From initiating contact with people and keeping the communication until they become customers is sales funnel. The art of opening a conversation in various modes of communication decides the number of closures which can be expected, the more number of prospects who respond to your first note are the ones who will get through the filtration where various aspects will be checked like eligibility, interest, time for conversion and most of all the thought process of buying from competitors. There are various sales funnel stages depending upon the nature of business and while building a sales funnel a few points must be considered for a smooth flow or the loopholes will let the prospects find another way.
- A verified lead
- On-time contact or follow up
- No communication barriers
- Answer to all questions
The main motive of a sales funnel should be to convert cold prospects into a hot lead; a good follow up of the sales funnel allows the team to know the current status of possibility of conversion and if there are fewer chances than change the way of approach. The visual representation of a sales funnel is as the word funnel, wide on top, and narrow at the bottom. There are various kinds of sales funnel, as mentioned above, based upon the nature of business, for example, the stages of an E-commerce funnel might differ a little from marketing sales funnel but the motive remains the same, conversion of prospects into customers. The sales funnel is the journey of the prospect where its duty of the sales team to have proper communication with the prospect. The sales funnel shows whether the prospect was called or not is it a qualified or not and for all of it to be on record it is advised to use a funnel CRM.
The widest part of the sales funnel includes getting the lead into it and making the prospect aware of your product this is a platform where your prospect can be in your competitor’s funnel too. The right mode of communication with the prospect and making sure there are is no communication gap takes the prospect down thru the funnel. Making sure that the prospect is aware of the product or whatever the sale target is very necessary.
Sales funnel stages:
Although it can be debated at any given time that finding eligibility also has to be one of the concerns, well that completely depends upon the type of leads you are dropping in the funnel. Having the right leads is very important as the funnel should function smoothly and stick to the process. It is also another scenario where the leads you have were not generated by any promotions or paid ads but organically the prospects landed on your website. Once they start getting aware of the facilities or benefits that you are offering the next stage creates the finest of the impression and is the biggest factor to decide the conversion.
Interest: at this stage, the prospect is actively looking for different possibilities through answers by various sources and is trying to reach their motive. There are high possibilities of the prospect searching for these answers on Google, time to nail the prospect with the right content is very much needed, and you can attract them with quality and meaningful content as for the organic clients they will indicate by following you on social media or subscribing to your newsletter.
Decision: the decision to take advantage of the solution offered by you can take time, the sales offers can push the prospects to make this decision at the earliest regular follow-ups through calls can help or webinars sales pages, etc can help you for the conversion.
Action: Time where prospect turns into a customer, the concerned agree to the terms and conditions or signs the contract and hits the purchase button. This should not stop the conversation or communication with the customer as there are high chances of another purchase and not just that but also to maintain the reputation with the customer for better relations which ultimately maintains your online reputation too.
Retention: As mentioned earlier, the conversion of the prospect should not stop communication with the customer. The focus on this stage should be to keep the customers happy and no other statement other than the one from your customer boosts and maintains your reputation on digital platforms. Existing customers can increase their revenue by purchasing more products from you. It is necessary to keep a healthy relation with them.
What are marketing and sales funnel?
There is a very thin gap between sales and marketing funnel, while marketing funnel focuses highly on awareness and lead generation the sales funnel is to convert the leads into customers. It is pretty much agreed that marketing funnel is to make sure brand awareness is happening at regular times and the brand is being recognized which ultimately helps to generate leads.
How to build a sales funnel from scratch:
Analyze the behavior of your audience, you cannot sell your product to everybody, there has to be a selected audience to whom you try to reach thru posts or paid ads, whatever may be the mode, the message of awareness has to be loud and clear. The audience should look forward to more. Capturing the attention has to be creative and needs to be done with different modes and at this stage, organic results matter the most. If you have a good budget then run the ads on the required platform where according to your analysis audience is likely to be present and respond.
Build a landing page:
The user experience or the first impression of your website has to be satisfying, have a dedicated landing page for the expected users or surfers; it has to be friendly enough to make the user take the next step. The landing page plays a crucial role in setting the expectations, as the word goes “the first impression is the last impression”. It is important to write attractive and meaningful content, content which is completely related to the link on which the user has clicked, anything which is unrelated and not attention-seeking may lead the user to close the tab and move on, effecting your sale and bounce rate at the same time.
Create your sales funnel:
What complicates the situation and also makes it interesting at the same time is that you cannot have the same sales funnel for all your prospects, everyone has their own needs for the products you are offering. They might use it differently from others or gift it to someone else a same approach for all the customers can lead the customer away from your funnel.
One of the best approaches to understand the customer’s requirement and state of mind is to talk to them. By this approach, you can cover the gap between your product and customer’s understanding, more of all it builds a good rapport with the customer. Make a list of a few important questions to be asked. At the same time also ask if the prospects have tried any solutions for the challenges they faced. When you have all the required details (have a good list of questions to be asked, necessary eligibility criteria, and time frame in which customer is looking forward to buying the product, etc) it will help you to bring the prospect smoothly thru the sales funnel, for which again you need to have content created which meets the basic criteria or the needs of the customer, keep the lead warm with emails and other modes of communication.
As mentioned above about having different sales funnel, it also makes sense to create a customer’s persona.
The sales funnel is just a good design if there are no leads, in the current scenario the world is on a platter for all of us, online marketing has opened many doors of opportunities for small scale to large scale businessmen and entrepreneurs. There are various ways to generate leads, social networking sites, and search engines that will help you to generate enough leads. There are two modes of generating these leads, one is organic and the other is paid. While the organic traffic to your website and details submission helps you to cut down the finances and at the same time increases the chances of ranking up, paid traffic can consume your amount depending upon the nature of your product and once you stop paying that means no traffic no leads. While performing these activities you will automatically get to know about the lead funnel.
To maintain rapport and keep the customer engaged we can follow few steps required in online sales funnel. Regular posts on social media, blogs, videos, or more of all maintain a social media calendar.
While all the steps are followed from time to time your sales funnel strategy brings the prospects to the stage of closure. Closures can be done with various approaches; team can choose to do it with sales pages with such an approach it is necessary to make the customer feel secured about his payment details. Sales calls, a personal visit, or webinars.
As you follow the entire process you will realize there are different phases in the funnel, the prospect’s mindset keeps challenging the sale and hurdles like evaluation and decision take time. If it is B2B sales than the renew process and if it is B2C than repurchase phase.
Next time you set your goals, do go through marketing and sales funnel stages, design flow for the prospects and follow it accordingly, cover the loopholes where the prospects might end up in your competitors funnel, regular follow-ups without disturbing the client, like videos, newsletters and soft calls often give a fine touch to the base of the funnel.
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