A goal without planning is just a dream.
Any business needs a plan that will allow it to take a thoughtful sequence of actions from the initial state to the established goals. Without a formal plan, it is difficult to effectively use one’s own resources, and it is impossible to evaluate the timely achievement of results. For marketers who are able to imagine the journey of the buyer from the first contact with the transaction, planning is an integral part of a marketing strategy.
A Sales Funnel is An Ideal Tool For Visualizing Real Plans
The concept of a sales funnel revolves around points of contact with the consumer, which are able to hook a potential buyer at different stages of the transaction. Despite the fact that the numbers decrease as parts of the sales funnel pass, these key indicators can show marketers a lot of useful information.
Obviously, we all would like for any visitor to the site to perform any action valuable to us. This action should ultimately lead to business profits. The task of the marketer is to convert a visit to purchase, but a site visitor can perform a lot of actions that are not directly related to the growth of the company's income. He can view countless pages in an online store, evaluate the options presented, and simply go to another site.
Not all website visitors want to make a purchase here and now. But they need magnets that will make them return. They should get into a whirlpool that can lead them to the result – to receive satisfaction from the money spent.
What is a Sales Funnel?
Marketers describe a sales funnel model as a customer’s journey from realizing a product’s need through conversion to purchase. This model resembles a funnel for the reason that with each step of the journey the probability of the transaction itself and the expected revenue of the company are reduced.
Some of the potential customers will lose interest in the product, others will go to the competitor's website. There are gaps in the journey. Consequently, the job of marketers is to bridge potential gaps with a wide range of tools. It is necessary to eliminate the “leaks” of the marketing funnel, turning it into a cylinder.
A sales funnel is a set of steps that a visitor must go through before being converted into a customer.
How Does a Marketing Sales Funnel Work?
The journey of the customer begins with awareness of the need and ends with the purchase. However, there are other stages that make us think of the process as a funnel.
All these stages can be divided into three large stages:
- Generation of potential customers (leads)
- Qualification of potential customers (leads)
How does a potential customer learn about a company's product? Due to marketing and advertising campaigns, as well as thanks to his accumulated everyday experience, which tells a person how to solve a problem. Consumer awareness is based on the process of collecting market information in one form or another.
It is extremely important for the company to be in the field of view of a potential customer. A person should be able to leave a trace in the process of market research that can be interpreted as a lead. This is not direct contact, but it is already the beginning of a guided journey from your costs to the profit from the transaction.
The top of the sales funnel is responsible for lead generation. A large number of visitors can see your site, but only the most interested will move down the sales funnel.
Now you know what marketers mean when they say you need to expand your sales funnel. They want to use the company's marketing opportunities more actively:
- Reach new audiences
- Increase brand awareness of the target audience
- Apply Inbound Marketing
- Use public relations
The more people visit your site from different traffic sources, the more potential customers will fall into the sales funnel.
Awareness of the company and its services directly affects the quality of lead generation. The information received by the target audience drags potential customers into the sales funnel.
Once the visitor has been hooked, it’s the responsibility of the marketer to develop the initiative shown, arousing interest in the purchase and making him think about the advantages of your brand over competitors.
A simple statement of the growth in the number of site visitors is not enough. Schedule landing pages for your site and track your route. At the hub sites of the trip, offer contact forms, subscriptions to social networks and other tools in order to be able to follow up with a person who will interrupt their path to buying your product.
The classical qualification model of potential customers has 4 stages, but there may be fewer. It depends on how your client behaves. Someone is ready to make an impulse purchase, another needs time and the opportunity to choose. The marketer should take this situation into account and include in his marketing strategy various communication channels with his target audience, which allows to increase consumer awareness:
- Formation of interest: at the entrance of the funnel, you have a cold client, the task is to create a desire to continue acquaintance with the strengths of the product
- Removal of objections: it is necessary to provide enough facts, including social evidence, which will allow a potential client to more carefully consider your proposal
- Consolidation of intention: after your product has received internal approval, there comes a time for additional incentives, thanks to which a person will feel his profit from the money spent
- Evaluation of the offer: make it clear to the client that your special prices will not reduce the level of quality of services
Sale of Services
This is the bottleneck in the sales funnel. This stage shows how the efforts of the marketer affected the company's revenue. Practical work moves from a marketer to a salesperson. The goal is to close the deal and earn income.
Benefits of a Sales Funnel
More and more entrepreneurs realize that the sales process is no longer linear. Great competition and market saturation with various offers turn sales into an intricate process.
It is not a fact that a visitor who is in the upper part of the funnel will reach a purchase. It is also true that one of the clients can connect to the journey at a later stage. But with the help of a sales funnel, you can clearly see where you lost customers. Any barriers to conversion become more visible. Understanding this fact makes it possible to carry out optimization and achieve a more profitable result without breaking the business model:
- When someone signs up on your site, you know exactly the reason: your business is interesting.
- The conversion at each stage of the sales funnel shows the strengths and weaknesses of the marketing strategy.
- A sales funnel clearly captures your “leaks” and makes you look for ways to eliminate them.
- Modern analytics tools automate the process of collecting source data, making it easier for the marketer.