How to set up an efficient sales funnel in 2022?

An efficient sales funnel in 2022

Key Points:

  • Awareness: During this first step, a potential buyer first discovers the existence of a product or service
  • Interest: In this step, the buyer actively expresses his interest in said product or service.
  • Desire: The buyer finally decides to purchase the product or service.
  • Action: The purchase is finally made, and you have successfully transformed the prospect into a customer

A sales funnel is like a visual roadmap of your customer’s journey.

The concept of tunnel or sales funnel has existed since the late 1800s. It was a man named Elias St. Elmo Lewis who first proposed the “AIDA” model. . The oldest acronym in sales is a four-step tunnel model that traces the customer journey from initial awareness to purchase.

  • Awareness: During this first step, a potential buyer first discovers the existence of a product or service
  • Interest: In this step, the buyer actively expresses his interest in said product or service.
  • Desire: The buyer finally decides to purchase the product or service.
  • Action: The purchase is finally made, and you have successfully transformed the prospect into a customer

Obviously, not all potential customers follow every step of the AIDA funnel, otherwise the conversion rates would approach 100%.

The number of people in your sales funnel naturally decreases with each step of the tunnel, which is why it has been given the shape of a funnel.

Although the AIDA model has long provided a basis for the marketing and business strategies of sales and marketing teams, it has been adapted over the years, and especially in the last few years that have seen the emergence of online selling. . For example, most current B2B funnels have five stages in total, including the new stages “Review” and “Engagement”.

The “Review” step takes into account that customers generally take more time to think before making a purchase. The “Engagement” stage refers to sales teams who must constantly continue to “nurture” or support leads during negotiations and until the sale or contract is signed.

A five-step sales funnel may seem too simple for some businesses. That’s why they often develop and create their own conversion funnels to clearly chart the typical path their buyers take to become customers.

Creating a well-defined sales funnel should allow your business to develop a better understanding of your prospects and potential customers. Identifying where prospects are in your sales funnel can help you see their interest in your products or services. And tracking leads as they move through the tunnel can help your sales reps assess the most effective way to approach them and sell your products.

Knowing how to take charge of prospects at every stage of the sales process is essential to success. You don’t want to lose a potential customer by making their sales journey difficult while they’re still at the top of the sales funnel. The goal of setting up a sales funnel is – on the contrary – to gently push your prospects from one stage to the next until the end of the funnel.

How sales and marketing teams fit into the funnel

Salespeople are not entirely responsible for each step of the sales funnel. Your marketing department also plays an important role, especially when it comes to generating awareness and interest in your brand and your product or service offering.

The most productive sales funnels – that is, those with the highest conversion rates – are found in companies where sales and marketing teams work hand in hand. And the easiest way to align marketing and sales is to establish shared criteria and a common language around your sales funnel.

First, you need to create a lead scoring system so that your marketing team knows when to pass a lead on to sales. A prospect scoring system is like assigning points to a prospect’s characteristics or activities. For example, a SaaS provider will award more points to a prospect for clicking on a pricing page than for clicking on a blog post. 

With a scoring system, your marketing team can more easily determine if a lead is worth following. If he looks interesting, he becomes a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL). At this point he shifts from marketing to sales. If the sales team agrees that the prospect is mature, they become a Sales Qualified Lead (SQL).

For example, activity on your website and a prospect’s engagement with your content may qualify them as MQL. At this point, the MQL is returned to sales, who must either accept the lead or send it back to marketing as soon as possible if it is not yet ripe to purchase your product.

Most importantly, sales and marketing need to be on the same page when it comes to qualifying prospects. 

Always keep track of the data coming out of your funnel to see how well your sales and marketing teams are converting leads. The number of buyers who move from one stage to the next is a great indicator to measure the effectiveness of your overall sales process.

How to build a tunnel capable of generating and nurturing leads

All sales funnels follow the same general pattern. Each tunnel has an upper, middle, and lower section, along with similar expectations for what needs to be done in each phase.

Nurturing and supporting leads and prospects throughout the sales funnel is no easy task. Marketing and sales teams need to know how to reach their target audience and find ways to build an ongoing relationship through different stages.

1- Top of the tunnel: attract attention and arouse interest

The customer journey ideally begins before a buyer even thinks of becoming a customer. So branding your brand is always the first step in any sales funnel and the foundation for finding customers.

Consumers generally discover a brand through traditional or online advertising, more or less targeted. But today’s technology allows for more and more targeted advertising campaigns. 

Marketers can also capture the attention of potential customers through the lead generation process, which mostly includes four key steps:

  1. A potential buyer finds out about your brand through a marketing channel (like a blog post or social media post)
  2. The content includes a call to action ( CTA ), such as a “Start Free Trial” button or a link to a downloadable item of high value added content on your website
  3. By clicking on the CTA, the visitor is taken to a lead generation form, which requires them to provide personal or business information in exchange for access to blocked content or to a special offer.
  4. The lead accesses the desired content or offer by filling out the form and providing extremely valuable information such as name, email address, company, etc.

There are several lead generation channels, more effective and less expensive than advertising, that businesses can take advantage of: blogging, email marketing, your own website (product pages, testimonials, etc.) and social media.

2- Middle of the tunnel: nurture prospects and establish a real connection 

Pushing your prospects from the top to the middle of the tunnel is a delicate and often lengthy process. In B2B, for example, it takes an average of 80 days to move a potential buyer from the awareness phase to the evaluation phase. Companies often need to repeatedly demonstrate the value of their offer just to get a little more consideration.

This is where email campaigns can help you keep prospects interested over the long term. Try to create and send them engaging, high-value content that matches their particular profile. Use a CRM tool to plan these campaigns and measure their success rate.

You don’t want to overwhelm your top-of-the-funnel prospects with too many promotional emails. But when it comes to prospects that hit the middle, try a few of these tactics:

  • Test your email submissions with different subject lines: Continuously test your strategy using A / B testing to see which subject lines get the best open and click-through rates.
  • Personalize your message: It is best to personalize your promotional and sales emails as much as possible. Always address the recipient by name and, if possible, ditch generic opening lines and replace them with unique wordings. 
  • Keep your text short: brevity is essential for successful emailing campaigns. Studies have shown that posts between 50 and 125 words tend to have the best click-through rates.
  • Always end your email with a clear CTA.

3- Bottom of the tunnel: converting and retaining customers

Even when the sale seems inevitable, it’s essential that your sales team continue to guide prospects to the final stage. To do this, use the “ASK” (Align-Secure-Keep) process:

  • Align Priorities: Show your prospect that you fully understand their weak spots and again explain to them how you can resolve them
  • Secure an engagement: Remind your prospect of what they have to gain and offer to answer any open questions
  • Keep your relationship alive: Be sure to follow up with prospects who don’t make up their minds. They can always change their mind.
Conclusion: adopt CRM software to create a powerful and optimized sales funnel 

Thanks to a CRM tool , you will be able to improve each step of your sales funnel and boost your turnover. A CRM software solution can help you capture and automatically assess incoming leads, plan and personalize your email campaigns, and document all interactions that occur with your prospects and customers. A good sales CRM can also be used to guide and follow potential buyers as they go through each step of your sales funnel, even providing you with detailed reports – essentials for measuring and refining your sales funnel over time.

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