A sales funnel refers to the process of turning the target audience into an active buyer. The funnel is wide at the top because it is open to a big number of potential clients with different engagement levels.
As these people go through the funnel, their number goes down. Closer to the end of the funnel, a company gets customers with the highest conversion potential. At the bottom of the funnel, these leads turn into buyers.
3 Stages of the Sales Funnel
While different companies can set up different types of funnels, the most common one has four stages:
· Top of the funnel (awareness and discovery) – at this stage of the funnel, customers become aware of the problem and start researching it.
· Middle of the funnel (search for solutions) – customers understand their problem and start searching for possible solutions.
· Bottom of the funnel (purchase decision) – after doing research, the customer chooses a solution.
The sales and marketing departments guide the target audience through different stages of the sales funnel to create loyal clients.
Managing the Sales Funnel
The key to turning leads into buying clients is the proper management of the sales funnel. When set up efficiently, the funnel can provide impressive benefits for the business. With poor management, the funnel can become complex, making it harder for the sales and marketing departments to achieve the desired results.
Let’s take a look at 7 important aspects of sales funnel management.
1. Always Follow Up
Only about 2% of customers convert upon the first visit to the website. Not many more are ready to do it after the first interaction with the sales rep. It’s imperative to follow up with all interested leads so they don’t slip through the cracks.
When promoting your product online, you should set up a remarketing campaign. It involves putting paid ads in front of the people who visited your website when they browse other sites.
Following up doesn’t have time frames. You could check back with clients after a week or even a month. By using software like the email validation tool by Byteplant, you can make sure the email list with your leads is clean even after months of silence.
2. Work on Your Timing
Try not to send the sales representatives to do their job before the client is in the middle of the sales funnel. Your marketing department should do the majority of work at the top of the funnel.
Even when the buyers are in the middle of the funnel, some work still belongs to marketing. The sales team comes in the middle of the funnel and does the main work at the bottom.
3. Keep an Eye on the Pain Points
The key to proper sales funnel management is addressing the prospects’ pain points. They should always be on the back of the mind of your sales and marketing teams.
Even when the awareness stage is over and the client is looking for solutions, you should be actively listening to their concerns and addressing them promptly.
4. Qualify your Leads
In many cases, improper work on the top of the funnel leads to unnecessary efforts down the road. Low-quality leads aren’t worth your effort. Most likely, they will never proceed down the funnel the way you want them to.
It’s up to the marketing team to single out leads with high potential and pushing them to the next stage of the funnel.
5. Know When to Let Go
The toughest part of guiding leads down the funnel is letting go, especially when you’ve already invested a significant effort in trying to convert them. However, dead leads aren’t worth your attention. You can set them aside for follow-ups in the future.
6. Bring Sales and Marketing Together
Your sales and marketing teams should be working in tandem to manage the sales funnel properly. Each team should be aware of what the other one is doing.
Without a smooth collaboration between the two departments, you are likely to be spending too much time and money on converting prospects.
7. Monitor Important Metrics
To make sure you are on the right track with leading your prospects down the sales funnel, you need to monitor a variety of metrics. The most important indicators are:
- Conversion rate across each stage
- Length (speed) of each stage total sales
By analyzing these metrics timely, you can evaluate your lead nurturing process and adjust the marketing strategy.
By managing the sales funnel properly, you can improve your sales and marketing efforts and increase the company’s profitability. The keys to good sales funnel management are bringing sales and marketing together, measuring the progress, and knowing which leads are worth your efforts.