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Sales funnels are an integral part of any business. They’re how you attract interested parties and turn them into customers. This makes them an essential part of any marketing plan or business strategy. Landing pages and email campaigns are particularly important in the service-based industry as it’s harder to let the product do the talking when the product is a service.
This may make it seem that a sales funnel is of no use to a service-based company if you can’t provide the service over the internet. However, it’s simply a matter of creating a sales funnel suitable for your business.
You need to develop a relationship with consumers and foster a perception of value towards your company. A sales funnel is the method by which you move consumers from just being aware of your product to actually making purchases from your company.
Using Awareness in Your Sales Funnel
The first phase of a sales funnel is the awareness phase. All businesses require this stage. Without knowledge of your service, how are consumers going to do business with you?
So for all companies or businesses who want to succeed on the web, marketing is key. You must spread awareness that your business exists and can cater to needs or problems that exist in the marketplace. This is the first stage of any sales funnel, it doesn’t create customers but it does create prospects.
Consumers who are aware of your existence can and will consider you in the event they seek whatever service you provide. This stage can also make a prospective customer aware that he or she has a problem or need they didn’t know they had. This is a particularly important aspect if your business is offering a new service or has a unique selling proposition that the wider public may not be aware of that they could benefit from.
This can come in the form of an ad campaign or in visiting your website for the first time.
Turning Awareness Into Interest
Prospective customers showing an interest in what your business offers is the second stage or interest phase of a sales funnel. At this point, the consumer is both aware that they have a problem or need and that you offer a solution to that.
The consumer is now looking actively for a solution and has considered your business as a place they might potentially get it. This is where things like social media or the keywords you use on your website can draw in consumers to your business instead of your competitors.
During this phase, you should capture the email address of your potential consumers. They should be added to your subscription list so that you can create targeted ads for them. Your landing page should have a method of capturing viewers’ contact details such as a pop-up or lead capture box. You should also have an automated email service which you can use to send emails about your business and can measure email stats as well.
Using an email provider can also serve the purpose of directing your queries to your sales team who can then develop a rapport with that potential client and respond to specific inquiries that are beyond the capabilities of the automated system.
For this stage, you’ll need a lead magnet. A lead magnet is a special offer you provide to draw in prospective customers. This can be a discount or other forms of promotional offers. Be sure to add conditions when giving a lead magnet such as having to subscribe first to your email list. By having drawn in people who are aware and interested in what you’re offering, your sales team can much more effectively deal with potential clients.
With just a few personal details you can carry out more nuanced and specific marketing.
The Decision Phase in Your Sales Funnel
The third phase of a sales funnel is the decision phase. At this point, the prospect has come to the conclusion that they want their problem solved or a need satisfied.
They should now be looking at specific things you’re offering and which offer can provide them the best value or what would suit their particular problem or need. This is where your sales team come into play. Specific offers should be directed towards your ideal audience so you can maximize the value being offered to them.
This is also the phase where you need to set yourself apart from all your competitors in your market. You already know the prospect is interested in the services you provide so it definitely makes sense to devote time to landing them as a client as it’s less likely to be a wasted venture.
For instance, an offer as low as twenty percent off can be enough to land the majority of interested prospects, even if the offer does not make it cheaper than alternatives.
The Last Part of Your Sales Funnel
The final part of a sales funnel and the most important section is the purchase or action phase. This is the stage in which a prospect buys your product. Notably, the aim of all businesses is to get as many prospects to this stage as possible.
The wider the bottom of your sales funnel is, the more money your business is bound to make. This is why it’s important that your business makes the transaction as user-friendly as possible. Ensure that your website makes payment simple and straightforward and can cater as many payment options as possible.
Depending on what your service is, this stage may also involve negotiations. For instance, if you offer a service tailored towards businesses (known as B2B) rather than individuals, it’s likely that a contract will need to be drawn up. Likewise, if your service runs over a length of time rather than a single transaction, such as insurance, then it’s likely this stage will include some negotiations.
There can be two more phases to a sales funnel which are particularly relevant to service-based businesses. If your business deals with contracts, it can enter a re-evaluation phase after the action stage. This is where the consumer considers the final offer made in a contract.
A second additional phase that’s particularly important to service-based businesses is the repurchase phase. This is when a past customer returns to do business with you. It should be every business’ objective to have a stream of return of customers as this is the best way to have a steady and reliable income flow.
Why Sales Funnel Matter
A sales funnel is no doubt vital to your business as it allows you to create a consistent stream of repeat business and customers. No matter the size of your business, you need to be able to act on the above things.
You can’t just simply focus on marketing and then switch to sales when you feel you have enough prospects lined up. Without a sales funnel, you might find yourself often drifting between too few prospects or no clients at all. A sales funnel allows you to have a steady supply of both. You must always be advertising and you must always be closing sales and dealing with customers.
By creating a sales funnel, your business can have an automated process where it promotes the awareness and interest stages of your sales funnel so that they’re always running. In this way, you or your employees can deal directly with prospects who are in the decision and action phases as well. In every marketing campaign, you should be able to provide a service using a sales funnel.
On the surface, it might seem like it doesn’t matter for service-based business. Especially when it comes to businesses that can’t provide their service over the internet. However, in the modern world awareness of almost all things is spread through the internet. This alone highlights the need to have an online presence for your business.
The internet is certainly the best method for converting business awareness into interest and ultimately, sales. It’s no doubt difficult for a small business carrying out and overseeing all the stages of spreading interest, piquing interest, and landing sales. You can only use so many resources at your disposal so you really have to optimize every stage of your business cycle and process.
By creating a sales funnel, you can ensure that your marketing and sales plates are always spinning. A sales funnel allows you better allocate resources and by using the internet, you can automate several phases of the funnel so that your people can devote their time to providing the right service to your business offers. If you have a limited workforce, it’s obvious that it’s something you need to add to your arsenal. However, it’s also in the interest of big companies to adopt such processes as it creates a more economical use of resources.
Will is the Executive Managing Editor at Feedster. Will and his team from Full Epic Lead Generation work with venture capital, marketing co-ops, and companies to attract and gain qualified leads.
His primary focus on developing a sales funnel for a company and finding out of the box / growth hacking style ways to convert and drive traffic.