. These types of steps might include downloading an eBook, or providing an email address. The prospect’s willingness to commit to further steps in the sales funnel depends on their level of interest. A great sales funnel can encourage those steps.
What Makes a Great Sales Funnel?
You’ll find that the most effective sales funnels share some common features:
The customer is supported with appropriate and increasing requests at each stage of the journey.
Messaging is consistent across all platforms and from all departments at your company.
You plug up “leaks” in the funnel with clear, consistent follow-up, reclaiming otherwise lost leads.
You are able to forecast your sales revenue more accurately due to the clearly defined stages of your funnel.
Are There “Leaks” In Your Sales Funnel?
Some of the most common reasons for a leaky conversion funnel include:
Failure to follow up. Business News Daily reports that almost half (48%) of sales reps fail to follow up with prospects, and only 10% of sales reps make over three contacts with a prospect. BUT, did you know that 80% of sales actually close between the fifth and 12th contact? Don’t lose a great sale just because you failed to keep in consistent contact with them. You can automate that constant contact using new digital marketing strategies.
Taking “no” for an answer too easily! Many people say “no” to a sales pitch simply because it’s not the right time. When does “no” mean “no” and when does “no” mean “not right now?” Create a follow-up email campaign that systematically addresses the prospective client’s concerns or explains the points they don’t understand.
Taking a long time to follow up. The longer you take to follow-up with a prospect, the more likely you are to lose the sale. In fact, if you follow up within five minutes of the first point of contact, the prospect is nine times more likely to convert. That conversion rate drops to 21 times less likely if the prospect has to wait over 30 minutes for you to contact them! A good solution is an automated response in the form of a personalized email.
In future blog posts, I’ll tell you more about how to build an effective sales funnel that encourages your leads to take action now. We’ll also talk about ways to plug up “leaks” in your sales funnel, and how to use the most effective tools to increase your conversion rates. If you’d like helping building a website that works for you, contact me for a free consultation!