Sales funnel provides a key marketing and sales strategy in many companies because they are effective when executed well.
You can simplify the process of promoting your products and services to prospective customers, nurturing their relationship, and attracting them to make the all-important purchase using a customer relationship management checklist.
How you can implement marketing funnels in your business is shown in these examples.
You will learn what you need to do to reach the bottom of the funnel during each stage of the funnel in this article.
How to create an effective marketing or sales funnel?
The Marketing Funnel: What Is It?
To visualize the journey someone takes from potential customer to confirmed customer, you can use a marketing funnel. A funnel can be understood by any entrepreneur, from the greenest to the most experienced.
During the open-top stage of the marketing funnel, your company is first discovered, and this is the awareness stage. The company can encourage online advertising by using testimonials and e-books, as well as post about your service on social media. Since customers won’t even know you exist if they don’t know you exist, any publicity is good publicity.
Getting people’s attention starts with generating trac. Today, most of your customers will second you online, so you need to have an active online presence. It’s not enough to be online. Take a proactive approach by leveraging backlinks to boost your website’s visibility and search authority, publishing white papers in relevant online communities, and publishing white papers in relevant online communities.
2. Evaluation and interest
To escalate their awareness and convince them to take advantage of your sales opportunity, you utilize many of the same tactics as the funnel narrows through the interest and evaluation phases. Through webinars, newsletters, drip campaigns, and case studies, your customer is now receiving more detailed information about your service and feels more comfortable spending their money with you.
If you haven’t noticed, a sales funnel’s outreach methods become more personalized as it moves downward. An onboarding process can be explained and explained through phone calls or video conferencing in the penultimate phase, commitment.
4. Support post-sale and after-sale
After the funnel is implemented successfully, all of the uninterested parties have been weeded out, or at least any interested parties who were not willing to commit to a purchase. You only have to deliver after they purchase.
There is a stage after purchase where many marketing funnels end since they have served their purpose.
Repeating products and services will increase customer retention, since you will have more opportunities to cross- and upsell other products and services in your business.
Additionally, loyal customers will refer other potential customers to your business, starting a new cycle of referrals and more customers.
The marketing funnel theory is all well and good, but it’s useless without knowledge of how it works in practice. Here are two examples of marketing funnels that illustrate the difference between a successful and a lackluster funnel strategy.
Poorly implemented marketing funnels
If you own a business that sells digital products or services, marketing funnels are particularly useful.
Managing a funnel effectively is crucial in helping a small business grow and retain as many interested parties as possible. It is common to see salespeople tracking online leads and calling them to generate interest in products and services.
When you buy reams of so-called leads, you’ll probably run into bad prospects or people who are uninterested in your product or service.
In addition to the negative effects of this flawed process on your business growth, you’re also not guaranteed to recoup your initial investment in the lead list, which is unsustainable. Most of them are useless to you, so you only grab a small percentage.
An Effective Marketing Funnel
A well-oiled sales funnel can be compared to this aggressive marketing approach. In addition to the same company, let’s say one of these funnels is managed by the salespeople. The hub of your online activity can be attracted to your site by using attention-grabbing marketing techniques, such as ads linking back to it.
Reading blog posts, viewing diagrams, and other proven yet inventive and engaging methods of attracting attention, they learn more about the service, the company’s history, and what that company offers.
By this model, instead of a salesperson trying to sell to them, they come to you and are drawn to your online content. When using that method, you are always fighting an uphill battle.
There would be a section for those who are interested in your services. They can indicate their interest in you by filling out a form in this section. Having this knowledge allows your salespeople to approach potential customers more effectively.
By targeting the right people, the business and its salespeople can make more sales and put in less effort. Instead of using brute force, it’s better to work smart. Getting ten out of twenty on board is more effective than cold calling one hundred people and getting two on board.
Sales funnel stages
Let’s take a closer look at how the marketing funnel works now that you have an understanding of how it works. It’s not surprising that marketing strategies such as funnels, which capitalize on the way we make purchases, are so widely used.
The Buyer Decision Process was developed by John Dewey over a century ago, and many modern examples use it.
To fully understand the marketing funnel, you’ll need to understand the process that underlies most, if not all, of the strategies out there. As shown below, the marketing funnel correlates with each step in the Buyer Decision Process.
1. Recognizing problems and finding solutions
In order to understand what the customer is looking for, the first step of the buyer decision process is to recognize their needs or problems. During this phase, you are gaining awareness, also called the top of the funnel. You probably get what we’re talking about.
A number of factors can affect how simple or complicated this process is. You’re probably operating in a market with a high level of diversity and saturation. There are so many choices in vehicles and vehicle providers out there that many people won’t pick the same one again if their car self-destructs.
Customers may even be attracted to alternate markets in some markets you operate in. When traditional players don’t keep up with the times, they’re left in the dust in service-providing industries that are becoming more digitized.
Due to the fact that specific customer needs vary between industries, sectors, and service types, there’s no one way to identify them and meet them. By using SEO and other savvy advertising practices, you can make sure your company is easy to find and stumble upon online.
2. Finding information through search
After recognizing a problem, the customer seeks further information on what to do next to solve it. The middle of the funnel is referred to as the MOFU, or middle of the funnel.
Obviously, a prospective customer will do more research when making a larger or more expensive purchase, as getting the right product from the right provider is more important. A customer and a company will need to interact considerably more to decide who is going to remodel his kitchen and who will distribute the stationary.
Our previous descriptions of the marketing funnel emphasized the importance of SEO because Google is the largest search engine in the world. Online marketing and the internet make these middle stages so much easier for both you and your customers, even though this wasn’t a factor when the Buyer Decision Process was coined in 1910.
Search engines and social media will be used by prospective customers to find relevant information, including relevant forums where people may be discussing your services. Your company could benefit from all of these. Do not aggressively promote yourself to them, but rather position yourself as an authority on the services they are seeking.
In most cases, this is done by putting out free informational content. People generally reciprocate when they engage with your content, so engaging with your content makes it more likely they’ll engage with you again in the future.
Search for keywords that describe your line of work so that you can identify and exploit those terms. To ensure that your content appears on people’s search engine results pages more often, you can target these terms in your content.
3. Alternatives evaluation
Depending on how keen a prospective customer is, this might even occur concurrently with their information search, right in the middle of the marketing funnel. In addition, it is human nature to compare and identify which of many similar but resulting results best suits our needs when faced with many similar results.
To gain as many customers as possible and move them further into the sales funnel, you want to be the best, or at least the best in their sight. When they spend time doing this, it also depends on the size and scope of what they want, so if you’re in an industry where there’s a lot of time spent courting them, it should be in your interest to remain open to this.
Taking a more personal approach to this part of the funnel is similar to taking a more personal approach for interest and evaluation. Training videos, trails, and other useful and persuasive correspondence are required for them to effectively evaluate your business against others.
It would be a good idea for your company to provide pricing guides and suggestions for how to contact specific companies for specific problems, while still mentioning your own products and services in the content.
4. Buying Decision
The Buyer Decision Process calls this the Purchase Decision, which is the final step in the marketing funnel. Most people’s sales acquisition efforts end here, naturally, at the bottom of the funnel.
In this case, you want to be active in convincing them that you’re the best candidate.
However, persuasion isn’t about bombarding people with advertisements and unnecessary phone calls. You’ll need to prove how effective you are for the job and make them feel comfortable with you instead of using the subtle art.
A tried and true way to demonstrate your results is to show case studies of previous customers, especially if their business or industry matches yours. Therefore, you’ll want to prepare case studies for the few different types of customers you likely get and keep them on hand. You can demonstrate how well your services have worked in a similar situation to theirs in the past.
Until now, all of this has been based on the assumption that your past encounters have been positive. Sadly, that is not a guarantee, and if that is the case, prospective customers will be unable to make an informed buying decision. It depends on so many factors, most of which you cannot control, whether those customers will take what other customers say seriously.
Whether a product or service is liked or disliked by your customers depends on their perception of it. Positive reviews from major companies carry more weight than negative reviews from anonymous sources, as well as the source of the reviews.
Negative feedback is all information you can use to improve your business and continue to grow.
5. Post-Purchase Behavior
Sales funnels are often overlooked by those who assume that a sale has ended when a purchase is made, but this isn’t the case. It’s not just stock or services you’re selling in so many industries, it’s your brand too. People shouldn’t feel bad after doing business with you, because this can lead to negative feedback in the future.
Your salespeople and you need to pay attention to this. Your customers will be assured that they have made the right decision if they are greeted and informed during the onboarding process. Furthermore, this builds rapport with the customer, which will lead them to give more positive feedback, as well as endorsements, recommendations, and testimonials to draw in more customers.
It is most important to provide a quality product or service after a purchase is satisfied.
If they disliked their purchase, they’d be mostly resistant and want a refund, whereas if they liked it, they’ll be amenable to an onboarding scheme and continued business with your company.
Funnel Content at Each Stage
In order to maximize the funnel’s effectiveness, we should follow proven content distribution methods. We’ve already touched on these a bit. Using in-depth case studies at the top and boring ads and articles at the bottom could confuse customers. Marketing content should be tailored to each stage of the funnel to attract customers further down it.
You should be asking yourself a few core questions as you plan out your marketing funnel and content.
- At this point, how can customers find me?
- When will they be able to move to the next stage based on the information they have?
- What is the best way to tell when they’ve moved stages?
Using an example can make the point clearer to everyone, regardless of how easy or difficult it is to answer. During each stage of the Buyer Purchase Decision process, we’ll answer these questions with the same company.
Identifying the problem
Suppose you want to sell a digital product or service, but you’re not sure how to reach the right audience. The awareness stage is the time to lay out some lures and let them come to you instead of aggressively pursuing them.
Rather than going after those who do not know about you or don’t need your product, you should focus on those who know about you and need your kind of product.
As a result, this step is pretty straightforward. When this happens, you should simply increase the traffic on the company’s website. When you work with a larger audience, you’ll have more sticking around because a bigger net will catch more fish.
Your company doesn’t need to waste time or resources describing its product or service, rather it should position itself as an expert at what it does. When people need help in the future, they will know exactly where to go when they encounter difficulties if you are able to stand out during this awareness phase.
Search for information
The creation of targeted content becomes crucial at this point. After catching people’s attention, it won’t be possible for you to use standard SEO tactics forever. You should provide information to them now, in an engaging and accessible way.
When you are in this stage of your business, who are your prospective customers? Additionally, you will need to advertise for the content you produce, as well as use SEO tactics such as webinars, social media posts, and keyword searches. The service appeals to a wide audience. It can be especially useful if your content is based in part or all on Google, Facebook, or some other rigorous and reliable PPC scheme, because they have some of the most rigorous PPC programs out there.
In the first step of the funnel, customers should feel reassured about the type of information they need. Create content that can reassert their decision and empathize with their problems so they do not get skittish and bolt. By apologizing for the frustrations that brought them to you, you connect with them on a human level, but keep any attempt at sincerity relatively strings-free. Simply tell people what you do and what your company does instead.
Your customers can move down the marketing funnel in different ways.
Interested parties should still be able to try your service or digital product as part of our example. Those who sign up on your site or provide you with clear, solicited information about your company should be considered for the next stage if they show active interest in your company.
The most likely reason your prospective customers are there is that they compared you with others at the previous stage. Would we do better if a prospective customer traversed someone else’s marketing funnel and found our company?
Likewise, you must retain your own customers to avoid experiencing the same fate as your competitors at the evaluation stage. You’ll get a larger share of the pie if you are just the most attractive candidate, all else being equal.
The evaluator needs what information? Provide your own comparison chart that illustrates how your service is better than others, since they will be making comparisons between your business and others. It is also great to use case studies to increase buyer confidence. It will reassure them that you will be able to achieve the same results with them as you did previously. Further establishing your business as an authority can also be achieved through white papers and other research, which can be incorporated into opt-in forms to increase engagement with your brand.
When customers move further down the funnel, it’s clear that they’re ready to make a purchase. There can also be a written contract depending on what the business is offering. Tracking abandonment rates using a shopping cart system is handy, however, if you’re curious about how many people bailed at the last minute. It might even convince them to take the plunge if you reach out to them.
Making a purchase decision
You’ll gain a deeper understanding of your customers’ origins when you reach this point. Your sales funnel has been used to attract them, or they’ve been poached from someone else’s, and they’re actively interested in what you sell.
At this point, what do you offer to achieve the best result? Here, you just need to make it as easy and comfortable as possible for them. Keeping checkout pages informative will help customers know exactly what to do to pay up and get the products or services you’re offering. To help convince customers to make a purchase, you can also provide examples of what happens after they make a purchase.
Once the sale has been completed, you will know they have moved on. Post-purchase support is still an important part of the process, however, since the process doesn’t fully end there.
List of content
If you want to comply with your onboarding process, you’ll need to document the information the customers will need at each stage of the funnel and when they’ll require it. It can be divided into three categories based on the temperature content, cold, warm, and hot.
Content of Cold Trac
At the top of the funnel, your prospects are looking at these pieces to learn about your company, its expertise, and its influence in the relevant industry. An example of that would be:
- Advertisements on Google.
- Ads on social media (depending on the industry and target demographic).
- Content written on your website for SEO purposes.
- Establish your company’s authority with white papers.
Trac content with a warm feel
Warm TRAC content is for the middle of your funnel, since things get warmer at the bottom. Your goal is to get them to come around and demonstrate interest in your product or service by transitioning from introductory posturing to persuasion. Among the steps involved are:
- The key to acing the evaluation test is to compare your company with your competitors.
- Examples of your company’s past success.
- On-site pop-ups that are relevant and helpful.
Content from Hot Trac
As we reach the bottom of the funnel, sealing the deal is the only thing left to do.
Tell them how to purchase on the checkout page by adding new and informative content.
Keep your successful customers in the loop with a post-purchase email funnel.
Another popular way to describe the sales funnel is with AIDA, which describes how you organize the content.
AIDA consists of four elements: Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action. Here are the details of each:
The focus is more on what the customer wants at this stage than on awareness/problem recognition at the top of the sales funnel. Despite knowing they need something, customers aren’t always sure what that solution is or how it would work.
In order to come up with your own solution to a problem, you need to draw attention to it. Your customers are more likely to stick with you if you identify the need for your product or service in the first place.
Sales funnel sections like interest and evaluation are pretty similar. It’s your job to stay at the top of their minds and catch as many prospective customers as possible, given the abundance of information available today.
Don’t blatantly promote your products. By putting forward informative and helpful content, you will be promoting your brand in a more effective way. Then you will have a much greater chance of convincing them to move forward than any advertisement ever could.
After being informed, the customer is ready to make a decision, but isn’t sure where to look for a solution. By using previous successes and your ongoing knowledge of the field, you should present content that proves you’re the best.
Your business and product will be evaluated here against others, so maintaining a good reputation is imperative.
When a customer becomes actively interested in what you have to offer, they take action at the bottom of the funnel by making a purchase.
By using a strong call to action on your site, you’ll get the customers to confirm their interest. As many people as possible must be able to complete the process by making it simple.
The Funnel of Qualifying Leads
In order to qualify leads in each section of your marketing campaign, it is important to create a solid marketing campaign. The result will be more efficient funneling since your salespeople won’t waste their time chasing down people who aren’t ready to move to the next stage. Instead, they’ll spend their time identifying qualified prospects.
There are many reasons why people won’t make the purchase, including disinterest, being poached by another company, or not having the resources. A promising lead, for instance, may not represent the ultimate decision maker of the company they represent, when dealing with other companies. It is generally possible to classify leads into two categories, marketing qualified and sales qualified.
Qualified Marketing Leads
Prospective customers who meet a certain interest threshold are known as market qualified leads, or MQLs. Engagement indicates potential sales when they demonstrate a degree of engagement.
Leaving the ball on their court is a timeless way to test this, regardless of how long your sales cycle is. This can be accomplished with forms and other interactive activities. Marketing automation software allows you to know when a certain percentage of your emails have been opened, a sign that they’re more than just casually interested in what you’re saying.
In order to increase sales, your sales team will want to follow up with MQLs as soon as they have been identified.
Leads that are qualified for sales
In sales qualified leads, or SQLs, a salesperson qualifies the lead themselves. Businesses will have different criteria for qualification. When determining whether a prospective customer is a good fit for your company, your personnel assess their level of interest and whether they resemble the company’s ideal customer profile.
It is possible for leads to fall into four different combinations based on these two variables. The following are some of them:
- Those with low interest aren’t worth your time because they’re unlikely to move forward.
- In many cases, employees who engage with businesses that supply other businesses browse products out of curiosity while interacting with the businesses. This isn’t a sales opportunity.
- These are the people who are interested in finding solutions to their retail pain points, but they are less likely to ask for them later after analyzing the data.
- They are either incompatible with your product or incompatible with your service.
- Most businesses don’t benefit from tailoring and diversifying their services or products.
- Larger companies may benefit from it, but smaller businesses don’t. Focus on compatible ones instead of cutting them loose.
Leads with low interest and high trust
These are leads who have closer contact to your ideal customer but aren’t proactive when it comes to finding a solution.
Nonetheless, they’re still a good target, so you should continue to raise your brand awareness, so they know exactly who to call when they need a product.
A high interest MQL is indicative of customers with a lot of interest who are likely to make good customers. The sales team prioritizes these leads as the highest priority and, when one of these high interest/high time leads is found, a junior representative refers it to the senior representative who knows how to close it.
Sales Funnel metrics that matter
You must determine how you will evaluate the funnel’s effectiveness at the end of the funnel planning process. Depending on who purchases and who does not, and how they interact with your content, you will need your SQL and MQL data to track and establish patterns. As a result, your funnel can be optimized toward those exhibiting typical buyer behaviors.
Focus only on the relevant key performance indicators (KPIs) rather than getting bogged down in data.
Make sure you focus on the metrics that are most important and effective. When new data emerges revealing that you’re focusing on metrics that aren’t as effective, you can change gears
You may find the following metrics useful:
- You should always pay attention to your sales funnel conversion rate.
- The goal of this metric is to track prospects who make it through your funnel and whether they convert at the end or not.
- Keep an eye on this metric whenever you make a change.
- A simple metric that tells you how many people entered your funnel and how they got there.
- Considering the 80/20 rule, you should take note of the content that is performing best and optimize its visibility online in order to maximize its effectiveness.
- In stage metrics,
- the number of people exiting at certain stages and the time spent on each stage is recorded. Your funnel can be improved by identifying problem areas.
- Your close rate reflects how often you’re closing sales based on the leads in your funnel, so it’s basically a measure of the funnel’s success.
Using this information, you can create a sales funnel that works for you. In addition to controlling previously vaguely understood market forces, such as customer interest and retention, having one gives you unparalleled control. While it won’t be easy, an effective sales and marketing funnel will pay dividends for your business throughout its lifetime.
Sales funnel examples from Real Life
For those of you who think in a more practical way, we can provide you with some examples of actual sales tactics that work in the real world, now that we’ve gone over all the theory behind your sales funnel.
If you want to see how all of the above information can be applied to your own company, take a look at the following examples of successful sales funnels from successful companies.
In the fifteen countries where Groupon still operates, you can find all sorts of service-oriented businesses through its global online marketplace. At the top of your screen, you’ll find an unmissable pop-up asking you to opt in to receiving emails from the site when you first visit.
Since Groupon launched in 2008, it has consistently grown its audience through its pop-up strategy. What is their sales funnel like? Whether through ads, referrals, affiliate programs, or just brand recognition, they get their traffic from the usual sources. By offering newcomers the chance to save 70% on deals, that pop-up capitalizes on their attention.
The pop-up works in this case, so why does it work? CTA opportunities are crucial in the sales funnel, but giving your email requires you to give it out, which is something that many people fear.
However, Groupon’s nature makes repeat business a strong possibility, and the site was tailored accordingly. As the majority of their customer base, women are also more likely to search for spa and restaurant deals frequently than men.
Groupon does not offer free trials. There are two possible outcomes with this funnel, either the customer is interested in the product or not.
MailChimp is a tool that should be familiar to many business owners. With MailChimp, you can focus on other entrepreneurial distractions while MailChimp organizes and emails your emails to interested parties, automating the marketing of your business.
The free plan is offered as part of a freemium model, and it worked well to grow the business during the business’s early stages since it attracted more users. Every email sent and sorted through their service will contain a “powered by MailChimp” watermark. Thus, MailChimp was also exposed to those who did business with their clients, significantly increasing brand awareness.
Several blogs mentioning the service are also responsible for much of the traffic. They then brand themselves as a marketing tool that inspires self-expression and company identity, using emotive language about expressing oneself. Using ideas instead of product/service level marketing discourse boosts their scale, as testing has proved more effective than product/service level marketing.
Since using the service is marketing in and of itself, they want you to sign up for free at first. Prospective customers then can find out what each plan includes if they navigate to their interactive pricing page.
Since the company has a massive advertising network, so many free users are promoting their service without incurring overhead.
A pricing page that calculates the cost based on the number of subscribers to your email list is something you don’t see very often. Their pricing method is both simple and sophisticated.