Let’s state the obvious: having a properly set up sales funnel gives you good results. It could be increased sales productivity, faster response times, more revenue, and more. Despite its importance, many businesses neglect this step completely and venture into the fray blindfolded. You wouldn’t want to do that your business, would you? Which is why it is imperative that you know what the different stages of sales funnel are.

Stages of a sales funnel - banner

But why, you may ask. You see, it’s similar to building a house. What if your mason had no idea what went into the construction of your home, and just went about putting bricks together haphazardly? I doubt you’d be pleased with the result, or that you’d feel safe in a structure put together by a clueless professional. Building a sales funnel for your business is similar.

The different stages of a sales funnel:

Okay, so let’s break down the stages of a sales funnel:

  • Awareness
  • Attraction
  • Interest
  • Purchase
  • Delight

This is how your lead or prospect will travel down the sales funnel to finally become your customer. But, it is also true that not every lead who enters the funnel will come out of it. Your marketing campaign might attract 10,000 leads, but in all likelihood, only 5 out of them may become your final customers.

Awareness:

This is the stage where, in most cases, your target audience is hearing of your business for the very first time. In this case, it is very important for them to understand exactly what you do. There are many ways of attracting attention. But, before you start that, the first thing you need to figure out is where your customer is present. And then go to them.

stages of a sales funnel - awareness

If your business is extensively online, then you need to figure out the channels in which your leads are present. If your clientele is largely on Facebook, you can run ads there or write sponsored content that would attract them. But if you feel they are more on video consuming sites like YouTube, then you can invest in producing a catchy video, that is sure to catch their attention.

But if you think your audience is mostly offline, then you can look for ways to reach them. This could be through relevant events like trade fairs or through billboards. You can even use more personal methods such as door to door marketing or even distributing flyers.

Just remember, that this is one of the most crucial steps in your sales funnel because this is where your customers form their very first impression of you.

Attraction:

The next step is when you try and get your leads to interact with your business. In this stage, you assume that your leads are at least aware of your business and know what product/service you are selling to them. You should now try to entice or convince them as to why they need your product.

Stages of a sales funnel - Attraction

The best way to do this is to educate your customer. Remember the series F.R.I.E.N.D.S? Phoebe tries to sell toner to her clients with a script that tries to educate their clientele of why exactly they need toner! Of course, you needn’t try to convince a suicidal man. But you get the gist.

Educate your customer on why exactly they need to buy from you. What value you would add to the business and how it will solve a problem that they have. It is always prudent to highlight the problem rather than the solution. Because sometimes people might not even be aware of the problems they face until someone points them out.

Once you put the right message across, people who have these problems will automatically start coming to your business.

sales funnel for managers

Interest:

This is the stage that every business dreams of. Where the customer comes to find you rather than the other way around. Once you educate them on the product/service you provide and why you are better than the others, they will start coming to you. This interest manifests in them submitting your forms, clicking on your ads, and otherwise voluntarily giving you their information.

stages of a funnel - interest

Now the onus of converting these leads falls on the sales team. They have to ensnare the lead’s interest and ensure that the lead’s interest remains piqued. In that case, you have to pitch the product to them in the right way, address any pain points that they may have and offer solutions for the same.

Things like sharing pre-sales documents, negotiating prices, evaluating other products etc, takes place in this stage of the funnel. You have to be on your toes to ensure that the sale does not move to some other business by offering them exactly what they want.

Purchase:

This is the happy ending that every business dreams of. Where the lead finally makes up their mind and chooses to buy from your business. This is more of a transactional phase, where money is exchanged, and the product or service reaches the buyer.

Stages of a Sales funnel - purchase

In the case of heavier products or SaaS products, there might be an installation or onboarding period in which the customer is given training on how to use the product to the best of their ability.

Delight:

Now, this is the stage where your funnel gives birth to the next sales funnel. You need to ensure that they are extremely happy with the product/service you provide. This is a step that many businesses miss out on. This is mainly due to the misconception that once the purchase has been made the funnel is over.

stages of a dsales funnel - delight

The power of suggestion is very high among buyers. When they hear other people talk about the good experiences or benefits that they have received by using a product, then they are more prone to purchase it themselves. With this in mind, you should always encourage your customers to review and rank you and your business.

Having a transparent review and rating system will only bolster your image and, in turn, convert into long-term business. You can even offer your customers incentives to rate you on the most popular review portals. Or in the case of B2B businesses, you can get them to do case studies or video testimonials on your website, which in turn will convince more people to buy from you.

So there you go! These are the different stages of a sales funnel. Now you know what goes into building one, go ahead and build one for your business and watch the results pouring in.

While you are at it, why don’t you use a tool to help you build your funnel? You can take a 15-day trial with LeadSquared. 

Digital marketing and online visibility tool SEMrush has come out with a great opportunity for content marketers across India to showcase their expertise in the industry. It’s called the SEMrush India Big Blogging Contest.

The premise of the contest is simple – write a blog post (on a topic out of 100 predefined options) and promote it in any manner you choose.

The winning entry will receive a Macbook Pro – one great incentive to outdo your competitors and get a blogging companion for the next few years!

Blog Contest LeadSquared

But that’s not all. The contest will receive entries from the best agencies, bloggers and marketers across India. This is a chance for every marketer to prove what they claim on their website – that they provide the best, most appropriate content to suit their clients’ business. This is a chance for every marketer to prove that they can create content on a subject on which they’re expected to have expertise, authority and in-depth knowledge.

SEMrush has made the job of choosing a topic a bit easier (or maybe, we could say, smartly made it more difficult). They have a predefined list of 100 headlines to choose from, categorized into the following topics:

  • Digital Marketing
  • Content Strategy & Content Marketing
  • Online Branding & PR
  • Marketing Automation
  • Data Analytics
  • Competitive Intelligence
  • Conversion Rate Optimization
  • Ecommerce Marketing
  • Growth Hacking
  • Customer Acquisition & Retention
  • B2B Marketing
  • Artificial Intelligence in Marketing

Entries will be judged by some of the biggest names in the Digital Marketing Industry, from both India and abroad, including Malhar Barai, Head of Marketing at Tech Mahindra, Nitin Manchanda, Head of SEO at travel portal Trivago, and Dawn Anderson, Digital Marketing Lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University.

We here at LeadSquared are happy to be Partners with SEMrush in this exciting contest. We proudly support the Marketing Automation category, and would love to see you do a post on one of these ideas:

  • So You Think You Can Be a Data Scientist?
  • How to Power Your Analytics with Creative Insights from Marketing Automation
  • X Chronic Problems You Can Solve with Marketing Automation
  • Marketing Automation, Meet Customer: Driving Engagement on Autopilot
  • Is Automation Synonymous with Flexibility in Marketing?

Are you game? Go on… Enter The Big Blogging Contest!

In this free webinar, Shubh from LeadSquared and Gregg Meiklejohn from Enrollment Resources took a close look into the relationship – the attainable, mutually beneficial, revenue generating, relationship – between Admissions and Marketing that is possible at every school. They spoke about-

  • Why this relationship is so important,
  • What happens when it’s broken, and
  • How you can use technology and practical processes to repair, maintain and support it at your school.

Here is the recording of the webinar

and this is the presentation for the webinar.

sales funnel

Do you remember your middle school science experiments? In this context, one particular experiment comes to my mind. It was called distillation of water. There was this little glass funnel with a long pipe at the end. We carefully folded a filter paper and poured murky brown water into it. And, then we collected the much clearer water in a beaker. This experiment, to me, is the perfect example of how a sales funnel works.

  • The dirty water -> all the leads that contact your business
  • The filter paper -> the CRM/ Sales Execution platform that you choose
  • The clean water -> the qualified prospects ready to purchase from you.

Let me introduce to a popular face from LeadSquared. If you have been our regular follower, then chances are that you have received an email from Shibani Roy.

Now Shibani is a perfect example of how our own sales funnel works. For those who do not know her, she heads our webinar program. So, every time a webinar is scheduled, she sends the invite to an average of 40,000 leads (Yes, she does send out so many emails )

Now take a look at how this works out.

sales funnel explained

What is sales funnel?

A sales funnel is, in essence, the series of steps that your lead will have to circumvent before they become your customer. It is usually a pictorial representation of these various sales stages, commonly represented by an inverted pyramid. The top rung is the widest with all the leads that reach out to you and the lower rung are the ones who have actually made a purchase.

Is a sales funnel necessary?

The answer is a resounding yes. Imagine if Shibani decided to go about promoting her webinars blindly without a funnel. She would have no idea how many people have become customers because of her webinars. Not just accountability, there are chances that some of the leads might just get lost in transit. Our sales team might miss out on very good leads that Shibani painstakingly generated. Follow-ups may get forgotten, and nurturing emails may never get sent.

sales funnel for managers

But this does not happen to us, anymore. Because Shibani has built a solid and lead-proof sales funnel that ensures all leads that come from her webinar are properly followed-up and nurtured until they convert.

Not convinced yet? Here are some of the tangible benefits that you get from creating a sales funnel for your business.

Benefits of having a sales funnel:

sales funnel strategy

Marketing becomes simpler:

When you have a sales funnel in place, you would have an accurate view of how many leads entered your funnel as opposed to the ones that finally converts. This way you can reverse calculate how much more leads need to enter your funnel for you to achieve your targets. You can then wisely invest your money on the sources or platforms that offer more returns.

[Also read: must-have features of a sales funnel software]

Sales forecasts are more accurate:

In reverse, you will also be able to accurately predict how much you will sell in the future. Not only does this help you with your sales plan for the next quarter, but you can also start putting in efforts to meet your projected target for the next quarter or fiscal year.

Conversion rates are improved:

A more clear funnel means more targeted marketing which in turn brings in more leads. More the leads, more interests, and ultimately more customers. Another reason for increased conversions could be because your sales team has a 360-degree view of how every lead passes through the funnel, the time it takes to become a customer and the conversations that are happening with your business. This helps them to personalize and refine their own sales pitch.

More accountability for your sales: 

No more blindly reaching out to your leads and confusions during incentive time! Every single activity is tracked when you have a proper sales funnel in place. You will know your best sources, your best selling products, the geography that has most of your paying customers, the social media platform that has the most responses, and even the salesperson who has exceeded expectation.

Rake in more revenue:

Every benefit mentioned above, in the end, directly translates into the one benefit that every business cares about the most. More moolah! Even more importantly, since you know what helped you rake in the extra revenue, you will be able to replicate your success and in time, even double it.

So there you go! I am sure this article must have convinced you of how important a sales funnel is. You can even hear from our star sales expert, Vineet Tiwari, on how having sales funnel management is the reason why he wins ‘Best Employee’ awards every quarter.

To be like Vineet, take a 15-day trial with LeadSquared, and watch as the money keeps flowing!

Did you know 24 well-spaced satellites are surrounding the earth that makes it possible to pick the geographic location of objects and people? It also means that you can identify the geo-location of your sales reps. All you need is to equip your sales reps with a mobile app that lets you do so.

GPS Tracking For Sales Reps- checkin

GPS tracking for sales reps means monitoring certain attributes of your field sales team. It could be their location, meeting notes, and distance traveled. Field activity tracking will help you better manage the sales reps. Also, you need not invest in a separate tracking software. I will tell you why.

Most of us have GPS enabled phones today. With very little investment in field sales app, you can create a connected and transparent field sales process. It also prevents hundreds of phone calls every day for status checks and reporting.

Mobile CRM - GPS Tracking

A culture of transparency

Tracking your field sales promotes a culture of transparency. There is no way your field sales team could misguide you about their locations, meetings, traveling, and follow-ups. It also ends the reimbursement discussions for good. You don’t need to question your reps every day because you have all the answers in front of you. Plus, you can monitor and mentor them to optimize their day. With real-time route guidance and intelligent cross-sell/upsell signals, you can help them move the deals forward.

Field Force Tracker - banner

To start with, you need to find a GPS field tracker app that integrates with your CRM. Most of the CRM’s like LeadSquared already have an inbuilt field sales app.

Let me tell you how fleet managers can track sales reps with GPS CRM integration and improve sales performance.

Tracking sales performance

First and foremost, you will not need a sales performance app for tracking sales reps and their activities.

CRM with GPS tracking can do it for you. Equip your sales employees or agents with a Mobile CRM. It will let you:

  • Create automated day plans for your reps. For example, the app will show the number of meetings scheduled and targets for the day. It will also help them with route planning. 
  • Give automated meeting recommendations based on the agent’s location and by identifying leads nearby. Your sales reps can then drop in for a quick follow-up or meeting.
  • Track their calls and messages that they receive on their mobile device and analyze their overall productivity. Use their meeting history to know if they are close to their targets. 
  • Geo-fence the tasks of your field sales reps. Use sales team location tracking to prohibit your agents log their meetings from an incorrect area. It will reduce false meeting logs, ensuring you have accurate data – always.

GPS tracking matters

A GPS tracker gives you an overview of sales activities through actionable data, live tracking, and constant communication. It is a weapon of choice for large field sales teams to optimize and improve their sales performance. If you are looking for such an integrated and geo-intelligent field sales tracking app, you can try LeadSquared for free.


FAQs

What is the best app for sales reps?

Mobile CRM is the best app for sales reps as it lets them check-in/check-out from the location of their work, provides route guidance, gives meeting reminders, sends upsell/cross-sell signals, and sends notifications for overdue tasks and new assignments on the go. 

How do you track outside sales reps?

Businesses that employ field agents for sales use mobile apps (e.g., mobile CRM) to manage their activities and track performance. The tracking involves check-in/check-out, reporting, meeting and call logs, tasks assigned vs. task completed, and geofencing or real-time location check (to prevent false meeting logs).

 

Turning a person with an interest in what you do into a paying customer is a straightforward process if carried out carefully and with diligence. The process is known as a sales pipeline, and there are several sales pipeline stages to go through to get the final agreement of a sale.

Stages-of-Sales-Pipeline

These stages are predetermined and simple to follow but will need careful management if a large number of customers are in the pipeline.

Here are the sales pipeline stages and what you need to do in each of them to move on to the next step.

Getting Leads – Lead Generation

stages-of-sales-pipeline_getting_leads_lead_generationOne of the hardest parts of the sales pipeline process is the generation of leads. It can be complex and time-consuming, but it is also the foundation on which the whole process is built.

There are many ways of generating leads including online advertising, real-world advertising, handing out leaflets and flyers, email campaigns, telephone campaigns, and so on.

The goal is to gain contact with someone who may be interested in what you have to sell – at this stage they don’t need to be ready to buy, they only need to be a potential customer.

As time goes by, advertising campaigns can seep into the public consciousness, even at a local level, and awareness of your brand is built up.

This means that in due time, leads will contact you rather than the other way around, making this step a whole lot easier.

Qualifying Leads

stages-of-sales-pipeline-lead-qualificationOnce a lead has been discovered, it is time to qualify them. In a sales funnel, you would look to find people who need your services, are willing to pay for it, and are ready to get on with it soon. In a sales pipeline, it doesn’t work in quite the same way.

Through your lead generation, you’ve already found someone who is interested in your services – this is similar to discovering those who need your services. Although the goal is not to eliminate people from the sales pipeline, you must discover those who are not only willing to pay for the service but are also capable of paying for it.

A lead with a strong interest but no way of paying is a dead end. A lead with the means to pay but who is currently unconvinced is a much safer bet.

Leads who are not ready to start just yet are also fine – the next part of the process will deal with all of this.

All you need to do to qualify the lead are to make sure they can pay, are in an area you cover, and make sure they are actually interested.

Turning it into a Sales Opportunity

stages-of-sales-pipeline-sales-opportunity-conversionTo turn your qualified lead into a sales opportunity, you need to focus on the benefits your service will provide to the potential customers.

By explaining these benefits in detail, you will be able to turn their interest into a desire to have the service provided. If they thought it was a good idea to start with, they will now know everything the service can do for them, and thereby will be more prepared to buy.

If your lead was already very interested but was not quite ready to get started, the rundown of the benefits in this stage of the sales pipeline should help to move them along.

A good buyer is fully informed, knows what they want, knows what they will get, and is ready to buy if the price is right.

Closing the Deal

stages-of-sales-pipeline-deal-closureWhen you have gone through all the sales pipeline stages and reach the point of closing the deal, you’ve done almost everything you can. Negotiating the exact terms and price to pay should not be too much of a sticking point.

If you try and close the deal too soon, the buyer won’t be fully aware of the benefits they will receive, and the price may become a big factor. If they know what they are getting into, the pricing structure will be less of a barrier – it may still require a little negotiation, but far less than with an uninformed lead.

When the price and the terms are finally agreed, the deal is closed, and the service is ready to be provided.

sales funnel for managers

Keeping the Pipeline Flowing

stages-of-sales-pipeline-pipeline-flowingA good sales pipeline always has more than a single customer progressing through it. Knowing everything you can about your leads is important, so records should be kept allowing you to know how far each lead has progressed through the stages, and to keep track of what their concerns and requirements are. If you have promised to follow them up (and you should), you will need to know when to call and what you need to say.

Multiple customers require multiple records, and so a good system is required, be it paper, online, or some kind of CRM database.

Keep as many leads as you can

stages-of-sales-pipeline-keep-as-many-leads-as-you-can
A sales pipeline is designed to take interested parties and turn them into paying customers, while a sales funnel is designed to filter out all the people who aren’t ready to go right now. It’s important to recognize the difference, as it can be tempting to forget about some leads if you aren’t making progress – however, it can be a lot harder to generate a new lead to replace them rather than putting the work in to close the deal.

You may even find that previous customers return and need to go through the sales pipeline again.

Of course, not every lead will turn into a paying customer, no matter how hard you try. However, you must follow the process, step by step, in order for it to be successful.

Skipping a step won’t work – imagine baking a cake by mixing all the ingredients together and then serving it on a plate. The baking process was skipped entirely, and so you are left with an unappetizing mess – this is the exact reason it is important to work through every one of the sales pipeline stages.

You want new paying customers, not an unappetizing mess!