A sales funnel is a step-by-step process that brings a person from them being a stranger to your product, to the point where they purchase it.
What Is a Sales Funnel and Why Do You Need It
For most businesses, sales is a numbers game.
This is how it looks: you tell 10 people about your goods. Suppose 5 of them are interested and have a need for it. They come to check it out. Of them, one buys.
Although you told 10 people about your product, only one bought it in the end. This is the example of a sales funnel – similar to a kitchen funnel, a lot goes in, but little drips out.
So how do you sell regularly and enough? “Tell” lots of people about your product, and then make sure your sales funnel gets as many of them as possible to the buying point.
So here is an important thing to remember: if you successfully sell a product or service online, you already have a sales funnel by definition.
A profitable business doesn’t make a sale here and there; they sell regularly, consistently, and make sure they earn more than they spend. To achieve this, you need a constant stream of potential buyers.
Sales Funnel Stages
Sales funnels are fundamentally part of higher-level marketing funnels. Marketing funnels are based on marketing models, and similarly, sales funnels also rely on marketing models (compare marketing funnel vs sales funnel).
The purpose of marketing models is to help define marketing strategy, figure out what part of the market the business is going to be targeted, predict what kind of impact certain actions are going to have, and generate revenue projections.
There are quite a lot of model types. One of the most popular ones is AIDA.
If the AIDA model was applied to sales funnel stages, it would look like this:
- Awareness – Market potential.
- Interest – Suspects.
- Decision – Prospects.
- Action – Customers.
Another approach is to use ToFu, MoFu, BoFu – shorthand for the three stages of a customer’s journey – that describe the stages that potential buyers go through as they move along through a funnel:
- ToFu – Top of the Funnel – Awareness.
- MoFu – Middle of the Funnel – Consideration.
- BoFu – Bottom of the Funnel – Decision.
The models provide a framework that helps to understand and guide funnel-building efforts, and then assist in optimizing each of the funnel steps.
There are models that work better for some types of business, but ultimately they are just there to guide. What any sales funnel should help you with are these tasks:
- Attract and convert new customers.
- Know the total number of opportunities or leads amassed.
- Identify where you need to change your strategy.
- Follow up on visitors who do not convert.
- Predict future sales outcomes.
- Turn a customer into a repeat purchaser.
- Reduce your marketing costs.
Standard Elements of the Sales Funnel and What Each of Them Does
There are different funnels for different products. So some things make sense for one type of funnel but are obsolete or bad for others. Still, there are common elements that exist in almost all funnels.
This is what we’d often see in a sales funnel:
- Landing pages.
- Opt-in forms.
- Order forms.
Behind the curtains a good funnel would include:
- Conditional logic.
- Analytics and testing.
Let’s take a look at each of these elements and what they serve for.
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Example: www.clickfunnels.com. A landing page serves to showcase your product or service and persuade a visitor to take an action you’d want them to take. In the example earlier, click funnels wants people to start a free 14-day trial.
After a landing page comes an opt-in page or an opt-in form – the former is its own actual page while the latter can be a pop-up or just a form on a landing page.
The main purpose of an opt-in form is to capture visitors’ email addresses or/and other information. The rule of thumb here is to ask for as little data as possible – because, the more fields people have to fill in, the more of them will drop out without finishing it.
An email address and a name are often all you need.
This is where people place orders for the product or service. They may come integrated with payment systems like Paypal, Stripe, or others.
The order form can be used instead of the opt-in form, or it also can be used in conjunction with it, as the next step in the sales funnel.
The rule of asking as little data as possible applies to order forms as well. It might be impossible to get away without asking for their shipping and billing addresses, but try to make it easier – for example, let the form copy the data automatically if their shipping address is the same as the billing one.
This is what allows you to set up rules. Your settings will decide if a customer goes to a thank-you page after submitting the opt-in form, or they will be redirected to another landing page that sells a different product of yours.
Conditional logic is very useful when you have a complex funnel, or when you have 2 or more funnels and you’d like to do upsell or cross-sell.
For example, your sales funnel sells an X product, and it also sells two complementary, upsell offers. When a prospect submits an order form to purchase your product, they will be automatically directed to another page that promotes the first upsell offer.
From here, if the prospect chooses to add the first upsell offer to their cart, they will get automatically directed to another page that promotes the second upsell offer. Alternatively, if they decline the first upsell offer they will get directed to the checkout page where they can pay for their purchase.
Analytics and Testing
This is a necessary part of any sales funnel and also one of the most important.
Why? No analytics -> no data about funnel’s performance -> no way to improve your funnel or even find where the problem is if it does not perform.
There are multiple ways to set up accurate analytics. Sales funnel builders usually have this covered and report the important metrics to you, such as the number of visitors, leads captured, conversion rate, etc. They also allow you to A/B split test your landing pages, order, and opt-in forms in order to optimize conversions.
Sales Funnels Examples
Here are some of the sales page examples that start from the Awareness stage and end at the Action stage:
- Blog Post > Opt-in For A Free Email Course > Purchase of a Paid Course via the Order Form (Conversion).
- LinkedIn Post > Landing Page on a Website> Sign Up For a Free 14-day Trial > Subscription Purchase (Conversion).
- Facebook Ad > Landing Page > Order Form (Conversion).
- Influencer Social Post > Landing Page > Order Form (Conversion).
How To Build Sales Funnel for Your Business, Fast
If your goal is to have a working version as soon as possible, you should not build your sales funnel from scratch.
The quickest yet still reliable way is to create it with ClickFunnels, Leadpages, Get Response, or another similar app.
All of these tools offer ready-to-use templates, with which you can literary create a functioning sales funnel in less than an hour.
In order to create these templates, someone already 1) done audience behavior analysis; 2) tested the best ways to capture their attention; 3) found out well-performing landing pages; 4) came up with ways to nurture the audience and 5) real live-tested how to keep in touch with the audience for future sells.
What is left for you to do is just to make use of that.
Sales Funnel Builder Tools for Quick Start
These apps then offer you a ready-made model of what works for others (and is likely to work for you) at the cost of a monthly subscription.
GetResponse offers conversion-optimized scenarios and a few different types of funnels.
ClickFunnels offers to help you pick the right funnel type for your specific business.
Leadpages helps small businesses connect with an audience, collect leads, and close sales, as they themselves say. There are a lot of templates that you can use for lead magnets, webinars, and landing pages.
This tool’s main function is to collect email subscribers, but it can be used for other types of businesses too. In addition, it can integrate with other services.
Integrating your other tools into a sales funnels software like these is a way to save even more time and kickstart your business faster.
Measuring the Success
There is another perk to using a builder tool.
As your business grows, your funnel would need tweaking. For that, you need data that is accurate, timely, and presented in a way that makes sense to you.
Sales funnel builder software can take care of that by gathering data and forming easy-to-understand reports.
Most of the visitors who land on your site are going to leave without buying anything.
But a successful business needs a constant flow of people.
And having a functioning sales funnel can help with that.