A sales funnel is the step-by-step procedure that leads to a customer. The buyer is one step closer to making a purchase at each level of the funnel. A well-thought-out sales funnel will outline the steps your company must take to move prospects to the next stage.

What is a sales funnel?

The marketing term describing the journey potential buyers take on their way to making a purchase is a sales funnel. A sales funnel has multiple steps, which are the top, middle, and bottom of the funnel, however, these steps can change depending on a company’s sales model.

Any business owner understands the agony of missing a sale. The prospect drops out of the sales funnel without buying after weeks of pitches and demos, banter, and charm.

It happens all the time. When you have the correct sales funnel management help, though, it happens less frequently. Patched-together spreadsheets, sticky notes, missed appointments, and forgotten follow-ups have caused holes in many small business sales funnels.

What is the significance of the sales funnel?

A sales funnel can assist you to figure out what potential consumers are thinking and doing at different stages of the buying process. These insights enable you to allocate resources to the most effective marketing activities and channels, craft the most appropriate messaging at each stage and convert more leads into paying customers.

Recognize the problems

The first step in the buying process is to recognize that you have a problem.

Why would you buy a remedy for a problem you don’t even realize you have? You could have gum disease, but if you don’t notice or feel anything unusual in your mouth, it’s unlikely that you’ll go online to look for it.

If, on the other hand, your furnace breaks down in the dead of winter, you’ll immediately recognize a problem and go on to the next step in the purchase process (information search). You might do some research, but because your problem is so urgent, you won’t waste much time.

Other items or services will necessitate a greater level of education. Purchasing pharmaceutical medicine is an example. A person may detect a bodily symptom (“issue”) in this scenario, but it may take some time for them to act and seek a solution.

Information Extraction

Recognizing a problem or need is the first step in the funnel, which leads to a search for further information and leads to the second stage.

Depending on the magnitude and scope of the transaction, different tactics are in line to obtain information. Recognizing that you’re hungry, for example, may prompt you to conduct a quick Yelp search for nearby restaurants. On the other hand, deciding which supplier to engage to install a new in-ground pool at your property will require some web research, phone calls, reading customer reviews, visiting showrooms, and speaking with salespeople.

Alternatives Analysis

Customers will compare the choices discussed in your article or ad once they are aware of a solution. The amount of time invested in this stage varies depending on the type of purchase being considered. Choosing a restaurant may be as simple as deciding, “Well, I’m in the mood for Chinese food tonight, not Mexican.”

Assume, however, that the customer is looking into marketing automation systems to help them optimize the sales funnel they’ve built. Because these programs can cost up to $1,500 per month, they’ll almost certainly be a far more rigorous review. They may request free trials of the various systems they’re considering, participate in online demonstrations with personnel from each company, or watch training videos to get a sense of how each system will function.

If you manage an accounting firm, your customers are probably comparing multiple service providers at this point. They may require tools such as pricing guides (to determine ballpark charges), how to assess the landscape of accounting services (e.g., whether to engage a single accountant, an agency, etc. ), or how to select an accountant.

Purchase Decision

The buying decision follows logically from the previous three stages. The potential consumer has an issue, analyzes their alternatives, chooses which one is best for them… and is now ready to reach for their wallets.

Optimizing your website for conversions (CRO) is a great approach to boost sales at this point.

You can also provide risk-free trials, money-back guarantees, and other similar incentives to entice customers to buy your product or service.

Post-Purchase Behavior 

There is one more thing. Just because a customer makes a purchase doesn’t mean the journey is ended. It’s just as essential as what occurs after the sale.

If your new customers are welcomed with a thoughtful onboarding process, personalized attention, and all of the resources they need to successfully utilize your product, they are more likely to become loyal customers who suggest you to friends and colleagues. They’re also more willing to share their happiness with others through suggestions and product endorsements when they’re confident.

If your new consumers are not happy with their purchase, they are more likely to ask for refunds, leave unfavorable reviews, and recommend that others in their social circles buy from your competitors.

Apart from delivering a fantastic product, there isn’t much information you can create to help promote a nice post-purchase experience. Post-purchase behavior will take care of itself if you have an excellent product that answers a problem.

There are also some steps you may do to encourage better post-purchase behavior. You may, for example, provide FAQ content, make customer service more accessible, or ask for feedback on the purchasing process.

Why sales funnels are important?

Companies may use sales funnels to show each step prospects take on their way to conversion. Each step is a micro-conversion that can be optimized to maximize conversions in the end; if one of these phases has a higher-than-expected drop-off rate, it can be studied to determine what’s wrong and tested to see what can be done to improve it.

Google Analytics and other funnel tools can help you visualize customer movement across your website and identify pages with high drop-off rates by showing how many people quit the funnel at each phase.