Your sales funnel – also known as your revenue funnel or sales process – leads prospective customers through their buying journey.
A well designed and properly executed sales funnel helps a business to convert their leads into paying customers.
It’s important – and not easy – to build a great funnel. One that helps you identify the right buyer early, and makes buying your product a happy experience.
If you’re looking for an effective sales funnel strategy, this post will help you understand the different steps of building a sales funnel.
Table of Contents:
- What is a sales funnel?
- Understand the different sales funnel stages
- Setting Up a Sales Funnel
- Sales funnel example
What Is a Sales Funnel?
A sales funnel is a marketing concept that describes the journey a prospect has to take in order to purchase a product or service. As a potential customer passes through the steps of the sales funnel, it signifies a deeper commitment to the purchase goal.
We can identify 4 basic Sales Funnel stages:
- Awareness Stage
- Interest Stage
- Decision Stage
- Action Stage
The concept is schematized by a funnel, since many prospects may begin the sales process at the first stage.
However, only a fraction of potential customers will take action and buy what you are selling, so it’s up to you to make their customer journey and customer experience as seamless as possible.
So, how do you build a sales funnel?
Before we get to that, it’s imperative that we understand the different sales funnel stages.
Understand the Different Sales Funnels
The journey might be different from one potential customer to another. It will depend on your strategy and business vision.
You can easily remember the four sales funnel stages by the acronym AIDA: Awareness, Interest, Decision, and Action.
Each step needs a different approach, so that you don’t send the wrong message at the wrong time and mess up your sales funnel strategy.
Let’s have a look to the stages in details.
This is the stage where the prospect learns about your brand and what you offer. This moment can happen through social media, word of mouth, Google research, Facebook ad etc.
Sometimes, when your potential customers discover your product/service, they may become aware of a problem they are facing and wonder how to fix it.
This might become a right-place, right-time scenario where consumers will immediately buy what you are selling.
The interest stage is when prospects are doing research to find the best solution to resolve their issue and achieve their goals. It’s the time for you to attract them to your product or service with incredible content.
Be careful not to push your product or service to them via your marketing funnel. Their decision is not made yet, and selling your products to them at this stage may chase them away.
In your content, give potential customers all the information they may need, make sure they can see you are reliable, and offer help in any way you can.
This stage of the sales funnel is when the prospect is ready to buy.
Since they might be considering two or three options — hopefully, you included — it is the time to make the most irresistible offer that you can think of (packages, options, free shipping, discount…) to erase all hesitatation to buy your product or service.
That is the bottom of the sales funnel. Here the prospect becomes one of your company’s customers by buying your product or service.It’s important to state that there might be additional stages to your sales funnel. Your interaction with the customer needs to go beyond the act of purchasing.
Now you have to focus on customer retention by expressing gratitude for the purchase, inviting him or her to share feedback, making your brand available for support, etc.
Setting Up a Sales Funnel
How do you build a sales funnel that converts and supplies your sales team with prospects?
#1. Know Your Target Audience
You need to understand your target audience before you begin to create your sales funnel. Base your research on the following points:
- The problems they’re seeking solutions for
- The social media channels they use
- Things that interest them the most
- Things they find the most annoying about online shopping
#2. Build Your Buyer Personas
You can build different buyer personas that target different marketing campaigns.
You can derive different – and accurate – buyer personas from research, based on these questions:
- Why will they buy your product?
- What are the things that influence them into buying a product?
- How are they going to use the product after purchasing it?
#3. Plan on Generating Traffic
If people are not aware of the products you sell, there will be no sale. Therefore, you need to adopt different lead generation strategies to drive users to your website.
You can adopt the following measures for this purpose:
- PPC campaigns
- Landing page optimization
- Influencer marketing
- Guest posting
- Social media marketing
#4. Plan on Engaging Your Audience
Your lead generation efforts won’t be enough on their own if you fail to engage your audience. They need to learn about your product and services, and this goal can be achieved with the help of the following strategies:
- Creating engaging and high quality blogs
- Creating interesting videos
- Involving influencers and requesting that they review and offer tutorials of your products
- Promoting your content on social media platforms
- Conducting high-value email marketing campaigns
#5. Convert Your Leads
One of your goals is to create a high converting sales funnel.
Lead conversion is the final stage of the process, during which the visitors convert into paying customers. Ensure that completing a purchase does not take too long by:
- Minimizing the number of form fields
- Minimizing the number of steps for completing a purchase
- Optimize one-click options for sign-in and sign up
Sales Funnel Example
So, now that we’ve figured out how to create a business funnel, let’s illustrate through the example of Netflix.
From relatively humble beginnings as a DVD-by-mail service, Netflix is currently the most used paid subscriber video streaming service, with more than 200 million subscribers.
The platform allows its members to watch a wide variety of award-winning movies, TV shows, documentaries and more, on millions of internet-connected devices. The site is simple and easy to use, and you know exactly what you’re getting.
Steps in Netflix’s sales funnel
- Homepage : their homepage explains their risk-free trial, with a progress bar/timeline design. They state that there’s no commitment with the free trial and you can cancel anytime. They emphasize the risk reversal because Netflix is a recurring charge.
- Create an account introduction page : to avoid people leaving the funnel when seeing a sign-up page, Netflix softens the impact with an introduction page which pre-frames you on what you will have to do next.
- Create an account: here you are required to give an email address to create an account. The visitor becomes a lead.
- Plan introduction page : Netflix doesn’t redirect you directly to the pricing page. The platform uses a plan introduction page. They know that if you are showing costs right after a free offer, most visitors will leave the funnel. To soften the journey, they first remind you that you can cancel anytime, and that there are no risks.
- Pricing Page : you can scroll right down to the FAQ section and find the pricing info. By default, Netflix selects the Premium plan for you (which is a very smart move). You can downgrade if you want though.
- Payment method page : Netflix asks you for your payment method for after the free trial. You have multiple payment options: gift card, credit code, and PayPal. On this page, there is once more a reminder that you can cancel at any time.
- Payment details page : the platform collects your payment information and now you can start your membership and use Netflix.
The lead is now registered to become a paying customer in 30 days.
Why does this sales funnel work?
Netflix’s sales funnel works for different reasons:
- It’s simple, easy to use and clear
- Visitors are guided along all the short steps
- They highlight a risk-free offer
- They offer a reliable product and a reliable brand
- FAQs available during the sale funnel to reassure visitors
- Great user experience, ability to use any device to buy the service
- Multiple payment options
Netflix’s funnel is a great example, because it values both the brand and the customer.