Your sales funnel is the process by which you qualify and convert a wide range of leads into paying customers. It allows you to focus your attention on those most likely to buy. It also adds structure and a degree of predictability to a variable sales process.
Overview of the sales funnel
A sales funnel generally consists of the top, middle, and bottom segments.
Top of the Funnel (TOFU)
At the top is the entry point for potential customers. How a person arrives here is usually the result of an effective marketing strategy (SEO, social media, email marketing, etc). It is often initiated by the handoff between the marketing and sales departments.
Once a qualified marketing lead passes through the marketing funnel, they enter the sales funnel and become a sales qualified lead. A good marketing funnel thoroughly screens prospects so that those who get into the sales funnel are in the best position to be converted into paying customers.
This section of the sales funnels stages is the most comprehensive, where most leads are located. Leads at this stage only know your company or organization through marketing materials. It is highly recommended to get prospects to explore your website and services ad ask questions at this stage. Don’t sell anything, but build a relationship and project a positive company image.
Middle of the Funnel (MOFU)
At the end of the middle of the funnel phase, a prospect is in a position to become a customer. In this phase of the sales funnel, a prospect looks for the best solution to their concern, question, problem, or need. They are looking at your company and comparing it to your competitors. At this stage, it is essential to make contact with the prospect. It can do it through phone calls and emails.
However, it is essential not to make the follow-ups too severe or frequent, as this can annoy and discourage the prospect. The middle of the funnel is also a good time to offer discounts and deals.
When someone fills out a form and receives relevant, valuable content in return, the middle part of the funnel is where a visitor is converted into a lead. But just because a lead arrives in the middle of the funnel doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a qualified lead. The lead may show interest but may not be ready to purchase or partner. It’s essential to measure the potential customer’s engagement, urgency, and interests at this point and develop targeted messages and promotions for them.
Bottom of the funnel (BOFU)
The bottom part of the funnel is the point at which a lead is converted into a sales opportunity. At this stage of the sales funnel, the prospect has decided to do business with you and is ready to make a buying decision. To get an idea of the degree to which a prospect who is qualified to make a sale is ready to pull the trigger, look at and consider the following indicators:
- Frequency of visits to your website
- How many conversations with a sales representative
- LinkedIn profile views
It’s important to note that the sales rep’s job isn’t over once a lead converts and makes a purchase. They must continue to communicate with the customer and build a relationship with them to become loyal, returning customers.
Qualify your leads
When someone shows enough interest, that person becomes a Qualified Marketing Lead (MQL). That MQL is then passed on to the sales team, becoming a Sales Qualified Lead (SQL). You can place this lead in the middle of the funnel, depending on the lead. These leads are ready for your full attention.
Building your sales funnel
A good sales funnel allows you to understand your sales team and their performance. It allows you to see the behaviors and motivations of your customers. If you don’t have a sales funnel yet, here are a few guidelines to help you build one.
Know your buyer
The foundation of your sales funnel is understanding your customer. Conduct surveys and market research to determine interests and behaviors. This knowledge will help you differentiate yourself and communicate more effectively and empathetically with your customers.
Focus on quality, not quantity
Practical sales efforts are not about talking to as many people as possible. It’s about focusing energy on the leads with the most significant potential to be converted into sales. Your sales should take low-quality leads out of the flow as quickly as possible so that higher-quality leads can move unimpeded through the stages of the sales pipeline.
Acquisition: where sales funnels start
Generate activity: Through acquisition tactics like referrals, conferences, and cold calling, you can do this. You don’t have to wait for inbound marketing leads to get your funnel going.
Managing your sales funnel
Identifying and filtering interested leads is challenging. A successful sales funnel flags potential leads qualified for sales that convert into paying customers. If your funnel is too complicated, it can hurt your business.
Focus on qualified leads
Passing unqualified leads to the sales organization is wasteful. Most of these leads will never result in sales. A smaller, more targeted pool of leads offers the sales team better time, energy, and resources. It also increases the chance of making a sale.
Leverage your CRM
Your CRM (customer relationship management system) is the sales funnel concept in tangible form. It allows you to guide customers along their journey. It also simplifies the sales process by automating email marketing segmentation and sending emails. Your CRM also helps you measure each funnel stage through detailed statistics and analytics.
A CRM shouldn’t take attention away from the actual sales process. Use it to implement your sales strategy, measure progress, and automate workflows.
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