Identifying Your Sales Funnel
by Christine Jaros | July 19, 2022
Every business needs to know their sales funnel, right? Well, what is a sales funnel? Simply put, the imagery is a funnel, but the activity is a sequence of actions you and your potential customers will follow that result in sales revenues.
OK, you understand that, but haven’t you done everything already? After all, you’ve got a great product/service, implemented a marketing strategy, you have a website, and you’re advertising on social media. Shouldn’t the sales spicket just start flowing? Unfortunately, no. Building it doesn’t mean they will come – it takes much more than that.
So, why do you need to know what your sales funnel is, and how do you identify it? To the first question…say it with me…money, money, money. And to the second question, the how is below. Know that once you know your funnel formula, you will always be able to make a sale money.
Getting consumers’ attention and getting them to act is not the same today as it was 20 years ago. Then, the market was immensely less saturated, and with a modest budget, a business could market their brand using traditional media like newspapers, radio, and TV. Communication to your target market then was simple – you spoke, and consumers (ideally) listened. Today, it’s a different world altogether. Almost every business has a website and/or an e-commerce platform. Analytics via social media and the Internet track consumer purchasing habits. Bots will chat 24/7, and smart devices, the world’s primary source of communication, know more about us than we do ourselves.
As business owners, you need to cut through the noise and sea of sameness. Doing this will take you having a complete and coordinated system that guides your target market to the destination of satisfied customer, also known as sales revenue, or money.
Identifying your sales funnel is not as complicated as you might think. Yes, you may have to step into your potential customer’s shoes but dissecting the selling sequence is much easier than you realize, and, at the end of the challenge, you will have a formula that raises your revenues. Let’s get started.
- Creating Brand Awareness
This step hones in on bringing target customers from the marketplace into your brand arena. Many also use the term ‘outreach’ which is the where, what, and how you are getting your brand in front of your potential customers. One of the biggest elements impacting outreach is your messaging. Critical for success are well-crafted sales pitches, ‘About’ statements, product/service descriptions, and company profiles. All these pieces should include your unique selling proposition (USP), what brand benefits distinguish you from others. The USP conveys your product/service strengths, and the value your customers receive, in addition to being assertive, defensible, and specific.
Ultimately, a consumer becomes aware of your brand when your product/service has added value above others within the marketplace.
So now you know what you will shout from the mountain top, but which mountains will you use to reach your potential customers? Again, outreach is like an old phone. You can plug it in, but if no one knows your number, or you don’t call out, you will speak with no one. Social media groups, trade and professional groups, product/service-related platforms, and YouTube channels are examples of passive mountains you can use. Direct mountains include cold calling, email blasts, postcard campaigns, and participating in trade shows/markets, in addition to many others.
Here, you must walk in your potential customer’s shoes. Where do they exist, work, play? Through what sources are they receiving messages in those spaces? Those will be your ideal mountains.
- Building Traffic
Bringing your audience to your product arena means connecting with them in a meaningful enough way that they recognize your brand. But how many times do you need to attempt contact before this realization occurs? Some estimate no less than 20 touch points (occasions of contact) are required. That number sounds large, but hundreds exist, so finding 20 is doable.
Websites/selling platforms, social media, SEO/Google searches, and emails are the four most common touch points brands have with potential customers. Timing and frequency play huge roles in turning your audience into interested targets.
Connecting a ‘call to action’ (engaged response) to your touch points, like a pop-up chat bot, a first-time user discount, an information video, an estimate calculator, is key to taking them further in your sales funnel.
- The Micro-Commitment
Moving a cold audience towards their first purchase can include signing up for more information, a newsletter, a webinar, requesting a video, scheduling an educational event, or asking for an appointment or customized estimate. These are baby steps towards making the ultimate purchase. These potential customers are hot leads – they want to buy from someone, so let it be you.
- Building Rapport
Establishing a meaningful relationship means that at this point, it is all about the customer’s needs. Reinforce how your product’s features and benefits will give the customer what they want. Explore their reasons for turning away competitors or moving away from another brand. These pain points identify where the competition is missing the mark. Fill the gap with your products strengths.
- Asking For the Order
Don’t fear this step…ask! Recap their purchases, give them their final purchase total, tell them when they can expect delivery of products or services, and ask…ask for their commitment, their signature, their credit card. If they hesitate, ask why and work it out. Having a planned response for objections is critical. Oftentimes, they only need your reassurance that what they have selected is right for them. Give it to them, and reiterate any guarantees, warranties, or return policies. Close the sale and convert this lead to a paying customer.
- Post sales follow up
This final step in your sales funnel is often overlooked, however, building customer loyalty and using positive feedback (reviews) from satisfied customers results in increased repeat business and new customers. Engaging a referral or rewards program that gives existing customers value benefits is money well spent and comes only once you obtain additional business. It’s a win-win for you and your happy customers.
Christine JarosConsultants, Jaros, Tampa
Florida SBDC at USF, Tampa
Specialties: E-commerce, Marketing & Sales, Startup Assistance, Organizational Development
Christine Jaros provides business consulting in the areas of startup, business plan development, marketing and sales, e-commerce, finance, wholesaling and retailing, and business management. Before joining the Florida SBDC at USF, Jaros owned her own apparel wholesale sales and consulting business in New York City for 14 years. She has more than 35 years of experience as a professional businesswoman. Jaros built a global-focused career specializing in manufacturing, marketing and sales with organizations including Bidermann Industries, Liz Claiborne Inc, and Hartmarx Corp. Working with iconic brands such as Yves Saint Laurent, Liz Claiborne, Calvin Klein, Polo-Ralph Lauren and Austin Reed, Jaros grew her portfolio of skills to include international sourcing and distribution. She is a certified TTI DISC Certified Professional Behavioral Analyst and TTI DISC Certified Professional Driving Forces Analyst and a certified Associate Business Continuity Professional (ABCP). Jaros obtained her bachelor’s in business management and marketing from Ohio University. She went on to study fashion and apparel in Paris, France, and later received a finance-focused Executive MBA from Pace University in Manhattan.