A sales funnel is a marketing process that moves prospective customers through a series of actions. When someone decides to check out a product or service, they will move through the sales funnel, dropping off at each stage until finally converting into an actual paying customer. Of course, this happens in many situations when websites are involved. A person goes to Google and types in "Viruses" and then clicks on several articles about what viruses are all about before ultimately buying an anti-virus software package. This is an example of someone moving along the sales funnel.
Sales funnels can help both marketers and business owners alike by illustrating how leads progress over time. Since every lead is different, it's for most people to exactly pinpoint where leads are dropping out at each stage. This is why tools such as sales funnel software can be of immense value for companies since they help marketers get a better idea of where leads are getting lost and how to fix the problem.
A sales funnel typically has five stages:
- Awareness (the "Awareness" stage in the funnel) - The person hasn't heard anything about your product yet, and becomes aware of it through an ad/marketing campaign.
- Interest (the "interest" stage in the funnel) - When people move to this stage they are starting to become more interested in what you're offering them, but haven't committed to buying just yet. They may continue browsing your website or checking out some other pages on it before moving along further into the sales funnel.
- Desire (the "desire" stage in the funnel) - This is when someone has seen enough information regarding your product that they feel like they understand what it does and how it will benefit them. They still aren't completely convinced, but they likely will be soon. The desire stage is typically where many people find themselves right before buying your product, and this is why it's important to always continue keeping them interested and informed.
- Decision (the "decision" stage in the funnel) - Now we're at the final stages of the sales funnel – the decision-making phase. At this point, someone has either already bought your product or decided not to purchase it as well as take any other actions you might be hoping for such as sharing their email with you so that you can contact/upsell them later on.
- Action (at this point, a person has now become a customer) - A person successfully moves from the decision stage to the action stage by taking the desired action. Perhaps they have downloaded a free eBook or filled out a form for more information. Whatever it may be, if your goal is to have people take some sort of action with you after going through your sales funnel, then you want to ensure that this happens at the final stage before they become customers.
What a sales funnel can tell?
With its help, you can understand how effective your business is. To do this, you should perform a conversion calculation. It is measured as a percentage and demonstrates the relationship between the maximum possible and real results. Let's give an example.
You are developing websites and have set up targeted advertising on social media networks. You got 120 conversions out of 1000 views. The conversion of this stage can be calculated by the following formula: 120/1000 * 100%. We got a CTR (click-through rate) of 12%. 12 people out of 120 left an application, so the conversion at this stage is 10%. Out of 12, only 3 people made a purchase, which means that the conversion of the last stage is 25%.
When the sales funnel is built and the data is read, you can analyze and identify the weaknesses of the business. This will make it clear why 9 potential buyers did not complete the deal, what influenced it (poor managerial performance, high prices, or something else). The sales funnel provides information about the following points:
- Where is the maximum churn of potential customers?
- Which consumer segments are interested in your product or service
- What needs to be finalized, what processes to add
- What should be removed
- How effective is a business or a specific advertising campaign
Getting into the sales funnel means that you have made your first sale. It probably took a lot of time and effort to reach this stage, but it's very important to ensure that people continue buying from you. This is why it's good to keep track of what happens next at the final stage of the sales funnel - action. Your customers are now ready to become your regular customers, so make sure they do! The more successful conversions there are, the more data you will be able to collect for analysis which will allow you to understand where improvements need to be made in order to increase future conversions/sales.
The sales funnel can vary in length depending on how long it takes someone to go from one stage to another and what actions you're hoping them to complete along the way. Typically speaking though, all sales funnels move people along somehow until finally converting into actual paying customers. This is why having awareness of where leads are dropping off can often help business owners fix the problem, so they can ultimately move them through the sales funnel and generate more revenue in the long run.