This post tells all you need to know about a sales funnel, and more.

As a business owner, your priority is not just getting and retaining customers. It goes down to generating consistent sales and increasing revenue.

The company revenue determines long-term growth. It determines how many employees will be needed and covers all other daily expenses. Converting customer purchase into consistent revenue might be a little challenging as a company and you’re amazed as to how other businesses are doing this so easy. 

The secret is creating a sales funnel. 

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What is a Sales Funnel?

sales funnel

While building a properly optimized website or landing page, the goal is to get leads. Your sales funnel is the plan you put in place to convert those prospective leads into customers. This plan is guiding them through all the phases of their buyer’s journey leading up to the point of purchase.

A sales funnel is a strategic marketing process set in motion to help your potential customers make a purchase or influence their buying decision. This marketing process could be a series of videos, automated emails, optimized websites, or a combination of more.

Sales funnels are more common than you think. It could even be offline or online. Let’s use Dettol antiseptic as a first example.

While driving, you might see a billboard. This has introduced you to the product and it’s already registered in your subconscious. Later at night, you then see a Tv commercial that sells Dettol to you. Over time, when you go to the store, you see a discount or “buy two, get one free” sticker on the product. This then motivates you to try it out.

Let’s use Jumia Food as another example.

Jumia Food’s funnel might start with you seeing display ads, on how you can get food delivered to you anywhere. A few days later, you’re in need of this service but you probably can’t remember the name. So you pick up your device to do a google search.

A Jumia paid ad is on top of the google search page. This ad then redirects you to a landing page where you can make your purchase. After buying the funnel then ends with you getting a referral or discount code.

These two examples above might seem like an ordinary buyers’ journey. But if you look closely, they are strategic positioning of marketing strategies aimed at convincing a lead to buy a product. This is what your funnel is about.

Your sales funnel can be likened to automated sales robots that sell your products every hour of the day. 


Important Note: With Funneljoy, you can create a fully automated Sales Funnel that manages your leads and sales end-to-end.


Why is a Sales Funnel Important?

Now that we understand what a sales funnel is, you might be curious if it’s actually important to your business. You could opt for traditional marketing methods like referrals. Although these methods might work for you, they are not the best option if you are a start-up (unless they are engineered). You cannot just wait around hoping customers will come around. That business will take an unhealthy time to grow if it doesn’t crumble.

Here are some of the reasons why you need a sales funnel as a startup, business owner or company.

  1. It helps you identify and generate leads: A Funnel is highly important because it starts by identifying your potential customers. Instead of just appealing to anyone out there, you have an actual target audience. As a company or a business, a sales funnel is a necessity because it’s the only way to get actual customers. Over time, the lead generation becomes automated and you can then channel resources to improving other aspects of your business.
  1.  It converts your leads to customers: Through an optimized step-by-step procedure, your sales funnel not only helps your lead get to their point of purchase but helps them through the buying phase itself. While creating your sales funnel you can study where your leads are most likely to drop off or lose interest and work on it. That way other leads will become interested in moving to the next phase.
  1. Your Sales Funnel builds consumer relationships: There’s a huge plan for retention strategies if preferred. This funnel process isn’t just about buying a product anymore but about building a long-lasting relationship with your leads and customers.
    This is because, during the creation of the sales funnel, you are constantly thinking about these leads. Trying to understand them and tailor what you’re selling to their preference directly or indirectly builds a relationship. 
  1. Brand Creation: During your sales funnel creation, you’ll be focused on providing value for your consumers. Over time, this value will help strengthen your fanbase which further builds you a brand.
  2. Growth: Once your funnel is launched and used consistently, your revenue generation will be consistent. Subsequently, your company will be able to make predictions and forecasts based on data gotten from your implemented funnel. This translates to company growth.

Managing a Sales Funnel Leak

Although the sales funnel is supposed to help you generate and retain leads into customers, you’d still get some leads who will slip through your fingers. This is referred to as a sales leak.  

A sales funnel leak simply means that your funnel has a crack which is reducing its proposed function. When you encounter this, all you have to do is go back to the drawing board to find out what’s going wrong. There are a number of reasons why your sales funnel might be leaking. Here are three of them;

  1. Low follow-up rates: Most times, sales departments are so focused on getting costumers that they rarely follow-up once the purchase has been made. Then those who do, don’t have a proper retention strategy. This is why sometimes you can get a blast of follow-up emails and sometimes you get nothing. What you can do in this case is, create a proper sales strategy for gaining new customers and another for retaining your current leads. Assess data and KPI’s to create an effective strategy. Set goals for both aspects and then follow up on them.
  1. No A/B Testing: Once a lead says no to your service or product, the next thing would be to cancel and move on to another lead. However, a lead saying no should be an avenue to recheck your strategy and create a plan B. The plan B will be a strategy to re-engage these customers who have lost interest.
  2. Quick and Proper response: When your leads ask a question or send a mail regarding a step in the sales funnel, they expect an early reply. When they don’t get that, they tend to lose interest completely. So there should be a provision for a chatbot or an automated response. And if that can’t be feasible, try to respond to all emails before the end of the working day.

Types of Sales Funnel

So if you’re interested in creating a sales funnel, there are a number of types to consider and they are based on their functions. Here are a few types of Sales Funnel

  1. The sample: This is perhaps the easiest type of sales funnel. In this model, you offer out a portion of your service with the plan of making your leads hooked to it. An example is giving out a free trial for a number of days. You could choose to add a lead magnet where they’d have to register or fill in their contact information. With this, you can follow-up by sending out relevant emails to them. The emails could be ways to use your product or service. The goal is to make them attached to you that when the trial expires, they will be willing to subscribe. Other forms could be discounts and free samples. The perfect products or services for this type of sales funnel are inexpensive consumable products.
  2. The Limited Launch: This type of sales funnel focuses on creating a sense of urgency to the prospective leads. Here, anticipation is built by emphasizing all key components of the product/service and then stating how limited the availability is. With this, your leads are anxious to purchase from you within the open window. Products that cannot be given out consistently or scarce services are the best for this type of sales funnel
  3. The consultancy: In this type of sales funnel, you’re offering free coaching or consultancy upfront. After this, the prospective leads will then be offered materials to help complement the existing knowledge they’ve acquired. The materials will be your product or service. So basically, they’ll be paying for the full package without them noticing. The products that go well with this type of sales funnel are products that require conversations at first. It could be in the form of a handbook or it could even be a real estate company.
  4. Cross-sell: The cross-sell sales funnel is simply selling an item to a customer who has bought something earlier on. Here, the advertised products will be something similar to what your customer just purchased. An example is creating a funnel for your hair conditioner line. The targeted leads will be those who just purchased shampoos and other hair related products.
  5. Referral: The final type of sales funnel we’ll be discussing is the referral sales funnel. In this type, the objective is to get more leads through a customer. Hence, after a purchase, the customer is then asked to either share their referral link with a friend who then gets a certain discount once both parties complete a purchase. An example is Bolt. Bolt offers customers a referral code they can share with their friends. And once they use this code, you get a discount on your next ride.

Conclusion

Your sales funnel is a pivotal part of your sales strategy and so, it should be carefully designed and planned. You need to research on your leads and what their buyers’ journey would look like. This research will help determine what type of funnel you’d need to create. Finally, frequent monitoring should be carried out on your funnel. As that’s the only way to prevent and manage funnel leaks.