Acquiring new customers is a vital activity for any business. Thoroughly built lead generation processes can provide a strong flow of new customers. The way the leads become your clients is called a sales funnel. Knowing the principles of its work will triple your profit.
What is a sales funnel?
A sales funnel can be described as a set of stages that the lead passes through before he becomes your customer. In general, the traditional sales funnel consists of 4 steps: awareness, interest, decision, and action. Retargeting can be added as the 5th stage. Nevertheless, this number can be customized in accordance with the business’s peculiarities.
Thoroughly elaborated sales funnel converts leads into customers more successfully. Studying the way your sales funnel works gives you a lot of important data for the analysis, which you can use to:
- See where the leads drop out and define weak points;
- Get a clear understanding of your audience’s behavioral patterns;
- Decrease the number of lost prospects;
- Master your communication;
- Improve the way your leads interact with your product.
Sales funnel stages
Let’s consider the main sales funnel steps in detail and how you can take the maximum out of them.
At this stage, people become aware of your company for the first time. It might happen through advertising, social media, from a friend, your blog, yourself, Google search, from anywhere. Sometimes you don’t even know about the existence of this source. That’s why feedback collection and traffic analytics are important activities.
The way the leads enter your WatcherMe sales funnel can be divided into two main categories: inbound and outbound. Inbound means that the prospect has found your company himself.
For example, he has been doing some search to find the solution for his task and encountered your business. Outbound means you contacting him with your proposal via cold email or banner ads.
In the ideal circumstances, the lead becomes your client at this step – he came, chose and, purchased. However, in most cases, you need to put in the extra effort.
At the second stage, the prospect is getting more acquainted with your company and the services you offer. That’s why you need to provide him with interesting and persuasive information about your products, show your expertise and gain his trust.
Remember, that your communication should be mild, otherwise you risk pushing the lead away. Endeavor to establish good relationships with your future clients.
If in the b2c area the decision is taken in general by one person. On the other hand, in the b2b sales funnel several people are involved in this process. At this stage, your prospect consults with decision-making officials.
They consider different solutions on the market, talk to your competitors, compare pricing and packages. The negotiation process may include a series of demo calls before the final document will be signed.
Be prepared to propose special terms – a discount, an exclusive pricing model, individual terms of cooperation, anything that would be more attractive than your competitors’ offer.
Action and Retargeting
This is the final stage of your funnel which may end up in the purchase or farewell. In the b2b a series of negotiations doesn’t obligatory lead to the closure of the deal. After collecting all the necessary information, a C-level executive may consider that your solution doesn’t fit their needs at the moment or choose competitors’ one.
Try to analyze the negotiation process and think about mistakes you may have made. Analyze the feedback you receive for a better understanding of your prospects’ fears and hesitations.
When the deal was successfully closed, think about the measures to be done for the retention: loyalty and referral programs, personal support manager, etc. Provide customers with personalized newsletters and build the content based on their user/ buyer experience.
Even if the prospect hasn’t become your customer, you may still keep in touch using personalized content, remarketing campaigns, or social media. You can create a new sales funnel specifically for this purpose.
Now, when we have reviewed the main stages, let’s consider the process of building a sales funnel.
How to make a sales funnel
Before you start, elaborate a short checklist defining who should be responsible for every stage of the funnel, what should be done, and where each step should be applied.
Then, think about your current customers and the analytics you already have: where they came from, how they became your clients, what attracted them. It helps to define the ways that work and existing gaps.
Remember, that the main goal of every step is to push the lead forward to the purchase. Create a sales funnel strategy to illustrate the results you need to achieve at every stage.
#1. Traffic sources
Create a sales funnel after defining where your customers are located and how you can engage them to the first step. Every source has its peculiarities which you need to explore and take into account. Put yourself in the position of the leads who will enter your sales funnel, is it clear what you want to tell them?
#2. Landing page
The landing page serves as the first meeting point where a new lead finds out about your product. The information you put there should clearly describe who you are, what do you offer, and what actions do you expect from your lead (call-to-action). The last point is important however, unfortunately, marketers often forget about it.
Add relevant illustrations and persuasive facts that distinguish your company from competitors.
One more thing that landing pages can do for you is to capture leads’ contact details. Insert a lead magnet with an exclusive offer that would be interesting for your potential clients. For example, if you are a research agency, propose a free guide where you provide free tips.
#3. Prospects nurturing
After the lead has left his contact details, add him to your email marketing campaign and educate him about your product. Try to adhere to the unobtrusive way of communication. The main purpose of lead nurturing is to establish long-term relationships with your potential customers, even if they are not ready to become your clients now and here.
Mix promotional letters with neutral ones. Share your experience, tips, case studies. Study open rates, click rates, and readers’ engagement to understand which content is more desirable.
Don’t stop constantly optimizing your current sales funnels. Evaluate every step and try to test new solutions that might bring more customers.
Managing sales funnels may be a hard nut to crack, as every business needs an individual approach. However, if you know the main pillars of building sales funnels it will be easier for you to fit them into your case. Undoubtedly, the more time you spend on analyzing the process and testing different approaches, the better results you receive.
Which challenges do you face in building a sales funnel for your business?