Fact: Every business has a sales funnel. 

As a business owner, the more aware of it you are, the better your results will be. 

 

So, what is a sales funnel? Basically, it’s the overall path that a customer would follow from the point where they are learning of your product’s existence, ending to where they become your paying, returning customer. 

Take a moment and picture an actual funnel. The kind you put in a jar to make sure whatever it is your pouring doesn’t make a huge mess. Got it? Okay, great! Now imagine that funnel is made out of four different plastics fused together; forming a top, a middle, and bottom, and that little cylindrical part at the bottom. The one difference to remember is, unlike a real life funnel, stuff (otherwise known as leads) can fall out of a marketing funnel. 

The top of the sales funnel is when you have just started to pour, and this represents when people are just learning about your company, its products, and it’s services. This is known as the awareness stage, and it’s where most of your initial marketing efforts are going to be concentrated. After all, how is someone going to buy from you if they don’t know you exist?

The second part of the funnel is the interest in your product. This is where your content strategy, social proof, reviews, and more come into play. The customer is getting to know you better at this stage and is becoming interested in purchasing from you. 

The third part of the funnel is a desire for your product. The customer is going from simply liking your product to actively wanting it. 

The fourth and final part of the funnel is where your customer takes action. This is where they move from interacting with your company to taking the step into purchasing. Adding to this is the idea of retention; how many of the clients that went through your sales funnel keep coming back? 

Now that you have an idea of what a sales funnel is, you can start to more clearly identify the path that your customers take for your business. Here’s what a typical sales funnel might look like for a service-based business. Let’s use an IT consulting company as an example.

At some point during your sales funnel, you are likely to encounter objections, but don’t immediately assume this lead is gone forever. It’s absolutely critical to develop a strategy to identify common objections, and keep in contact with any potential leads. This can be done with automated email campaigns and drip content, and or in combination with a customer relationship management (CRM) software to maintain helpful contact with the clients in your funnel. 

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