One of your first tasks while starting a business must be creating your own sales funnel. And you can’t forget this stage as it will help you identify where your customers are and their purchase intent.
Actually, ideally you won’t have only a sales funnel, as you can have another one for marketing. But we will be talking about it on a different post.
What is a sales funnel?
We may be salesfunnelsplaining you, but here it is our very own definition of what a sales funnel is:
The steps a customer has to take to become from prospect to an actual customer.
So, a sales funnel will be a representation of all the steps a prospect takes in order to convert himself onto a customer. Or if it’s converted yet, the steps from that conversion to upsell.
With this in mind, you have to consider that those steps of the funnel will be a process to convert prospects (or leads) onto actual customers. And, yes, this is an actual funnel as there will me more leads than customers at the end of the process.
How can you build a winning sales funnel?
Well, our advice is start using a classic approach: the AIDA model.
This is the classic funnel and has been identified and used for a long time. The pases of this sales funnel are:
- Awareness: the lead meets your product or service and your company.
- Interest: that prospect is now researching and is looking for the best solution (or the prefect one).
- Decision: after all that research, that customer will be ready to purchase.
- Action: the actual moment of the purchase.
This seems pretty easy: you meet a person and you convince to buy your product. But each step has different needs, from communication to action. And if you are a service provider, then this process will be more complex.
However, let’s dig into the sales funnel and find out what you can do if your weapons are a website full of content, an email service and the idea of creating a long-term relationship with your customers. And we will be assuming you have a business proposal service that you want to sell to some new customers, which seems pretty similar to Quoters, huh?
Acme Inc. will be the lead that navigates through this AIDA sales funnel and gets converted to a brand new customer.
This first step is also known as the top of the funnel, and is the starting point where leads start they path to convert.
CSO (Chief Sales Officer) at Acme Inc. thinks that sales performance can be better. They send a lot of proposals full of information about the experience they’ve achieved through the years. But they feel something is missing.
Each proposal they send has at least 40 pages long and are boring: data, data, more data, even more data, 3-4 pages with a proposal, some more pages a quotation of all the services, legal stuff… So, someone finds on Google a new solution to create better proposals, Quoters: easy, fast. And it has some contents on how to improve proposals.
Also, they find some other solutions, and even new templates for their Power Point.
Here, your leads are going a step further as they are researching more an more about potential issues to know which can be the best (or perfect solution).
At Acme Inc. are quite worried about the integration of these new solutions on their actual sales workflow: onboarding, price per user, bulk discounts, language support… all that stuff, as they will be having more that 20 users all over the world.
Prospects here take all their requirements and start researching on them. And here it is not enough to have a good homepage or a landing page: you need content tailored for your audience needs. And you need to provide the right answers to any of the questions anyone can make.
This is, probably, the most important of the stages of any sales funnel, as sales and marketing must work together. And your sales strategy is an inbound one, you need to deliver the the best quality traffic to your website. Actually, our Help Center has some of the answers, as well as some others can be found on our website or here, on the blog. And all of those answers seem to be pretty convincing and easy to implement.
Btw, at some point you collect a few emails and Acme Inc. staff gets Quoters email course on improving sales funnels using online proposals that impress and convert more customers.
Now your prospect has all the answers and several options to make a choice. And negotiation starts.
Acme Inc. needs to learn more about some of the features available on Quoters. Content is not enough and they ask about some of the features and how they can affect their workflow. A meeting is scheduled and most of the questions are answered, but some others need some internal review with developers. An email is delivered with some information about the roadmap and a timeline on how Quoters will be integrated on Acme Inc. day.
Acme Inc. CSO gathers some opinions from sales department on which can be the best solution for them. And the final decision is made.
The bottom part of the funnel. The conversion stage. Here your prospect is becoming a lead (e.g. a free trial) or a customer. Your sales funnel is a complete success and you are getting more and more clients everyday.
So, you have a new customer, Acme Inc., and now you will be facing some other challenges: from retention to upselling.
Tweaking and adapting the funnel
Of course, this is the basic choice. You can tweak it according to your business.
You can find a good tweak on Pipedrive blog. Though it is not intended for actual product sales (e.g. online stores) it can be valid for service providers. This funnel is Not contacted – Lead – Qualified – Proposal sent – Negotiation – Win.
This is a good funnel for small companies that offer services and have some few people working on sales. It is easy to manage, it is easy to understand, you are qualifying leads with some questions and finally you will be identifying in which stage of the funnel you have any issues.
This is the funnel we use at sales on Quoters. From lead to customer. Easy. As Quoters 🙂