Stages of Sales Funnel: The Journey from a Lead to Customer
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.
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:
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 always will every lead who enters the funnel will come out of it. Your first marketing campaign might attract 10,000 leads, but in all likelihood, only 5 out of them become your final customers.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 your ads, and otherwise voluntarily giving you their information.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.