Without a feasible marketing strategy, all your efforts may be for nothing no matter the quality of your products/services.
And to create a working sales strategy, understanding your online sales funnel is of paramount importance.
What is a sales funnel, you may ask?
A sales funnel is a roadmap or a process that leads visitors to your site through a systematic process with the goal of purchasing your products/services.
The idea behind a sales funnel is to convert leads into prospects, then prospects into customers, who finally becomes repeat customers, buying over and over again.
Having an online sales funnel in place allows you to get the best results out of your sales leads. It also enables you to understand your customers and measure the progress at each stage of the sales process.
Sadly, recent data on B2B marketing data shows that 68% of B2B companies have not identified their online sales funnel.
If you fail to identify your online sales funnel, you may be selling blindly, operating on the old trial and error methods.
Understanding the stages of an online sales funnel
This marketing system was so named because, in diagram form, it looks like a funnel.
From the time your prospects get to know you until the moment they make a purchase decision, they go through a series of stages.
This journey may differ from one prospect to another due to variabilities in your buyer personas, products, and niche types, so your sales funnel may have as many stages as possible.
But in general, your online sales funnel should have the following four stages:
Stage 1: Awareness
Awareness stage (on top of the funnel) is the biggest one and contains the largest number of people.
This stage is composed of leads, people who land on your website either by chance or in need of your product/services.
At this stage, prospects learn about your site for the first time, either through Google search, ads, social networks, referrals, email marketing, etc…
Every lead is a potential customer, so it’s important to give a great first impression.
Stage 2: Interest
At this stage, the prospect has already landed on your page and is actively looking for solutions to their problems.
They express interest in your products/services. They may take actions such as subscribing to your email list or even follow you on social media.
This is the right stage to engage them with rich and unique content so as to keep them coming back over and over again.
Stage 3: Decision
At this stage, the prospects are deciding on whether to make a buying decision.
They’ll pay close attention to what you offer, plans, and pricing, then perform a comparative analysis with what your competitors are offering.
This is when various levels of sales offers are made using retarget marketing, webinars, landing pages etc.
Stage 4: Action
At this stage, the prospects decide to become a customer by buying from you.
They are finalizing the deal by clicking the purchase button.
If satisfied by your products/services, they might buy again from you to become loyal customers.
Of course, depending on the nature of your business, there could be more stages to your sales funnel.
Why your business needs an online sales funnel
A sales funnel helps you to define and understand your customers buying habits better.
Understanding how customers find you, why they find you, and why they stay or leave is the key to growing your business.
Sales funnels also allow you to identify and target different members of your “Stage 1” audience based upon the initial content that they displayed interest in.
Here are a few reasons why your business needs an online sales funnel:
1. An online sales funnel can help you focus on the right leads
Creating a sales funnel gives you insights into what leads to pursue.
It lets you devote time and resources working with sales leads that are promising, instead of spending too much time chasing bad leads.
Including preliminary steps in your leads such as ‘initial phone screening’ or ‘initial email survey’ can allow you to understand and interact with your prospects.
Every step of your interaction with prospects gives you an opportunity to learn more about them and figure out who is serious and who is not yet ready to buy.
2. Sort and rank sales leads
Having an online sales funnel will help you come up with an organized process for sorting, evaluating, and ranking your sales leads.
This process will help you identify which leads require immediate attention, which leads are more likely to buy, and which leads require a long-term nurturing and follow up to convert them to customers.
All leads have different opinions and needs.
Some will easily convert and become loyal customers. Others are a poor fit and will require a lot of attention and persuasion to build trust and establish a working business relationship.
3. Implement a long-term process for leads nurturing
This is particularly useful when you’re dealing with complex big account B2B sales. Such sales take time, typically more than six months before a client can sign a contract and close the deal.
In such cases, having a sales funnel with multiple points of contacts over the engagement period is crucial.
A sales funnel will keep you nurturing the leads by doing follow up over the entire period until they make a buying decision.
4. Attract the perfect leads to your business
An online sales funnel, if enriched with the right content, will attract new leads to your business.
In an ever-evolving business world that is saturated with new business opportunities and plenty of options for consumers, it can be difficult to beat the competition.
Instead of making the efforts to attract every lead, a well-structured sales funnel can let you speak directly to the right leads.
Furthermore, you don’t need to attract every lead, just the right ones.
5. Make forecasts for your sales volume
Online marketing is a numbers game. And with each marketing exposure, you can quantify the number of customers, then use that data to forecast sales over a certain period of time.
When you have a well-organized sales funnel, and you have analyzed the number of prospects whom you have established a working relationship with, you can use it to predict sales volume.
Understanding your online sales funnel is crucial to succeeding in any marketing campaign.
A sales funnel gives you a deep understanding of your customers and the buying cycle.
It lets you build relationships with leads who eventually become return customers.
However, for your online sales funnel to generate great results, you’ll need to have an engaging landing page and a well-constructed auto responder.
Want to get more from your marketing efforts? We can help you reach your goals with our digital remarketing strategies. We have the certified experts needed to achieve your positive results.
Owner and Chief Marketing Officer, Jason Hall, and his team specialize in creating brand awareness / traffic and lead generation / marketing funnel and conversion optimization, while utilizing the appropriate marketing channels available within your industry.
With diverse clients throughout the world, Jason’s team is well connected within many industries to assist with your marketing strategies. With no long term contracts and various levels of service, Jason’s team will increase the quality of your online traffic, leads, and sales.
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About the author...
Located in the heart of the Emerald Coast - Destin, FL,founder and Chief Marketing Officer, Jason Hall, and his team specialize in creating brand awareness / traffic and lead generation / marketing funnel and conversion optimization, while utilizing the appropriate marketing channels available within your industry.
With diverse clients throughout the world, Jason's team is well connected within many industries to assist with your marketing strategies. With no long term contracts and various levels of service, Jason's team will increase the quality of your online traffic, leads, and sales.
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