With digital marketing continuing to grow, the sales funnel has found a home in every marketing and sales office. When used effectively, this process allows the sales team to find cold prospects and convert them into solid leads and eventually, loyal customers.
What is a Sales Funnel?
A sales funnel is a process divided into stages. In each stage, the goal is to move the most qualified prospects into the next stage with strategic content, moving them closer and closer to becoming a customer. Essentially, the funnel is an illustration of the customer’s journey, beginning from prospect moving to potential client, and then ending as a client.
The Stages of the Sales Funnel
Before even creating a sales funnel, it is imperative to think about your target audience and marketing strategy. Think about what audience you want your brand in front of and how you can entice them to learn more. With your audience targeted and content ready for marketing, you can now focus on structuring your sales funnel.
Many offices use a variety of stages, but we’ll be looking at these 4 overarching stages:
Awareness: Getting Your Brand Known
In the awareness stage, prospects are learning of your brand and the solution you offer. In many cases, this is also where they first realize they have a problem that requires a solution. This can come in the form of being on your website for the first time or seeing a social media ad, etc. In this stage, you are looking to attract as a big of an audience as possible, don’t worry about dialing in too much on your audience here since many of them will be dropped for more qualified candidates. The qualified part is how the sales funnel gets its name.
With a goal of attracting visitors to your website, we recommend the following content:
- Organic Search (SEO)
- Social Media (organic and paid)
- Guest Posting
These are all meant for the initial ‘get your brand in front of their face’ push so that when you continue to send content, your brand is already established as a solution.
Interest: Building Authority
In the interest stage, your prospects are now actively searching for solutions. This can be in the form of google searches, videos, etc. You’re looking to reel the prospects in a little more, build your authority as a leading solution by providing some solid, informative content.
Some ways you can do that are through:
- Email Campaigns
- Lead Magnets
All of the above options create an opportunity to provide informative content to your actively searching prospects. By continuously sending that content their way, you build not only your authority in the industry, but also the key trust factor that’ll give you edge over competitors.
Decision/Evaluation: Closing the Deal
You got your prospect fully interested and engaged; it’s time to start closing. At this stage, prospects have nearly decided that they’re taking your solution and are paying more attention to how exactly your solution fits in with their needs. It’s the perfect time to give them the reassurance they need and offers they want.
To accomplish this, this is what content we advise:
- Case Studies
- Sales Calls
Testimonials and case studies showcase your solutions success while also giving prospects a vision of what you can do for them. Webinars and sales calls on the other hand allow you to make offers and address any questions or concerns directly.
Action/Close: Handshakes All Around
At this stage, the prospect is finalizing the deal, hands are being shaken, and partnerships made. Here, your job is to make your new customer regret nothing.
To ensure that, here’s what you can send their way:
- Special Offers
- Follow-Up Email Campaigns
It’s important to note that while the deal is closed and is in the last stage of your funnel, your job isn’t done. Following this step, there is one last thing to have on your to-do list.
Delight/Retention: The Aftermath
Your prospects have made their way to becoming customers and clients, but there is always one more stage beyond the funnel. Delight. Everyone knows a customer’s lifetime value is one of the most important metrics in business and that comes into play here too. Ensuring their happiness sets up the path for repurchases and opens up the possibility of creating brand advocates. The items below will give you one of the most powerful tools in marketing at your disposal: word of mouth.
Offers you can include are:
- Upsell Campaigns
- Product Specific Tutorials
- Re-engagement Email Campaigns
With a strategically made sales funnel, you’ll have a smooth and successful buyer’s journey in no time.