What to Know About the Sales Funnel

What to Know About the Sales FunnelA prospect isn’t necessarily ready to purchase your product or service the moment they visit your website. Therefore, you need a sales funnel.

Some leads are just becoming aware of their problem and are still researching it. Others have identified their challenge, and they’re beginning to explore their options regarding solutions. Still, others are ready to purchase immediately.

To turn a prospect into a paying customer, you would need to tailor your marketing to prospects who are at different stages of their buying journey. That is a marketing funnel.

A sales funnel is part of the same funnel. But when the marketing team hands off a lead to sales, it means they’re ready to buy right away or within a couple of steps.

Are All Funnels the Same?

In a word, no. Not only do you need to tailor your marketing to prospects who are at different stages in their buying journey, but you also need to speak their language.

Customers aren’t all the same, especially across different industries and niches. The information they need to make a buying decision will vary based on the size of the sale, the problem the product or service solves, how sophisticated the solution is, and so on.

Also, you may have several “entry points” for your prospects. It means you would have different funnels based on how they found out about you. Or in the case of sales, the steps they’ve taken so far to learn about your offering.

For instance, you might have prospects who’ve signed up for a free consultation session. After they’ve filled out the application, they are brought to a “Thank You” page. The consultation session goes well, and this leads to a purchase. It would describe a simple funnel, from top to bottom.

But you might have more complex funnels for prospects that sign up for an opt-in offer on a landing page. After signing up, they are brought to a “Thank You” page with an additional offer. It could be a low-cost product to get them “hooked.” This funnel wouldn’t necessarily end here – you may want to upsell and cross-sell your customers on additional products that would help them solve their problem. After making the initial purchase, customers would be brought to additional purchases and “Thank You” pages to help them solve progressively bigger problems.

Setting up an Effective Funnel

In mapping out the buying journey of your customer, proper communication between marketing and sales is essential. Marketing needs to know when to hand warm and qualified leads off to sales. Sales needs to know what steps the prospects has taken.

Again, not all teams will agree exactly on when this should happen. As we’ve already seen, the right time to hand a lead off to sales is generally when they are taking their final steps to purchase. Marketing and sales should work together and agree on when this is.

In the above example with free consultations, it could be marketing’s job to get the prospect to sign up for a session. Sales could fulfill the session and close the sale.

Another important consideration is the segmentation of your email list. You should have different segments for different prospects, and as they take different actions, they should be added to the appropriate segment. You can set up automated sequences for each, which would help you automate your processes and run parts of your funnel on autopilot.

Final Thoughts

The fewer resources you have, the simpler your funnel needs to be. You could use a single entry point for your leads, and have a linear progression. For instance, an eBook, an email invitation to your webinar, the webinar, a tripwire offer, a “Thank You” page, and finally purchase. In this example, you could have marketing handle everything up to the “Thank You” page. Then, you could hand off the prospect to sales.

Ultimately, there are different ways to get a lead or a sale. It’s important to be aware of the different paths your prospects will take to get informed and make a purchase.

What does your sales funnel look like? How does your marketing and sales team collaborate to get the sale?

Let us know in the comments below.

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