What Is A Sales Funnel?

You’ve likely come across the term sales funnel often used in marketing.

Have you ever wondered what it means?

A sales funnel refers to the progression of steps (or journey) that customers take from discovering your business and products to making the final purchase decision.

Here’s an example.

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    Let’s say you have a brick-and-mortar store. Many potential customers will walk past the door, but only a percentage will decide to step in.

    Of those that walk in, a percentage of these will see products they like and decide to look at them.

    A percentage of those who decided to view the products will pick those they like and proceed to the checkout, where they will make a purchase.

    The steps customers take to buy will be similar, more or less, whether you run a brick-and-mortar store or an online store.

    But why is understanding the sales funnel important?

    Good question!

    Shopping in a Store

    Why Is the Sales Funnel Important?

    So here’s the deal.

    Understanding the sales funnel helps you know what potential customers think when they are at different sales funnel stages.

    Why is this important?

    Because now, you can develop marketing strategies geared toward pushing the customers towards the next stage until they finally make a purchase.

    It also means developing personalized messages tailored toward clients based on which stage they are in the sales funnel.

    The Stages of the Sales Funnel

    When prospects first hear of your business, products, or services, they will go through several decision-making stages until they can finally make a purchase.

    Granted, the process may not be the same for every customer. However, they will make their choice sooner or later based on their interest.

    That said, there are four main stages of the sales funnel.

    Are you ready?

    Selling a Product

    The Awareness Stage

    Here customers are first learning about your products and services.

    This can be through social media ads, your sales team, or various other marketing campaigns your business has developed.

    I’ll be honest with you.

    The number of leads who move down the sales funnel will depend on how effective and engaging your marketing efforts are.

    Okay fine, sometimes it is different.

    Sometimes customers may go straight into buying a product.

    Most times, however, you will need to woo the customer at the awareness stage to encourage them through the following stages.

    The Interest Stage

    Now that customers know about your products or services, they will enter the interest stage.

    Here they will make competitive research comparisons and weigh the options available to them.

    So here’s what you do.

    Offer your customers valuable content and information.

    However, ensure that the content helps your customers make the right choice BUT doesn’t try to sell. Doing this would likely scare them away.

    What happens next?

    You establish your business as an expert in the minds of customers.

    This helps build brand trust, which allows them to move to the next stage.

    The Decision Stage

    At this stage in the buying process, the customer is ready to make a purchase.

    Keep in mind that they could also be interested in a competitor’s products.

    So what do you do about it?

    Add in deals, discount codes, and promos. The goal is to make your products so attractive that customers can’t wait to purchase them.

    The Action Stage

    The customer finally buys your product.

    Not bad, right?

    It may be the final step in the sales funnel. However, it doesn’t mean that it’s all over.
    Yes, there’s more!

    Always ensure you have a customer retention strategy in place for them to keep coming back for more.

    This may include building customer relations by offering after-sales support, for instance.

    A Happy Shopper

    Final Word

    Understanding which stage of the sales funnel a customer is in allows you to know exactly what is going on in their minds.

    This, in turn, makes it possible for you to send marketing messages that are more personalized and tailored to the individual client. This results in more leads going through the sales funnel.