Sales Funnel Guide

 What is a Sales Funnel?

Today i want to explain a subject that is essentiel to every salesman, marketer, company, and even a normal person.

Accemart Sales Funnel

Sales Funnel is one of the most important terms that may pass by you, and it is the final guide to make customers.

The concept of "making customers" might seems strange at first to you, and it might cross your mind this question: "don't we find customers and not make them?".

Well, at the same time yes and no. While it's very hard to convert somebody into a customer, specially, if your product/service doesn't interest him, or he can't afford it. But whith the help of the right Sales Funnel, you can make fans of the people that didn't even know you existed before (or at least they didn't discover their need for you product/service).

But, you're still wondering what is a Sales Funnel to begin with, and do you really need it?

Okay follow with me, as i explain it to you step by step.

1- The basics of a sales funnel

Let's start with the basics before discussing why we need it.

There are 3 types of people that you'll interact with during a sales process.

a- Leads:

This is someone who began to know about your product/service, or the person you follow to sell to, even if he doesn't know about your product/service. Usually, this contains everyone. But you can substract them to "qualified leads" (those who fulfill some creterias to be real customers).

To clarify, let's say you sell pets products, a qualified lead is someone who owns a pet, and a normal lead is anyone who likes pets but doesn't own one (which means they won't buy from you).

b- Prospects:

This term vary depending on the company, marketer, or salesman. But usually, it means those who have a connection to you or to your business, and are interested in your product/service but didn't buy "yet".

< Every prospect is a lead, but not every lead is a prospect>.

c- Customers:

Everyone knows what a customer is. Those whom bought from you. You can classify them to a one time customer or repeated customer.

These three types all fall under your sales funnel, as shown is the simplified sales funnel bellow:

As you see, in the summit of your funnel exists the lead. In here, you can do a vast advertising compaigns to try and collect the biggest number possible of people to funnel them.
A small number of those leads will become prospects. It's just a game of numbers, the more you funnel leads the more you have prospects. And the last piece of our simplified sales funnel, a small number of prospects will make a purchase.
You can and you must know the percentage of people going down each level of the funnel.

So, while working on your sales funnel, you must set 2 goals:

+ Find more good leads to funnel them, the more the better.
+ Increase the number of people that go down from a level to another.

Now that is a very simplified version of a sales funnel that i created to let you understand quickly. 

Let us go now to "the general sales process", and how you fit it with your sales funnel.

2- Sales process:

The details of your sales process depends entirly on what you sell and market. But generaly speaking, this is what every customer go through in a sale:

a- Awarness:

The first step in every sales funnel is to make the leads aware of you. You can do that by using a lot of ways, for example: social media, digital marketing, email marketing, advertising...etc. 
How to make people aware of you depends on what you sell.
If you are an App developper, mobile marketing is the best choice for you, but it won't work with a real estate agent.

b- Education:

You have to educate your prospect. In another way, educate them on why they need your product and how it works.
In this step you can advertise selling but not agressively, because it'll always give a negative impact. Instead try to get closer to the prospect and try to find some points to use to make him buy.
I.g: if you own a car accessories shop, and you're talking with someone holding his/her daugther you can show him a baby seat and tell him/her about "your" experience with it in a good way of course.

c- Evaluation:

Prospects need time to know if buying is the best choice.
In here, logically speaking, it is best to back off a little bit. Depending on what you sell or market, you might need to give a sample for reviews(that is if you don't sell face to face). Your best choice is to use influencers (youtubers, tiktokers, instagram ...etc).
During the evaluation phase, the prospects most likely need to talk to others about if buying is the correct choice.

d- Engagement:

You have given the prospect all the informations they need to make a purchase, all they need to do is make the decision. But a lot of prospects get stuck at this point, and you have to make them progress to take the decision by using attractions such as: discounts or buy 1 get 1 for free...etc.

e- Commitement:

Congrats! Someone has commited to buy.
A lot of people confuse this step with the sale phase. But depending on your business, this phase is compeltly different.
Sometimes a person might give you a verbal commitement but they go and never come back. That's why your job is to get the money in that instant, don't let them go talk with their SO or come back next week, do whatever you can to sell it immediatly.

f- Purchase:

Now you can celebrate, you have made your sale.

g- Loyal fan/ Repeated cutomer:

While your sales funnel reachs the end when someone make a purchase, there is another level outside of the funnel. Actually, there is two levels working together: loyal fan and repeated customer.
First, anybody who bought from you might be a loyal fan, even if he didn't buy from you again, for example, someone bought a house from you, will not buy another. But, they will tell other people about you and encourage them to buy. And that is very important to find new leads in the awarness phase of your sales funnel.
"Word of mouth is very strong".
As for repeated customers, they are the best, because they buy from you without any encouragement. I will talk about it later.

3- Finding new leads:

At the start of this article, i spoke to you about making customers and not finding them. But you can only make customers from leads, because your sales funnel will only work if you put people at it's summit.

Okay, lets see some advices that will help you to find more leads, then choose which one works for you:

a- Social media:

It is a great place to connect with your fans but don't miss the opportunity to find new leads. I recommend using Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

b- Blogging:

Blogging is the best way for me to create new leads. You can show your business news or information about your product/service. Also, blogging is great for sharing on social media. If someone liked what i wrote, he will share it whith his friends on social media, which means reaching new leads.

c- Offer something with great value for free ... Almost:

One of the best ways to create leads is by giving free stuff (giveaways), or almost free. In place of paying, ask them to give you personnal information like, emails, phone numbers ...etc.

d- Creating leads at Events:

Events and festivals are good ways to progress the awarness of your product/service.
There are 2 types of events to consider:

=> Trade-shows:

Usually, it's the most important type, because you are there to meet with people came specially for you. It's not important what you do in your show, but giveaways are great help to collect business and personnal cards.
Your crew can talk a lot of people, but when the place gets crowded, there's no better than putting a box for business and personnal cards for people to participate in winning a prize.

=> Sponsorship:

You can sponsor a festival or a conference in exchage of advertising to it's attendees.
I.g: football (soccer) players wear sponsored T-shirts to advertise for a company.

4- Converting Leads to Customers:

The problem here is not to find Leads, but rather how to make them go down your funnel and near the purchase phase. This process is called "Lead Nurturing".
Here's some basic ways to convert a lead to a customer:
  • Let your Lead feel valued to you. Nobody likes to be just a number.
  • Respond to question and inquiries as fast as you can, if someone asks they need a clarification now to make a decision, not 3 days later.
  • Try to communicate with your leads, but don't be annoying, just to be on mind.
  • Be useful, be an expert in your field, so that your recommendations get a value.
  • Find a connection between you and your lead, like, you are both fans of some football (soccer) club.
  • Search and research, to give everyone a recommendation that fits him/her.

a- Adding more levels to your Sales Funnel:

It is recommended to add more levels to your sales funnel depending on your business, and this will get you a better results. Specially, if you are selling something with high value (expensive).

Let's say, for example, you're trying to sell a 1000$ course. A Lead will comz to your blog, likes your content, and subscrible to your newslettre. If the first email you sent him is an upsell of this course, in your opinion, how many will buy into? A few or even ZERO.
But if you start with baby steps, the sale process might be a little bit smooth, and your sales funnel will most likely look like this:

In this scenario, you are asking people to do baby steps, instead of jumping from subscribing to buying a 1000$ product.
While downloading a free e-book is not a big step, you can ask people these questions step by step: if they find your e-book informative, why not share it? After sharing ask them to buy a 19$ book, if they found what you offer is valuable, they will buy it with no worries, then propose a 197$ course, of course they will commite, after knowing you have good stuff from your free e-book and 19$ book, Then how about 1000$ course? Why not!!!

All this is back to Lead Nurturing. Funneling people down your sales funnel needs the same process: awarness - Education - Evaluation - Engagement - Commitement - Purchase.
In some cases, this process gets completed in one email, others might take days, weeks, or even months. To complicate things, every customer is different from the other, some will decide to buy your 19$ book in matter of hours, others might stay in the "deciding phase" for 6 months.
It might help you to know when you lost a prospect completly, you need to follow the percentage of buying with time, because in the end the percentage of people that bought from you might be near 0%.

For example, from the people that bought your 19$ book, you might find:
  • 5% bought the 197$ course in 1 week.
  • 10% bought the book in 1 month.
  • 2% more bought it in 3 months.
  • After that, 83% is more likely not to buy from you. 
Don't waste your time and money on them, it's better to consider them new leads and put them up the funnel, and try new ways and methods to upsell them.

b- Segmenting your Leads:

It means to devide your list into minor lists that target a specific audience. Try to devide women from men, or by age, ethniceties, and place.
try to segment as much as possible, because combining this with what we discussed above, you'll have a perfect sale tool. And if you want to take something with you from this guide: "segmenting your list lets you reach more leads, which means more sales".

5- Repeated Customers:

A crucial part of the sale process might not be shown in the sales funnel, and that is to make customer buy from you again in the future. Sometimes you won't have repeated customers if your products are once-and- done buying. But, in most cases, you want to make a customer into a repeated customer.
There are 2 types of repeated customers:
=> Customers that buy the same thing again.
=> Customers that buy other stuff.

For example, if you are a florist, a repeated customer is someone who buys flowers for his wife every few months. On the other hand, if you are a writer, a repeated customer won't buy the same book you published before (unless he/she lost it or want to give it as a gift) but they will buy your new published books.
All in all, people become repeated customers when 2 things happen:
=> They like the product/service they bought in the begining.
=> They like your company.
And both of these matter. There is a coffee shop near my house that have a good service, but the coffee is bad, i don't buy from them anymore. Also, there's a good coffee shop that sells quality coffee, but their waiter is annoying, i don't go there anymore.
For me, as a consumer, both the product and service matter, and that is true for most people even if they don't realise it (think about it).

Your sales funnel might not even exist if you sell a bad product/service. But always make sure that people love your company so that you can funnel them again if they jump out.

In the funnel above, i showed you how a sales funnel for repeated customers look like. But it will not always look like that.

Let's say, you sell clothes, a repeated customer might come in your shop buys a 500$ dress, then next time buys a 12$ scarf. He/she won't go down the same way as shown above.
Every Funnel depends entirly on what your business is.


To revise, here's : who, what, when, why, and how of your sales funnel.

Who: every business needs a sales funnel to help them convert Leads to Customers.

What: sales funnel is a plan to make people aware of your product, learn about it, and make a decision to buy or not.

When: start your sales funnel from day one, so that you can move people to purchase.

Why: sales funnel lets you follow your revenue, and keeping your customers.

How: by revising the data and informations in this article.

Finally, i hope this guide gave you a detailed idea on sales funnel.

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