Those who don’t yet know your company and your solutions can be introduced to your business through a targeted approach. Why is that so important? Well, you don’t propose to a stranger. You usually get to know someone, go on a few dates, etc. Just like in a relationship, your future customers go through a certain process until they buy from you for the first time. This initiation is your sales funnel.
The sales funnel is a customer acquisition process. Like in a funnel, visitors pass through different phases from the first contact to the conclusion of a contract. They are monitored and evaluated on the basis of defined key figures. Sales and customer lifetime value increase.
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The principle of the sales funnel
What is a sales funnel?
This graphic shows how the sales funnel got its name:
Imagine you want to start with your first own blog. You would probably search Google for a term like “own blog” and as a visitor you would land on the article “The way to your own blog” on my homepage www.Boggerpilot.de.
Let’s assume the post is very helpful to you. Since you want to create your blog with WordPress, you are grateful for every further WordPress tip and sign up for my WordPress newsletter, which you can find at the end of the blog post.
By the way, for my lead forms I prefer to use the SaaS tool Convertbox.
MQL – Marketing Qualified Lead
Now you are a lead. To get you the information you really need, I would try to assign you to a specific lead category. At this point, though, all I know is that you have a general interest in WordPress. Maybe you have specific intentions or you want to gather information just in case. I as a homepage owner can’t estimate that at this stage. For me you are a Marketing Qualified Lead, or MQL for short.
SAL – Sales Accepted Lead
Imagine that I offer you a free consultation with me in my newsletter. During this consultation you could ask me your specific questions. The goal of this freebie would be to find out if you have a specific need for my WordPress services. If you sign up for the consultation with me, you would be a SAL, i.e. a Sales Accepted Lead with a concrete need.
SQL – Sales Qualified Lead
Assuming you felt completely understood during the virtual meeting and were happy to leave the creation of your blog in my professional hands, I would make you a concrete offer for your individual needs. Then you would be in the SQL phase and would be a Sales Qualified Lead.
If you accepted my offer, I would have won you as a new customer via my sales funnel.
The funnel shape of the sales funnel shows very nicely that the large mass of visitors diminishes from phase to phase. You can read the basics and terminology about lead generation in my article Lead Generation in Online-Marketing.Blogger Pilot
The advantages of a sales funnel
1. The touchpoint overview
Through the sales funnel, every touchpoint on the way from the first contact to the conclusion of the contract is transparent for you.
2. The measurability
Transparency allows you to identify optimization potential and risks based on key figures.
3. Realistic forecasts
Acting on the off chance can be a good thing. With the results of your analysis, you can instead incorporate realistic forecasts into your decisions and take countermeasures in an emergency. This means that you can focus your energy on your potential and continuously improve. In addition, you can initiate appropriate countermeasures at an early stage, if necessary, to prevent greater damage.
With a sales funnel, you permanently analyze and improve your marketing and sales processes, enabling you to generate ever greater sales.Blogger Pilot
The Customer Journey
To implement your sales funnel, you need to create a customer journey. To do this, you switch from your perspective as an entrepreneur (= sales process) to the customer perspective (= buying process). What stages do your visitors have to go through before they become happy customers?
The first step is about the awareness of your customer. He realizes that he has a problem and is looking for a solution. In the process, he comes across your possible solution
Let’s assume your customer is a mom and is looking for a suitable learning platform for her children so that they can improve in their main subjects. With countless providers, she loses track. She doesn’t want to browse through every single homepage, so she clicks on your comparison portal with learning platforms for students and children.
Consideration is the consideration phase. The lady considers whether there is the right platform for her children.
She has found an inexpensive platform that offers the subjects mathematics, German, English, French and Latin and registers her children. By signing up, she becomes a customer (= conversion).
Unlike the sales funnel, this is not the end of the story. This time, you also need to know what happens after the purchase.
Let’s assume that a few months later she decides to take a training course in the form of e-learning. She remembers how quickly and easily she got the right course for her children through your comparison portal. That’s why she visits your website again and compares the different providers for her continuing education. She decides on a LinkedIn learning subscription that she found via your portal. This renewed purchase via your website demonstrates the bond between your customer and your portal (= retention).
She is excited about her new hobby and tells her best friend about her satisfaction during a phone call. What timing! This friend has also been thinking about starting online training. She types right into the name of your homepage in her laptop and finds her desired course, which she books right away. Advocacy is about her recommending you to others.
How many touch points do you estimate a customer has with the company on average before they actually buy? It’s not always as simple as the example, of course. On average, a contact comes into contact with the company about seven times before they become a customer. The customer journey is therefore the path that a contact takes until you win him over and bind him to you. The sales funnel is developed to not only track this path, but also to control and improve it.
Developing and optimizing a sales funnel for your company
In the top of funnel (FoFu), you try to reach as many people as possible and get in touch with them. To do this, you need to understand the needs of your target group. Try to achieve the greatest possible reach with your marketing activities and generate as much traffic as possible.
In the Middle of Funnel (MoFu) the first contacts are filtered out. Here, all visitors without serious interest in your offer are already filtered out. All others are now accompanied by your sales and marketing activities into the next phase.
Now – in the bottom of funnel (BoFu) – you need to convert as many leads as possible into customers. As a rule, you also have to make another generous selection here. Now you should focus strongly on your offer, i.e. your products or services.
You should constantly improve your sales funnel with the help of sales funnel management. To improve, you need to closely monitor and analyze the impact of your activities. This monitoring of key figures is called controlling. A suitable tool for keeping an eye on and evaluating your homepage traffic is Google Analytics.
The key figures allow you to make realistic forecasts, which you can then use to develop your strategy. If the analysis of your Landing-Page shows that five out of 100 visitors buy your advertised product, then you can set yourself very clear sales targets to achieve the desired sales volume. This ratio between Landing-Page visitors and the resulting purchases is your conversion rate.
With sales funnel management, you can set clear marketing and sales goals to achieve your business goals.Blogger Pilot
More sales funnel examples
1. A possible sales funnel for content marketing
- ToFu: Use social media to draw attention to yourself and your business so that more visitors look at your homepage.
- MoFu: To enter a sweepstakes, some visitors sign up for your newsletter.
- BoFu: With the newsletter you could convince some leads of the personality and your expertise, therefore they book online courses via your online store.
2. A possible sales-funnel for your service company
- ToFu: You attract visitors to your Landing-Page with paid advertising campaigns.
- MoFu: You offer your visitors a free potential analysis.
- BoFu: This analysis makes it clear to your leads how much room they still have to grow and you offer them the right offer to tap their full potential.
3. A possible sales funnel for your online shop
- ToFu: Visitors find their way to your homepage via YouTube.
- MoFu: They sign up for your newsletter to stay informed about the latest offers.
- BoFu: During Christmas shopping, a lead thinks about your offer and buys a product from your online store for their partner.
4. A possible Sales-Funnel for a practice
- ToFu: Through SEO measures visitors come across your blog.
- MoFu: The homepage visitors train independently with the help in your blog and inform themselves about your offer online if necessary.
- BoFu: They feel they are in good hands with you and book an appointment via the “Book online” button.
Conclusion Sales Funnels in Online-Marketing
Of course, random leads and sales come in. But if you want to optimize your sales processes and bring them to a professional level, you can’t avoid planning a funnel.
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