WHAT IS A SALES FUNNEL?
Hint: A sales funnel is not something you keep in the kitchen or use in beer drinking games!
A sales funnel represents a series of steps you want your prospects to take before they become a customer.
It is broken down in three stages: Top of the Funnel, Middle of The Funnel and Bottom of the Funnel. (See an example of a Sales Funnel diagram below.)
WHY IS A SALES FUNNEL IMPORTANT?
Every business owner should have an outline of their Sales process in order to gain a better perspective on how they’re tracking with their marketing efforts.
Having a clearly mapped out sales funnel is important because:
- It helps you visualise your customer’s journey: how a prospect becomes a customer.
- If you have a sales team, it helps them better qualify cold leads. The sales funnel helps the sales team know where the customer came from, i.e. which source (Facebook, Eventbrite, YouTube, LinkedIn etc)
- For a high performing Sales Team, the funnel helps businesses define their overall sales process where they can identify and thus remove any bottlenecks when it comes to closing out deals
- Which brings me to the following, a well-oiled sales funnel helps business owners and the Marketing team know exactly where to invest their marketing dollars and efforts in order to maximize the ROI
Image: Sales Funnel Explained with a Diagram
WHAT ARE THE STAGES OF A SALES FUNNEL?
Top of the Funnel – Awareness and Discovery
This is an early step in the customer’s journey. We all enter this step whenever we go out shopping. We just aren’t aware that we’re in someone’s “funnel”.
In this stage of the sales funnel process, customers have seen your shop or your website. They have just discovered you.
For example, you’ve seen Bumper Leads’ post about Sales Funnels on our Instagram page.
Now, you’ve got curious about the Bumper Leads’ brand and you decide to learn more about us and what we do.
Let’s hop on over to the Middle of the Funnel.
Middle of the Funnel – Researching & Learning
When a customer starts researching more about you, browsing your blog posts, your Instagram and Facebook feeds, checking out your LinkedIn profile, they are entering the Middle of the Sales Funnel.
In the example of Bumper Leads, the middle of the funnel would be a potential customer of ours reading this blog post and deciding to read other posts on our Blog. If they like what they see, they’ll connect with us on LinkedIn or follow us on our Facebook page. And if they’re interested in marketing automation, they’ll proceed to download our free checklist called “30+ Marketing Tasks to Automate & Save 10+ hours a week”
We’re now nearing the Bottom of the Funnel.
Bottom of the Funnel – Final Purchase Decision Making
This is the stage when a lead is now ready to buy your goods or hire your services.
The prospect has done their research on you, read testimonials and saw the social proof about your brand. They have even booked a ‘discovery call’ with one of your sales reps.
They’re now ready to buy.
You should know that each of the Sales Funnel stages we outlined above should have the thought-out steps that move prospects to action. Imagine, you’re gently guiding prospects to the cash register. It is up to you, as a business owner, to define these steps that move prospects to buy from you and become your customer.
(You can do the sales funnel mapping yourself but it might take you time especially if you don’t know where to start! Alternatively, you could hire someone like us, the team at Bumper Leads to help you suss out a winning sales funnel for your business.)
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE FOR A PROSPECT TO BECOME A CUSTOMER?
The only way to know this for sure is to test your sales funnel at each stage!
This means, split testing your Facebook Ads, optimizing your emails for higher open rates and click-through rates, simplifying your check out process, etc. Basically, make the sales process a ‘friction-less’ process.
We’ll cover more on split testing in the future posts. Keep your eyes open!
(On another note, if you’re interested in reading more about best Conversion Rates to track in your business, you should read this post on lead conversions and engagement metrics. Knowing what metrics to track is handy when you’re doing AB Split Testing!)
WHAT IS AN OFFLINE SALES FUNNEL?
Imagine ten people notice your beautiful shoe store on their way to work. One of them, Jane Bloggs is interested in checking out the window display, so she stops to have a look.
The scenario above is an example of the Top Funnel in an offline environment.
The middle of the funnel would look something like this:
Jane Bloggs proceeds to enter the store and sees a sign that says: ‘20% off ladies shoes’. She gets excited and starts looking at the ladies shoes. A shop assistant approaches Jane and offers to help her select the right type of shoe.
Jane asks about the material and shoe care. (Jane is in the learning and researching phase.)
The bottom of the sales funnel sees Jane trying the shoes on. Jane is happy how the shoes look on her so she proceeds to the register to buy them.
WHAT IS AN ONLINE SALES FUNNEL?
In an online world, an online store attracts the customer by paying for advertising, posting to social media or optimizing their website SEO for traffic.
At the top of the sales funnel, a potential customer Jane Bloggs discovers your online store on her Facebook feed, then starts browsing your site.
After a few seconds of browsing the site, a pop up appears informing Jane of Today’s Special Deals. She clicks on the pop up to browse more products. Jane sees a nice dress but she’s not sure about the sizes. She clicks to learn more about the dress, finds out the measurements and checks out the product reviews.
Jane is now in the Middle of the Sales Funnel.
What happens next? Jane is still not 100% convinced the dress would arrive in time for a friend’s birthday, so she looks for the store’s contact details. She notices a Customer Service chat box at the bottom right-hand corner, and decides to send a message to the sales team about delivery times.
While she waits for the reply she’s looking for information on Refunds and Returns. Jane needs a piece of mind that if the dress doesn’t fit, she could easily return it without any hassle.
A few minutes later, a customer service operator responds to Jane’s questions, confirms the item is in stock along with the delivery times if she were to order today.
Jane is now satisfied with her ‘research’ and proceeds to buy the dress.
Jane is now a customer.
Jane reaches the bottom of the Sales Funnel.
OVER TO YOU
If you had to draw a map of your customer’s journey, what would it look like? Would you know where your leads are coming from? What are some touchpoints a prospective customer has to go through before they become your customer?
It helps to map this out so you can visualise your leads coming into your business. If your objective is to have more leads coming into your business, by mapping out the sales process, you’ll see where the potential frictions are in the process which are stopping a lead to become a customer. Better yet, why don’t you try walking in your customer’s shoes and pretend to go through your own sales process as if you were a potential customer! Very quickly, you’ll realise whether your existing sales process needs tweaking or whether you’d need to do more testing.
Whenever you’re ready to take action:
Building out Customer Journey Maps is the first phase we take our customers through when they hire us. Every business is unique and that’s why we do custom workshops with each one of our clients.
After our session together, you’ll walk away with clarity and a clear plan of action to help you automate, systemize and future-proof your business so you can have more time to do what you do best: wow your customers and grow your business.
If you’re interested in finding out what the Customer Journey looks like in your business – click here to have a quick chat with one of our team members. Book a Free 30-min chat with the team.
Automation Strategist at Bumper Leads
Milena loves helping small business owners grow their business through smart systems and automations.
Milena lives in Adelaide, Australia with her Chileno husband and her best friend Netflix. She suffers from mild email OCD, ie can’t stand small font and cluttered newsletters. Milena is on a mission to make online business a less confusing place for a business owner.
She loves anything podcasting, eCommerce and is honoured to be supporting clients all over the world with her coaching.
You can follow Milena on Twitter (@MilenaTheGreat)
Hey, love this article, Is clickfunnels good for eCommerce?
Hey, great question! Depends on what you’re trying to do with your ecommerce store – for example ClickFunnels is great at upselling and cross-selling at the point of sale, but does it allow for multi-cart options – i.e. you can purchase a variety of products at once (also known as a basket of goods). A true ecommerce platform allows customers to pick and choose what they want to add to their carts.
Click Funnels will help you sell more of 1 product, so if that’s what you’re wanting to do, then click funnels is going to do the trick!