If you’re running a business, you’ve probably heard the term ‘sales funnel’. And if you’re like most people, you might be wondering what this term means and whether or not you need a funnel for your business.
A funnel is essential for anyone who wants to increase revenue, grow their business, improve customer loyalty, get more referrals, and improve brand awareness. The way you plan your funnel may vary depending on your industry, but there are some common steps that all funnels include.
In this article, we will discuss why your business needs a sales funnel and some of the benefits of using one. We will also illustrate the difference between a traditional and digital sales funnel. No matter what type of business you have, you can (and should) incorporate some kind of funnel.
Why Your Business Needs A Sales Funnel?
A sales funnel is the backbone of a business, and there are several reasons why your business needs one.
A well-designed sales funnel can help you:
- Increase revenue – If used correctly, a sales funnel can help you increase revenue by converting leads into customers and then upselling higher-priced products or services.
- Grow your business – You can also use funnels to grow your business by increasing the number of leads you generate and then converting those leads into customers.
- Increase customer loyalty – In addition, a sales funnel can help improve customer loyalty by providing an excellent customer experience at each stage of the buyer’s journey. The various stages your prospect goes through will create a sense of anticipation and excitement, culminating in them purchasing your product or service.
- Get more referrals – A sales funnel can also help you get more referrals from current and past customers by providing an excellent product or service that they love.
- Improve your brand awareness and reputation – Lastly, a sales funnel can help improve your brand awareness and reputation by helping more people learn about your product or service. Better targeting, increased visibility, and better customer experience will all work together to improve your reputation.
These benefits are essential for any business, big or small.
Before we go deeper, let’s do a quick recap of what a typical sales funnel is. Understanding the basics will help us apply them later on.
1. Sales Funnel Basics to Understand the Working
A sales funnel is a series of steps that takes a potential customer through a journey from awareness to action.
The first stage in a typical sales funnel is ‘awareness.’ In this stage, the potential customer becomes aware of your product or service.
The second stage is ‘interest.’ Here, your prospect or lead begins to develop an interest in your product or service.
The third stage is ‘desire.’ At this stage, the prospective buyer begins to desire your product or service and starts to see how it can benefit them.
The fourth and final stage is ‘action.’ This is where the prospective buyer takes action and decides to purchase your product or service.
Together, these four stages make up the anatomy of a sales funnel, commonly referred to as the AIDA Framework: Awareness, Interest, Decision, and Action.
And as you can see, each stage is essential in the process of guiding a potential customer.
This breakdown is mainly used in the context of a business that sells products.
However, in its truest form, sales funnel techniques can be used for any type of transaction that involves multiple parties.
2. The Purpose of a Sales Funnel
The primary purpose of a sales funnel is to convert leads into customers.
But it’s not just about making a sale; it’s also about building relationships with current and future customers.
A well-planned sales funnel will help you make more sales and increase customer loyalty and referrals.
Ultimately, the goal of a sales funnel is to guide your potential customers through the several stages of the buyer’s journey and then bring them as close as possible to taking the desired action.
The desired action may vary depending on the business you operate and the goals you have for your funnel.
In most cases, the goal is to get a sale (hence the name ‘sales funnel’).
So, you see, a sales funnel is an essential part of doing business, regardless of the industry you’re in.
It’s the process by which you turn browsers into buyers, and it’s a process that all businesses should implement.
The problem arises when people misconstrue that the idea of having a sales funnel is limited to a business that has an online presence.
A funnel is a process that takes place between two or more people, regardless of whether those people are communicating face-to-face, through the mail, or online.
The Sales Funnel For An Offline Business
Having a sales funnel doesn’t mean that your business needs to have an online presence.
While a digital sales funnel is often the most effective tool, you can also have a physical sales funnel for brick-and-mortar businesses.
For example, an offline clothing store could have a sales funnel that starts with potential customers coming in and browsing the racks.
This would be considered the ‘awareness’ stage.
The ‘interest’ stage would be when the customer asks questions about a specific product or looks at the tags to see where it was made.
The ‘desire’ stage would be when the potential buyer brings the garment to the fitting room and tries it on.
And finally, the ‘action’ stage would be when the prospective buyer goes to the register and buys the garment.
In this example, you can see how an offline business can use the principles of a sales funnel to guide prospects through the stages of the customer journey.
If it’s successful, it can eventually turn them into actual buyers.
As a matter of fact, every business, whether intentionally or not, has a sales funnel already in place.
The only difference is that some businesses have more refined and effective funnels than others.
The Sales Funnel For An Online Business
A digital sales funnel is the most effective way to sell products and services online because it allows you to track and measure every step of the buyer’s journey.
For example, let’s say that you’re an online retailer that sells kitchen appliances. Your sales funnel might look something like this:
The ‘awareness’ stage would be when a potential customer sees an ad for your kitchen appliances on social media or in a search engine.
They may then click on the ad to learn more about your products.
The ‘interest’ stage would be when a potential customer visits your website and browses through your kitchen appliance catalog.
They may then add a product to their cart but not purchase it.
The ‘desire’ stage would be when a potential customer adds a product to their cart and proceeds to the checkout page but abandons the purchase.
The ‘action’ stage would be when a potential customer finally completes the purchase.
These steps might look very similar to a traditional sales funnel, but there are some key differences.
First of all, online businesses have the advantage of being able to track every step of the buyer’s journey.
This allows them to see where potential customers are dropping off so they can make changes to their funnel accordingly.
Secondly, online businesses can use retargeting to bring potential customers back to their website and encourage them to complete a purchase.
Lastly, online businesses have the advantage of automating their sales funnel.
This means that they can set up your funnel one time and then let it run on autopilot while they focus on other aspects of the business.
The Benefits Of Having A Sales Funnel
If you’re still not sure whether or not you need a funnel, then consider the benefits of using one.
1. Better Targeting
One of the most significant benefits of a funnel is that it allows you to target your audience more accurately.
With a well-designed funnel, you can ensure that only the most interested people are getting through to your sales process.
This way, you’re not wasting time and money on marketing to uninterested people.
2. More Conversions & Qualified Leads
When you target your audience more accurately, you’ll see a higher conversion rate.
This is because the people who are making it through to your sales process are genuinely interested in what you have to offer.
Because they’re interested, they’re also more likely to buy from you. So not only do you see increased conversions, but you also get higher-quality leads.
3. Increased Revenue
All of these benefits lead to increased revenue.
When you have a sales funnel in place, you’ll be able to generate more revenue from your marketing efforts.
This is because you can target your audience more effectively, convert more leads into customers, and get better quality leads.
Examples of Businesses That Need a Sales Funnel
Now that we’ve gone over the benefits of having a sales funnel, let’s put things into perspective by looking at some examples of businesses that would benefit from using a sales funnel.
Example No. 1: You’re a Local Business
If you’re a local business, then you need to have a sales funnel in place if you want to survive. Why?
Because local businesses have to compete with other local stores as well as a variety of online companies.
To compete, you need to be able to reach more people and convert those people into customers. And that’s where your sales funnel comes in.
For example, let’s say that you’re a local florist. Your competition is other local florists and online flower delivery services.
To compete, you need to be able to reach more people and convince them that your flowers are superior in some way.
In this case, you could use a sales funnel to drive traffic to your website through social media or online ads. Then you can capture leads through an opt-in form.
You could then follow up with those leads through email marketing and eventually convert them into customers.
Example No. 2: You’re a Startup
If you’re a startup, you may be wondering if you even need a sales funnel.
The answer is yes – in fact, not having a sales funnel is one of the biggest mistakes you can make.
Here’s why: A sales funnel allows you to track and measure your progress as you scale your business.
Without a sales funnel, it’s impossible to tell how well your marketing efforts are working or whether or not your customers are actually converting into paying customers.
What’s more, a sales funnel gives you a clear picture of your customer’s journey from awareness to purchase.
This helps you optimize your marketing and sales efforts, thus improving your chances of converting more customers.
If you’re a startup, don’t make the mistake of thinking you can get by without a sales funnel.
A well-designed funnel will help you grow your business more quickly and efficiently.
Example No. 3: You’re a Boring Business
It’s no secret that the vast majority of businesses are boring. They offer mundane products and services that don’t really stand out from the competition.
And while there’s nothing wrong with being a boring business, it does make it harder to sell your products and services.
If you’re a boring business, you definitely need a sales funnel.
Using one will help you generate excitement for your products and services and make it easier to sell them.
You can achieve this by offering something unique and valuable that your target market wants.
For example, let’s say you’re a business that sells insurance. You could start by offering a free insurance policy review.
This would allow you to show your target market what makes your insurance different and better than the competition.
This is also an excellent way to spark awareness and interest.
Want Results? Create a Sales Funnel
In short, if you want to get results from your marketing efforts, you need a sales funnel.
But before you create a funnel for your business, ask yourself the following questions:
- What are my business goals?
- What is my target market?
- What unique value can I offer to my target market?
- Is my website a sales funnel?
Answering these questions will help you create a sales funnel that is tailored to your specific business and target market. And that’s a recipe for success.