Your sales funnel is one of the core parts of your business, no matter what type of business you’re in.
In fact, there are some businesses that focus the bulk of their efforts on perfecting their sales funnels.
What is a sales funnel? A sales funnel is the art of moving people from unaware prospect to loyal customer by taking them through a series of sales pitches and marketing efforts.
Once you have a great product or service in place, success is most often a result of the sales funnel itself.
As a Larry Janesky once told me, “Anyone can do the job. It’s the one who markets the best that wins every time!”
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What is a Sales Funnel and Why is it Important?
The term “sales funnel” is an important concept for any businesses.
Your sales funnel leads customers to purchase your products, services or affiliate offerings. As they pass through the funnel, they transform from random leads to qualified prospects and, finally, to buyers.
As the funnel narrows and prospects get closer to the end, they become primed and ready to make a purchase.
The Sales Funnel Explained
The sales funnel is a sieve that leads prospective customers through your sales process.
It casts a wide net and gradually weeds out unqualified prospects that are not likely to buy your product or offering.
As the term ‘funnel’ suggests, it’s wide at the top and narrow at the bottom. At the top, a sales funnel attracts casual website visitors through a special offer that lures them in.
You then use marketing techniques to offer them other deals. This gives you a chance to gather information about your prospects and further qualify them.
Why Businesses Use Sales Funnels
Sales funnels are important for several reasons.
First, they make the sales process more efficient. Since only qualified buyers get to the end of the funnel, you don’t waste time dealing with uninterested prospects who are just kicking tires.
A good sales funnel helps to make your sales process more predictable. Sales are never fully predictable, but when your sales process is organized in a standard, systemized way, you can arrive at a good estimate of your ROI.
A good sales funnel will help you track different metrics at different points of the process. It’s organized into clear steps so when there’s a problem within your funnel, you can troubleshoot and tweak accordingly.
An Example of a Sales Funnel
Imagine you operate a blog about rooftop gardening.
Your blog has several quality pieces of content about green roofing that includes a form on the sidebar where visitors can sign up for your list and receive a free eBook on the topic.
Once a visitor signs up and downloads the book your sales funnel kicks into gear and you market to them through emails, offering exclusive content, helpful tips, and special offers.
The offers gradually increase in price, leading them to your primary product, a comprehensive collection of rooftop gardening tips with a fairly high price tag.
At first, visitors read your blog for information about rooftop gardening. At that point, they may just be considering the feasibility of starting their own garden.
Those who sign up for your list are interested, and the ones that jump on the email offers are seriously interested and looking for a way to start a rooftop garden.
The people in this segment of your list are the most likely to buy your kit, and therefore you market the kit to them.
Drive Them Away
An important concept to remember about sales funnels is that you need not appeal to everyone.
You only need to focus on those who are truly interested in your product, service or offering.
When you lose subscribers, this is an excellent thing (as long as it’s not too many) because you don’t want to waste your time with those who will never buy.
That’s the magic of the sales funnel in action. To weed out the non-interested people.
You need to review your sales funnel and the process you have in place.
Here’s your homework.
Do you already have a sales funnel? If so, compare the amount of sales you’ve made from your sales funnel vs. through other methods.
If you’re selling more through other methods, you need to re-tool your sales funnel.
I like to put myself in my customer’s shoes.
- Get a new Gmail email account
- Sign up for your offering (at the top of your sales funnel).
- Take yourself through the customer journey.
You’ll figure out fairly quickly what needs to change.
If you don’t have a sales funnel already, why not? Start thinking about what part of your business would benefit most from creating one.
Creating a good automated online sales funnel is an ongoing process. So, keep at it and remember, “It’s the one who markets the best that wins every time!”