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Updated: September 16, 2021

Why Do I Need a Sales Funnel?

Why Do I Need a Sales Funnel?

With so many ways to drive traffic to your website — from Facebook ads to Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, SEO, email, and so much more — it’s a relatively easy practice (however daunting, nonetheless).

While each of these ads can garner thousands of views, impressions, and clicks to your site, we know the ultimate goal — sales. But how do we turn all of our views and clicks into tangible revenue? This is where the sales funnel comes into play.

In fact, a top priority when it comes to boosting sales is improving the sales funnel’s efficiency. Good sales funnels give salespeople an idea of their potential customers’ thought processes, challenges, and decisions.

What Is a Sales Funnel?

In its most basic definition, a sales funnel refers to the steps a person must take to become a customer. This effective digital marketing technique is essentially the algorithm that you want prospective customers to experience as they move from a Prospect to Lead to a Customer, and hopefully, a Repeat Buyer or brand ambassador.

‘Funnel’ here is a metaphor. You will begin with a large audience of prospective customers, who will ultimately reduce to a smaller group of highly targeted, high-value customers. A sale is not the final goal, at least not a single one. It is instead important to create customers who are loyal and have a high lifetime value. You can be more precise about when and how offers are presented if you break down the buyer’s journey into smaller steps (i.e., stages). If you are a small business owner, you are probably going to start with just one or two products. Many large B2B companies build lead generation and sales pipelines by leveraging numerous offers.

One of the best parts is the fact that any marketing channel can be used as a funnel! Or even be spread across several channels.

Is Sales Funnel Important?

The path prospects take is illustrated in your sales funnel. It can be helpful to understand your funnel in order to spot the areas where prospects leave and never convert.

Without understanding your sales funnel, it is impossible to optimize. For now, understand that you can influence how visitors move through the funnel and whether they convert. We’ll talk about how the funnel works below, but for now, just realize that you can influence how visitors move through it and whether they eventually convert.

How do Sales Funnels Work?

Funnel is a process full of different stages, but now, for simplicity’s sake, let’s understand the concept itself and how it actually works. How each visitor goes from a prospect to a lead to a buyer.

It is likely that a visitor stumbled upon your website after searching Google or clicking on a social media link. A prospect is now in sight. You might have a visitor browse your product listings or a few blog posts. At some point, you offer him or her the chance to subscribe to your email list.

Leads are created when visitors complete your form. Customers can now be reached by email, phone, or text message – or any combination of these methods. You’ll tend to get more leads when you send them information about new blog posts, offer special offers, or other compelling messages. Consider offering a coupon code. As visitors progress through the sales funnel, the marketing funnel narrows. As a result, you’re going to have more prospects at the top of the funnel, and fewer buyers at the bottom, but you should also become more targeted in your messaging.

What are the sales funnel stages?

With repeat buyers being the ultimate goal as you look to create a stellar customer base, the sales funnel is essential to a company’s long-term success. However, it’s important to take the right steps to properly execute this sales funnel. Generally, to understands sales funnels we can, for the benefit of the big picture, split them into three parts:

  1. Top of the sales funnel (ToFu): Target audience
  2. Middle of the sales funnel (MoFu): Potential customers
  3. Bottom of the sales funnel (BoFu): New and existing customers

You may not have intentional stages in your sales funnel, but funneling occurs on some level regardless. The number of customers you end up generating will increase dramatically when you use a specific approach, especially if you want to grow an online business.  With our model, the well-designed sales funnel includes six essential stages for ultimate success. These stages are:

  1. Awareness
  2. Discovery
  3. Evaluation
  4. Engagement
  5. Commit and Purchase
  6. Delight

With a properly executed sales funnel, you can not only convert leads into paying customers but ones that continue to shop with you through the years. While this isn’t an easy process, it’s incredibly important, and we are here to walk you through every step of the way.

Let’s review each of the six steps to an effective sales funnel!

sales funnel stages

Stage 1: Awareness

You can’t sell anything if people aren’t aware of your products or business. Before beginning the sales process, you first need to reach new prospects to build an audience to sell to.

When reaching new prospects, the best tactics include:

  • Social media ads and boosted content.
  • Banner ads on industry platforms that are uniquely relevant to your business or services.
  • Video marketing on platforms such as YouTube, Snapchat, TikTok, or Instagram.
  • Incorporating guest blogs about your products or services.

Remember, you cannot assume anyone knows about your brand or what you do. Potential prospects are likely to know very little, if anything at all, and won’t be ready to buy until they have a better understanding of your business. For this reason, the awareness stage is not about selling. Instead, focus on engagement — catching the eye of potential customers and enticing them to learn more about your brand or services.

comrade digital marketing instagram

Stage 2: Discovery

Now that you’ve created awareness and a prospect has engaged with and clicked your ad, visiting your site, or further engaging with the brand, it’s time to focus on a stellar buyer’s journey.

The buyer’s journey is essential to keeping the attention of the prospect. However, there are a lot of factors you’re working against. With so many options to choose from, prospects are quick to stop their journey when they notice certain elements or missing must-haves.

Reasons prospects leave at the Discovery stage of the sales funnel are:

  • There’s not emotional engagement.
  • You’re not offering any special, limited-time offers.
  • You have an outdated website.
  • The interface isn’t user-friendly.
  • No selling proposition uniquely expresses why a prospect should buy.
  • Your website contains errors or bugs.
  • A lacking social media presence.
  • Product descriptions that lack valuable information and insight.
  • No video elements to introduce or further explain.
  • A lack of personalization that shows off the faces behind the brand or the mission.
  • Missing comparative infographics, tables, or charts that help compare product features.

Phew, that’s a lot! However, all of these elements are seamlessly integrated into successful websites, and they all work together to create a user-friendly, informative, and engaging experience that carries the Prospect to the next stage.

To be successful in the Discovery stage, we recommend:

  • Incorporating a clear selling proposition that shares why a Prospect should purchase with you.
  • Multiple call-to-action options that prompt a passing viewer to shop.
  • Video elements to further entice or educate customers.
  • A website with clear reviews and testimonials, so they are confident in purchases.
  • Any personalized imagery or messages that connects customers with the face behind the business.

discovery stage selling proposition plus video

Stage 3: Evaluation

So your prospect has successfully passed the discovery stage of the sales funnel. Now, they begin evaluating.

When we talk about evaluation, this refers to the debate the customer has on if they need to buy an item or service. With so many options, many customers will search around, looking to other sites or for any information to support or contradict their initial reaction to buy with you.

At this point, it’s important to convince the customer that you are the right choice, so they stop looking elsewhere and click “add to cart.” To successfully convince your prospective buyer, you’ll need some key tactics to promote success. These include:

  • Sharing customer reviews, plus links to third-party sites with additional reviews as with Yelp, Google, and Facebook.
  • Any educational materials that answer customer questions or concerns.
  • Case studies of successes using your product or service, including charts or numbers.
  • When applicable, share product demos to show the ease of use.
  • Clear pricing or price calculator.

evaluation stage our portfolio section

Stage 4: Engagement

Now that you’ve managed any customer concerns, answering the “why to buy,” a large majority of your prospects may still be interested, however, are not quite ready to purchase.

There are a few reasons why customers don’t buy immediately. Some like to think about their purchases first (we aren’t all impulse buyers!), while others might not have the funds or are waiting for a better time to shop. However, you don’t want to lose these prospects at this point — and you don’t have to.

To continue to engage prospects, bringing them through the sales funnel and towards a purchase, it’s time to get engaging! We recommend:

  • Sharing limited-time offers (or first-time-buyer sale discount options!).
  • Interactive elements, such as games, surveys, polls, and contests.
  • Case studies with truly engaging results and insights.
  • Cool and unique product features that make your product stand out from competitors.
  • Events and webinars for further education and engagement.

With these tactics, you won’t lose the more hesitant customers!

engagement stage limited time offer

Stage 5: Commitment and Purchase

Hurray! You successfully engaged your prospects, and they’ve decided to buy your product. They’ve almost clicked the “buy now” button, but they aren’t quite there yet… what’s next?

At this point, customers need one final push, reassuring them that this purchase will be a smart one. There are a few ways to do this, but the top methods include:

  • Share customer reviews and testimonials close to the “buy now” button.
  • Display price comparisons that instill your competitive pricing.
  • Incorporate a few reassurance elements.
  • Share any offers of free trials or money-back guarantees.
  • Include limited-time discount offers for a final push to purchase.

With these methods, you can give the customer the final reassurance they need to finally buy now — a worthwhile final push!

commit and purchase stage price comparison example

Stage 6: Delight

We aren’t done yet!

Now that you’ve secured the first purchase from a customer, it’s time to make them long-time shoppers and brand ambassadors for your business. And why does anyone keep coming back for more? Because they love you!

To make a customer love your brand, cementing you as an essential part of their life or routine, it’s important to:

  • Communicate and provide product support post-purchase.
  • Share free education materials and tutorials, providing bonus content that’s valuable to purchasers that makes them feel as though you went above and beyond.
  • Create communities of your customers and continue to support them through email, social media, and other platforms.
  • Features contests and games that existing customers can participate in.

a free ebook offer

By continuing the relationship, displaying that you offer ongoing support and information based on purchases, you will effectively show the customer that you’re a trusted business to continue purchasing from.

By continuing the relationship, displaying that you offer ongoing support and information based on purchases, you will effectively show the customer that you’re a trusted business to continue purchasing from. Now let’s take a look at some advice in creating a sales pipeline yourself.

How to create an appealing sales funnel?

It’s time to create your business’ sales funnel. The following steps will help you complete it quickly:

1. Set Up A Landing Page

Building a landing page and using content marketing efforts to drive traffic to it would be a great idea. Rather than trying to force people to buy from you, it is better to capture leads.  Your audience should be shuttled from stage one to stage two of the sales pipeline using a landing page. Thus, it should include a clear call-to-action to inform your audience what they need to do next.

2. Research Buyer Personas

What type of customer would you like to serve? This question should not be answered by guesswork or assumptions. You should instead build buyer personas based on data and research.

3. Offer Value

How can you expect others to stick to your rules? Why should they follow your instructions? You need incentives or discounts to create FOMO when you build a sales funnel for your business. Whenever you move them to another stage, you need to provide them with a reason for doing so.

4. Nurture Relations

In order to generate leads, you put in a great deal of effort. However, it is even more crucial what you do with them. The nurturing process needs to be applied in all stages of the funnel. Relevant content is key to this.

5. Use Call-To-Action/Upsell

Each stage of the sales funnel should have a clear call to action. If your customer has already purchased, you should upsell to them.

6. Be Vigilant

If the funnel is successful or not, you should nurture relationships regardless of the end goal. Customer retention is improved by doing this, as you remain in their mind for longer.

And that’s complete the sales funnel!

If you have more questions on the six-stage sales funnel or need help implementing any of these tactics, our team at Comrade has the answers. Contact us at 312-265-0580 today.

I hope you enjoy reading this blog post.

If you would like to discuss your project, reach out to our specialists.

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About the Author
Sasha Berson
Sasha serves as Managing Partner and VP of Client Solutions for Comrade Digital Marketing, a Chicago-based marketing agency dedicated to solving client’s most pressing digital challenges.
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