The Sales Funnel is a representation of the stages that a potential customer goes through, from the first contact with the company to the closing of the sale. Normally, a Commercial Funnel is divided into 3 stages: the upper part of the funnel (ToFu), the middle of the funnel (MoFu) and the bottom of the funnel (BoFu).
In this post, we are going to talk about everything about the Sales Funnel, from the concept to its construction.
Are you one of those who prefer not to read? Then take advantage of the following video, where two Digital Marketing professionals will tell you everything you need to know about the Commercial Funnel, including examples and very didactic cases. Enjoy it!
All companies, from small to large, are focused on generating results. Regardless of their structure, which in many cases can be quite complex, all of them can use Inbound Marketing actions to generate results online.
Therefore, we can reach a point where we ask ourselves: what are the results that these actions are bringing?
That is why the Inbound Marketing methodology makes the difference: It is all based on the sales funnel , a concept well known by companies and that allows you to understand the results generated at each stage of the process of attracting new customers.
The sales funnel is a way to measure and get to know your potential customers much better, which covers all activities from attracting new visitors to generating sales with an Inbound Marketing strategy, thus increasing the monthly turnover of your business .
So, what is the Marketing funnel or sales funnel?
As its name says, it is shaped like a ” cone ” and is divided into stages that measure from the number of visitors that are being generated on your website (upper part of the funnel) until reaching those that become sales (customers).
The methodology accompanies this whole topic called Inbound Marketing that focuses on 5 main stages such as: Visitors, Leads, Qualified Leads, Opportunities and Sales.
1st Stage of the Sales Funnel: Visitors
We know that in order for them to know us and start selling our products or services we must attract the public to the company website .
For this I am going to give you several strategies such as: producing and optimizing content (SEO), paid media ads , presence in social networks, participation on other websites (guest posts), etc.
At this stage the website receives different types of visitors, from curious to those who are already looking for a specific solution, for this reason by having good content on your blog is going to be a great way to attract qualified visitors for all stages of the purchase process and be well positioned in search engines like Google.
In addition, by generating interesting and relevant content, you are giving the visitor a feeling of credibility.
If the blog is continuously updated with content of interest to the public, it can then become a reference in your sector, and I will also explain more benefits that you are going to get from generating a blog to win new customers.
It is important that at this stage you can keep a control of how many daily, weekly and monthly visitors you are generating on your website . This is why you must have a tool that allows you to see:
- how many visitors are generated on your website;
- which are the pages with the most income;
- the most visited content;
- the rate of return of visits;
- other indicators that are important to understand the behavior of the target audience and to be able to verify the planning of content that you are carrying out in your business.
As we still do not know who our visitors are, we need to generate strategies to convert them into Leads , that is, they leave their contact information and be able to move on to the next stage of the funnel.
One of the best ways to make this possible is through forms on pages that offer something in return that is of interest to them known as Landing Pages or the famous landing pages , where we promote quality materials such as eBooks, videos, promotions, webinars, infographics, etc.
It is very important that, depending on what stage of purchase the Lead is in, it will also depend on what type of content we are going to offer, in our next level I will explain in depth these interesting stages that we all go through when we are deciding what to buy to satisfy a specific need.
2nd Stage of the Sales Funnel: Leads
We all know that when you decided to buy your own home you had to go through some stages and analysis before deciding where you were going to live and why you chose that option over the others you had.
Well, exactly this happens with your target audience, many of them come to your website without even having decided to buy your products or services.
Some, for example, may be looking for solutions or many others are not clear about what they want to buy, this is why it is so important to understand each of your potential customers and at what stage of the buying process they are in order to nurture them and advance much better in this process. Read in this post why generate Leads.
Using Landing pages as a strategy to capture information from your visitors to convert them into leads is an excellent way to obtain valuable data from the potential customer, for example your email, name, interests and other relevant information that facilitate subsequent contact.
The relationship with the potential customer will be built from there, which will determine if the visitor will develop an interest in your solution and become a customer.
In addition, having information provided by the same potential client can easily, from there, generate a closer relationship that will allow you to generate interest for the Lead, if they will be interested in the solution that you are. offering and if you will become a customer.
Now you may be wondering how to generate really qualified leads for my company? That is a question that many have when they start an Inbound Marketing strategy. To help with this point, we have for you a special material that will help you achieve that goal, just access the kit «Generation of Qualified Leads» for free.
But then you must be wondering How do I successfully generate this? For this, at this stage of the Sales Funnel, you must understand if the offers that you are delivering to your potential customers are of interest to them and are according to what they would look for.
It is important then, that you can measure the conversion rate of visitors to Leads. If you are already generating Leads, great, but do not lose the focus that your company should have: generating sales with digital actions.
Well, the ultimate goal is to increase your sales by ensuring that your customer does not purchase your products just once, but rather by creating a long-term relationship. Let’s see what to do with those leads:
3rd Stage of the Sales Funnel: Qualified Leads
In this stage, all those Leads pass that in the previous stage we discovered that they have this interest in your products or services. And we are going to begin to segment them, in order to reach the final stage of the commercial funnel, which is the conversion to sales.
This is where the Marketing team in your business must make the respective qualifications and analysis of the Leads that exist in your contact base. To start working on them as business opportunities, which is the next stage of the funnel.
Then you may be wondering What is that evaluation or profile that my Leads must have to know if they can be potential clients and send them to your commercial team? What I can tell you is that each company has its profiles and criteria to evaluate.
You know your customers, you only need to identify what data could help you to know if it is going to give as a sale or not. Some of these criteria can be: size of the company, segment, number of downloaded materials (because they show the interest that the Lead has), among others.
The previous qualification graph shows how to determine a qualified Lead by analyzing the two axes, on the one hand the customer’s profile and on the other his purchase intention.
Let’s make the following assumption: you have a Lead who has the ideal client profile for your business who is the CFO of a large company, so we can place him in a high position on the Y axis; and to analyze the X axis, where we see that he has already downloaded an introductory material, which would place him at the beginning of the purchase process. This allows us to know that he is not a qualified Lead and that his relationship must be worked on to bring him closer to the final stage of purchase.
One of the tools that will allow you to do this analysis automatically and effectively is the Lead Scoring , from RD Station , which allows you in an automated way from parameters that are established in your business, such as: position, segment, company size, location, level of interaction, purchase interest, etc., to be able to measure who have the profile of your target audience and their level of interest to communicate with us.
One of the best ways to make this relationship possible is to send email marketing with suggestions for blog content, as well as eBooks, webinars, among others, they are very good at taking Leads through the stages of the buying process.
Once these leads are ready and qualified, it is time to take them to the commercial team. Once this happens, we will know that the Lead is already an opportunity and that it can be approached by the commercial team due to the profile it has.
But be careful, first you must clarify the criteria in conjunction with the commercial area, otherwise problems may arise and you do not want to cause that, all the objectives must be aligned, remember! ? Now, if you don’t know how to do it, I recommend you read the following post: «How to make an agreement between Marketing and Sales»
4th Stage of the Sales Funnel: Opportunities
For this process to occur properly it is very important that the approach by the commercial team happens in a structured way and that all the information that the Lead had as interactions made by Marketing help to be successful in the first contact commercial.
So, using spreadsheets or software with integration with a CRM (Customer Relationship Management), we can record all the information as historical of the relationship with your business and the Lead, which helps the commercial team a lot in addressing this Lead and allows us to go directly to the interest they have to increase the opportunities of converting them into a client .
In addition, the sales team must have access to all this information generated by the Marketing area, such as the content that the Lead is consuming, and know how to approach it according to the Lead’s profile and your interests and preferences.
In this way, even if the Lead had not directly requested a commercial contact, it does not mean that we cannot contact him, since he is already showing a high interest in a solution that your business can offer him.
To generate success and increase the number of opportunities, it is important to constantly analyze the quality of the Leads that are being delivered to the commercial team and also know what is the conversion rate to customers.
With all this, you can already generate improvement plans for this process and make it increasingly efficient, managing to generate Leads that need to satisfy their needs by acquiring the services or products that your business offers, thus increasing the return on investment (ROI) and customer satisfaction.
5th Stage of the Sales Funnel: Sales
It is at this stage that your business has less prominence. But having in your hands the information of which Leads can become clients and knowing the whole process they have in the Commercial Funnel, it will help you better understand which actions you should take or which ones are helping you to generate a real return to clients. , which we know as billing.
So when you have a more complete view of the funnel it allows you to generate important metrics that will show the customer the deliveries made and test the effectiveness of your work.
If a client has a perception of high value then the price he is paying to acquire it is acceptable and he understands in his head that what he is receiving is equal to or greater than the price he is paying to acquire it, then your business You have the opportunity to generate a positive return and the possibility of increasing the number of products or services that you can offer.
At this stage you can begin to provide post-sale actions to retain and retain your customers, such as upselling or cross selling, increasing the opportunities of a new purchase or a new referral from a potential customer.
All these opportunities tend to have a Cost of Acquisition (CAC) lower and bring a high financial return and a stable turnover generating recurring purchases by your clients.
On the other hand, they will begin to position your business as the best in the sector that meets their needs and goes much further than simply offering and selling products but rather generating experience and innovation.
In order to analyze the behavior of the sales funnel of your business and find areas for improvement to increase the number of visitors to the sales stage, we have a free and effective tool that allows you to see it much better known as Sales Funnel .
Now that you know how important it is to measure each of the actions carried out in the sales funnel and that your business needs this to start establishing strategic actions and increasing your monthly billing, don’t forget measure visitors, leads and qualified leads, opportunities and sales that your business is generating under an Inbound Marketing model, where your analysis will be much more precise to know what actions and what your neck is bottle in the commercial funnel and anticipate the market to make short and long-term decisions.
8 steps to implement the ideal sales funnel
Finally, we bring you a step by step that can be implemented in 3 days to build the ideal sales funnel in your company:
- Align the consumer’s purchase process with the sales process: It is useless to apply everything we talk about if you continue disconnected from the purchase process.
- Define steps and triggers of the process: To do this, it is necessary to understand the process. Show your salespeople how the lead buying process works, what they need to understand in the learning phase, recognizing the problem, considering the solution … or what they do before or when they buy. Ask yourself how you can make this Lead evolve faster and how to create a trigger that, in addition to showing that the Lead is evolving, increases the probability that it will become a customer.
- Position the businesses in the new funnel according to the new process: If you have businesses in your pipeline, see how they fit into the new model. Review what you are observing and see your current funnel situation, or what you need to do to get the new model to apply correctly.
- Make an action plan for each deal (up or out): Either your prospect moves to the next phase, or they exit the funnel. Don’t let the salesperson “get attached to the lead.”
- Execute the action plan within the following 72 hours: Encourage your salesperson to complete the action plan within the next 3 days so they don’t procrastinate.
- Identify the new situation of the funnel and design the necessary movements to beat the goal: Check how close you are to beating the goal or what you need to get there. It is possible that during the first month of the new method you will not achieve the goal, but it is necessary to create an environment to do so.
- Execute the movements, maintaining or improving efficiency: Monitor the work of the seller and make sure he understands the facts and that he is carrying out the processes in the best possible way.
- BEAT THE GOAL!
If you liked this publication, do not forget to share it with your colleagues and remember … “Make a customer, not a sale.” (Katherine Barchetti)
Until next time!
This original post was written by Karyn Serratine in Portuguese you can find it here and has adaptations for Latin America made by the author.
- Digital Marketing Strategy