What is A Sales Funnel?
Every business has a sales cycle, and each one looks a little different, but pretty much all organizations can be likened to a funnel – wide at the top, narrow at the bottom – as they review their sales processes.
At the top of the funnel are unqualified prospects – the many people who you think might need your product or service, but to whom you’ve never spoken. At the bottom of the funnel, after many marketing, sales and delivery steps, are people who have purchased your product or service.
Just like a funnel, it’s expected that prospects will drop away at each stage of a long sales process. But when you find the ones who stick around, you can use marketing not only to keep them as customers, but to turn them into your biggest advocates.
Why Should I Care about the Sales Funnel?
Thanks to a shift in marketing tactics across industries and platforms, customers and prospects expect to be marketed to with informative messaging that speaks directly to their concerns, interests and preferences. Effective marketing is always first and foremost relevant to the recipient.
When you apply marketing tactics to your sales funnel, you can help ensure that you’re sharing helpful information to audiences who want it most. And you’re saving valuable marketing dollars by targeting just the prospects who are interested.
The Five Stages of the Sales Funnel
The Shift in Sales Funnel Marketing
At any given point in time, a prospect can be described as ready for one of five stages in the sales funnel.
The awareness stage is when potential customers simply are getting to know you while discovering your products, values and approach.
Consideration is just what it suggests. Prospects are considering doing business with you or supporting your cause.
You’ve got a sale. This is the first moment of conversion from prospect to customer.
Research has shown that attracting new customers is five times as expensive as retaining existing ones. As such, the sales funnel doesn’t end with a sale, but continues on as customers are nurtured and retained.
When you’ve found a customer who will sell for you, you’ve found a golden egg. Advocates, though hard to find and retain, are one of the best sales tools for any brand.