In the world of sales and marketing, a sales funnel is one of the most important tools for a business to understand and utilize. This funnel can greatly influence the overall marketing and sales performance of your company. In this article, we will explain the components of a sales funnel, explain the process of making one, and also look at examples of successful sales funnels in action.

This guide is suitable for both novices and experts, as no prior knowledge is required to understand the concepts we explore. A properly implemented sales funnel can allow you to further automate your marketing strategy and to scale your business to increased profits.

What is a Sales Funnel?

The definition is fairly simple, but many do get confused about the exact nature of a sales funnel. Firstly, a sales funnel can also be referred to as a ‘revenue funnel’ or a ‘sales process.’ The sales funnel is the entire process that a business undertakes to lead a potential customer through before finalizing a sale.

The complexity and depth of this process are dependent on how the company manages its funnel. Even those who are not aware of a funnel will still have this process. It will just be far shorter for those who are not keenly aware of the specifics. A sales funnel encompasses the process of giving awareness of the product to the customer, eliciting interest in the customer by providing a solution, and a decision making phase where the customer makes a choice on whether they want to purchase or not.

It can help to imagine a sales funnel like a real-life funnel. An initial substance comes through the large entrance and filters down through each step. This is similar to a sales funnel process where the amount of potential customers decreases with each step until the final purchasing step.

The Sales Funnel is a multi-step process that shifts prospective visitors into buyers.

Sales Funnel

How to Make a Funnel

There are many ways that you can go about creating your own sales funnel. We will go through some of the essential steps you can take to start your own sales funnel. You can then expand the sales funnel from this solid foundation.

1. Awareness Stage

The first part of all sales funnels is the awareness stage. This is where an onlooker gets a first glimpse at what you have to offer them. People are busy, and their attention spans are short. You need to grab their attention in a way that speaks to them and piques their interest. The landing page of your website is usually the first impression that a potential customer would get. You should work on your landing page so that it is designed exceptionally well and tells the story of your business in a concise, yet engaging manner.

The best landing pages will also give customers the opportunity to sign up for a list or enter a free subscription. This will allow you to garner an initial list of potential customers which can be used later in the process. The awareness stage is all about grabbing attention, and the best way to do this is by perfecting your landing page.

2. Pre-Selling

The next step is to start pre-selling to your potential customers. It should be easy for your customers to purchase your product/service. The pre-selling stage is where you provide an initial offer to them.

Your main product should be the focus in this stage; however, you should also be focusing on how it can tie into additional products/services that you offer. The pre-selling part is about giving your potential customers a clear opportunity to purchase your main offering.

3. Upselling

All customers who are about to buy, or who have recently bought should be offered an upgrade on that service. It is important to upsell in a way that engages the customer and makes them consider the upgrade. This could be in the form of a time-limited discount that forces them to act.

If a customer buys one product from you they may be inclined to purchase an upgrade. Don’t assume that people already know what they want to buy. You should create an enticing offer that adds real and more value to what the customer has already bought or is about to buy.

4. Downsizing Option

On the other hand, a downsized option is just as important as an upselling option. A customer may be willing to purchase your main product, but they may lack the funds at a given time. This would mean that they do not end up purchasing even though they had a firm interest. A downsizing option helps to mitigate this by offering a lower cost product that could appeal to the customer’s needs and be affordable for them. It is crucial to have a cheaper option available.

5. Keep the Funnel Flowing

Your sales funnel shouldn’t end with the acquisition of new customers. It is important to check up on new customers with friendly emails where they can rate the service/product that has been delivered. This can allow you to improve as well as creating a line of communication for future business. Additionally, you can create a rewards program that offers special discounts and deals to customers.

Sales funnel

Remember, these are targeted customers that have already purchased something within your industry. They are likely to be interested in further purchases that can provide solutions for them. This is the end of the funnel, and it will be the smallest audience you have. The amount of users appear at the top of the funnel, and it is made up of potential customers.

This is a simple sales funnel example that is orientated towards online-based businesses. The specific steps that you take for your own business which depend on a large number of factors. You can tweak and tailor these steps according to the needs of your business, as well as adding different steps in between. However, as an initial starting point, these steps will serve you well in getting your sales funnel up and running.

A sales funnel usually operates in four distinct stages. There is firstly an awareness stage where the individual enters your website from a number of possible locations. You will have caught their attention in one manner or another.

The second stage is the interest stage, and this is where a potential customer is considering their options. They are interested in your product but not sure if they should go with you or one of your competitors. An interested customer can be swayed in a positive decision if they believe your website isn’t too sales orientated and actually offers expert advice on the product.

The third stage is the decision stage where the customer has the means and motivation to buy your product. A bonus offer such as free delivery can be important here to seal the deal.

The final stage is action, where the potential lead turns into an actual sale. The customer is now through the funnel; however, that doesn’t mean they should stop being targeted to. The important step after this is to establish positive customer relations to increase the chance of further sales. These basic stages can be better understood

Sales Funnel Software

The use of Sales Funnel software can help to take the complexity out of trying to understand each separate component of the sales funnel. They can help you to build in-depth sales funnels and manage them easily and intuitively. There are many types of sales funnel software out there, and they all have specific features which will be suited to different businesses.

Funnelytics Sales Funnel

A modern sales funnel will contain a huge amount of data. This data will need to be managed somehow. The use of software can help to store and optimize this data. It can help you manage every step and take out the stress of needing to manually check performance. The software can help to quickly identify high and low performing parts of the sales funnel so that efficient prioritization can be enabled. This will help to run your business more smoothly and cut out wasted time and labor.

Sam Ovens - Webinar Funnel

One of the best sales funnels management tools is designed by Funnelytics. Funnelytics allows valuable insights to be gained and it is easy to use even for novices. It can help your company to better understand the role of a sales funnel and it features live tracking and key performance metrics. It is a simple drag and drop system that utilizes mapping to intuitively show your entire sales funnel. Feel free to check out our take on Funnelytics here.

Sales Funnel Examples

In case you needed some more inspiration, we have collated a number of excellent sales funnel examples that really showcase the power of this marketing too.

Groupon

Many people are familiar with Groupon who are one of the leaders in the coupon website niche. They have an excellent sales funnel strategy which has contributed to their huge growth. Their initial traffic is garnered from their social media marketing, SEO implementation, and targeted email lists. A user is immediately met with a discount as soon as they are on the landing page. This grabs their attention and forces them to acknowledge the discount.

There is a direct incentive for the user to give their email address to receive a discount; this address can then be added to an email list, and the user would progress through the funnel. The Groupon example shows just how powerful an incentive can be. Their strategy is aimed at garnering email addresses through their landing pages, and then sending these potential customers information about discounts. Essentially, Groupon highlights the effectiveness of a sales funnel that is focused on an emails list.

Basecamp

Basecamp is a company that specializes in offering marketing solutions to businesses. They are in a competitive field, and one way they have differentiated themselves is through creative use of a sales funnel. Their landing page is very clean and eye-catching. It has cartoons and real testimonials which provides an emotional connection with the person visiting the website. There is an immediate pop up which gives a 30-day trial.

Basecamp makes sure to directly speak with their customers through an engaging landing page that aims to be personable. It shows how a successful sales funnel strategy involves creating a close connection with a visitor to turn them into a potential customer.

Worked Example

Below we will present an example of how a new online company could build an effective sales funnel. Imagine that this company specializes in producing dog toys. They could create a Facebook page that posts funny and captivating images related to dogs. You could then use the page to create an email address that offers exclusive tips and offers to dog owners.

This would give you an initial list of targeted leads that could progress further down the funnel. Initially, you could email useful and high-quality content that provides real value to your target audience. You could then offer an initial 25% discount for all first-time customers and then provide free delivery when they arrive on the product page.

You are more likely to convert leads if they are already impressed by the value you can provide for them. The role of a sales funnel is to ‘warm’ up potential customers and turn them into marketable sales that can become repeat buyers of your product. No onlooker wants to be directly sold to. They want businesses to sell them an authentic story and to be able to directly provide a solution with their product. A sales funnel requires a lot of time and patience to find the right combination that works best with your specific product and target demographic.

Conclusion

The sales funnel can be a powerful marketing tool when harnessed correctly. These examples will have given you an idea on how to implement your own funnel in your company. The type of funnel and its implementation are largely dependent on the company and will differ according to the size and industry that your company is in.

Sales Funnels often take some time to tweak and tailor, before they are optimized to start delivering real results for you. The process of turning an onlooker into a buyer is an art itself. It requires a nuanced understanding of buyer psychology. A sales funnel is merely the process that taps into this business-consumer relationship in order to maximize the effectiveness of the overall marketing strategy.

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