How to create a sales funnel
How to create a sales funnel you ask? Why would you even need one in the first place? Let’s discuss what a sales funnel is and why it is crucial you implement one for your business. From there, we will discuss the actual steps you can take to create your very own sales funnel.
- 1 What is a sales funnel
- 2 Why does having the perfect sales funnel matter
- 3 So how do you actually build your sales funnel
- 3.1 The different levels of a sales funnel
- 3.1.1 Marketing
- 3.1.2 The Sales Process
- 3.1 The different levels of a sales funnel
- 4 Conclusion
What is a sales funnel
A sales funnel is the customer journey, or rather the number of steps a prospect takes on their way to make a purchase. It generally comprises of different levels or steps. For example the top, middle and bottom level or step. These levels may vary depending on a company’s processes.
Like the metaphor it alludes to, a sales funnel shaped like a funnel. The width of each part of the sales funnel indicates the audience size of that particular section. The top is the widest, with the bottom being the smallest.
Why does having the perfect sales funnel matter
A sales funnel will help you understand and visualize your overall sales process. There are so many entrepreneurs out there, stumbling in the dark. They essentially throw away money on ill conceived marketing strategies because they don’t understand where their customers come from and the overall customer journey.
A sales funnel will help you with the following;
Pick an effective marketing strategy
Understanding your overall sales funnel will help you pick your marketing and sales strategy. For example, some business people only like to deal with prospects in the decision section of the funnel. They find it easier to drive customers to the action section of the sales funnel.
Your sales funnel will help you relate to your customers
As entrepreneurs, we tend to operate in our own world sometimes. Be it the language we use, or generally how we describe our products. Sometimes we lack the ability to empathize with our customers. To truly understand them. Understanding your funnel will help you relate better to your customers. For example, if you know someone is still high up in the funnel, maybe at the research level, you will not be too pushy with sales. Also knowing someone is at the bottom of the funnel and ready to buy, allows you to cut to the chase and close the deal.
You get to know how to react to your customers and how to treat them. Whether to stand back and let the customer discover about you or do a hard sales push.
Generate more profitable sales
Your sales funnel is going to give you a birds eye view of your customer journey. This will allow you to shape and mold your sales process to fit them. As a result, you will be able to get more sales efficiently. This means, you spend only the resources that you need to spend to close the deal, nothing more.
So a good sales funnel affects both your top line and bottom line.
So how do you actually build your sales funnel
As mentioned, the sales funnel is made up of several levels, depending on your company processes. We are going to discuss the major levels. You can definitely add and remove the levels to fit your needs. But they all follow a common template.
The different levels of a sales funnel
These are the different levels of the sales funnel;
Essentially there are three levels;
- The sales process
- The customers
Marketing is the secret to how to create your sales funnel. This forms the top level of sales funnel for many businesses. Yours will not be different. In this level we are concerned about one thing only, getting people aware of your business. Awareness is the first step in converting the average person into a paying customer.
There are several methods to make people aware of your business. They vary in complexity and cost. So before choosing a marketing channel, you need to know your capabilities. Capabilities in terms of the resources you can expend. These are time and money.
If you have a small budget I am naturally going to assume you will dedicate more time, to make up for the difference.
So we will organize this section according to cost. First we will discuss low cost but time consuming marketing activities. Then we will discuss marketing channels that require capital.
Low cost marketing (top of the sales funnel) tips
Like I mentioned, low cost doesn’t mean free. There will be a time investment on your part that is required. But lets, dive in.
SEO, or rather Search Engine Optimization is one of the most effective low cost marketing strategy out there. It is the power tool on how to create your sales funnel. Really, I mean it. Very few marketing strategies come close to beating it. What makes SEO special is the set up and forget nature of it. What I mean by this is, you can set up this channel and it can continue to market you for years to come, without additional input from your part.
So how do you go about it and what will you need?
To create your sales funnel, you are going to need a website. Luckily, creating a website is fairly easy. I would advise you to get a WordPress self hosted website. WordPress is a really good platform that has been tried and tested. When it comes to SEO WordPress is quite effective.
The next thing you will require is website hosting. I recommend, Dreamhost. It is a rather cheap but robust hosting platform, with good support.
If you need extra help in actually designing your website and bringing your vision to life, you could always reach out to us here.
After you set up the website, what else do you need to create your sales funnel?
This is usually the hardest part. You need to give Google a reason to rank your website well. Its not as hard as it sounds though. Google is basically a mechanism for organizing information. Its goal is to give its users access to the best quality information. So if you create good, high quality and useful information, you will climb up the ranking ladder.
By useful information we mean, blogs and articles. If you don’t have a lot of time to dedicate to writing, or rather if you feel you writing isn’t your strong suite, don’t panic. At Ahadisoft Group LLC we provide quality blog and article writing services that will save you time and get you to rank faster. You can contact us here.
A well executed SEO strategy will result in website traffic and brand awareness.
Social media is another very low cost way of creating awareness for your business. Although it is quite possible to waste time on social media and not get anything for your efforts. So you need to proceed with social media with caution.
For businesses, I would really recommend Pinterest and LinkedIN. Pinterest is really handy because most people are visual. if you are able to produce really compelling visual content it will benefit you. This is because Pinterest can create traffic for your website and also really boost brand awareness.
LinkedIn is for the more formal crowd. But with LinkedIn, you can connect to potential customers and make them aware of what you do and what you provide.
For Twitter, I am a bit lukewarm. Getting traction on Twitter is quite difficult and the resulting brand awareness may not be as great. But if you are able to build a following on Twitter, you will essentially have created the top part of your funnel.
Facebook is great but its popularity has been waning. Instagram is really good too if your business is focused on products with high visual stimulation. For example interior design, fashion or architecture for example. If your products are visually appealing, you will do really well on Instagram.
Non-low cost marketing (top of the sales funnel) tips
Now we get to the marketing channels that are a bit costly. But remember cost is relative. If you are going to get sales profitably from a channel. Does it really matter how much you spend as long as you are profitable?
I use the term, non low cost because, some monetary input is going to be required. Lets dive in;
Super expensive, but Google ADS work. More so if your product has a high Customer Lifetime Value(CLV). If you sell products that need constant replenishment Google ADS is for you. Also if your products have very high margins and are unique, Google ADS are also for you.
I would advise you to avoid Google ADs if all you do is buy at a low price and sell online. This is because, it is very common for bid prices to go sky high as product prices shrink.
As a matter of fact, if you are not creating anything new and different, Google ADS are going to be expensive for you. Expect to spend almost 2X the listed price of an item to sell it.
The main benefit of Google ADs is that, with search ads, people only see the ads when they search for a relevant keyword. For example, if I search for “Quality furniture” I see furniture related ads. This is excellent because, the ADs aren’t annoying and because of the high intent nature of ADs, more people are likely to click them.
Of course for this, you have to pay slightly higher costs than other ADs such as social media.
Facebook ADs are my darling. They work and they are relatively cheap. The only issue with Facebook is that, it Facebook is really losing its luster as a platform. So I wouldn’t have Facebook as the only channel.
The Sales Process
This is the part where many dreams come to die. Most people are able to build the top level of the sales funnel, but then they get to the sales process and struggle. They make the effort to write good content for SEO or they spend huge on ADs, the traffic comes and they are blank. They don’t know what do do next. Essentially, this is where the funnel becomes more like a sieve.
Once those inquiries start raining in, it can get overwhelming. You have to deal with follow up calls, making proposals, meetings. If you are not careful, you can waste a lot of time and lose your sanity.
Sales process automation is basically optimizing this part of the sales funnel. Its all about automating the repetitive and monotonous tasks so that you are free to focus on the key goal. That is converting your visitors into paying customers.
You may have to invest in a sales process automation platform. While there are many platforms, a good platform will allow you to;
- Automate follow ups, this is will enable you to do follow ups with your leads in an organized and efficient way.
- Easily train your all your team members, that is new and current, with repeatable and scalable systems. Yes, you may need extra help at this point. So it is necessary to create standardized internal company processes that help you qualify and close leads.
- Keep track of the money part. Sending invoices and keeping track of payments is not easy. A sales process automation platform will help you here.
Sales process is a key level on how to create a sales funnel.
So what does Sales process entail?
Not every Tom, Dick and Harry who comes to your website will buy from you. Some people are just tourists. Many are just researchers and day dreamers. It is important to understand where you leads fall. So you need to qualify them.
How do you qualify leads?
You could do the literal definition of qualifying leads, for example having a bank qualify them. This is common in the real estate field. As an agent, before you show a really high end listing, make sure that they can actually afford to buy.
The other method is by asking really good questions. For example if you are talking to an enterprise buyer, you could ask, “tell me about other software platforms you have purchased”. The response will tell you whether the person you are talking to is a key decision maker or not. For example they could tell you that, actually, they are not in charge of making the actual purchase. From there it would be easier to track the right person.
You will be creating a lot of proposals if you are in the b2b segment. A proposal is the document detailing what exactly you will help them achieve and at what cost. The rule here is to spend the time creating proposals for qualified leads only.
Focus on those who you feel can convert. Otherwise, you will get a lot of disappointment and missed dates/birthdays.
Yes, this is the part of the sales funnel where you are going to be meeting people. Generally, if you write a good and compelling proposal, they will reach out and ask for a meeting. I have attended a lot of these meetings and what I can advise is to focus on establishing yourself as the expert and creating a rapport.
By rapport I don’t mean you start asking them about their children. But rather you need some common ground business wise. For example maybe both of you have the same guess where the industry is headed. Stick to the topic at hand and don’t deviate. Trust me on that one. Talk about what is on the agenda and what you have prepared for. Anything else, will need another meeting.
Sending invoices, delivering and keeping track of payments
Generally, in this level is where you get the orders. You also get payments here. A good finance platform will save you headaches. It is quite easy to forget to invoice a client. Also its quite easy to forget to collect a payment. There was a time I forgot to bill a client for two months retainers. He was cool and paid up immediately. Sometimes there is no malice in clients paying late. They are busy people and it can just slip their minds.
The customers stage
This is called the customers stage because everyone you deal with here is a customer. In this stage it is all about ensuring the customer’s success and happiness. It is all about ensuring that your customer is going to come back and/or make a larger order next time. There are a few key activities in this stage.
Reviews are important. They form a very powerful perception of social proof. After sometime has passed, it is advisable to go to the client and as them for honest feedback. Did they love your services? What about the product, did it work as expected?
Don’t be shy about posting good reviews on your website either, you deserve them. They are like a badge of honor.
This is exactly what it sounds like. Its all about ensuring that customers are successful with your products or services. The business world is competitive. For example enterprise software companies can no longer depend on long lock in periods. Your customers can easily jump ship and find alternatives.
As a business, you have to invest in customer success.
You need to help your customers get started with your amazing product. In addition to that, you need to help them leverage your product to achieve their goals.
Part of customer success is also helping them with technical issues and support.
The three sections discussed above are just top level sections. They can be further broken down into various components. The answer on how to create a sales funnel, simply depends on your business, goals and internal process. For example in the sales process level, you could break it down according to your particular industry and process.
For example in the real estate sector, you could have the qualifying level as a stand alone level. This is due to the sheer importance of the level.
Another example, in enterprise SAAS, customer retention and churn reduction is everything. So a focus on customer success is paramount.
There is also the ecommerce store. In ecommerce, the most important thing is marketing and up sells. The sales funnel is rather wide at the top, and even wider at the bottom. We call this the inverted sales funnel. Whereby the customers section is wider than the marketing section, because of the value of upsells.
We hope you have gotten enough insights on how to create your sales funnel.