The sales funnel is the primary metaphor for describing the sales process. It is primary because it is so generally applicable to what goes on in selling
The primary characteristic of the sales funnel is its shape. A sales funnel starts out broad and then narrows as you move down it. At the very bottom are the sales you make. But at every step from the beginning, fewer and fewer prospects proceed to the next stage.
It’s important to recognize that there are different names for the stages and different numbers depending on how the funnel is divided up. Some people have as few as three stages to the funnel. Other versions have as many as eight or ten stages.
This is normal, but while the shape of the sales process is a funnel, how wide it is at every stage is determined by your individual sales process.
The basic job of the sales force is to get as many people as possible into the funnel and get as many customers out the bottom as you can.
The concept of the sales funnel with different stages as people move down the funnel is a useful tool for organizing your thinking about your sales efforts.
Stages are important because each stage typically requires a different approach because you’re trying to accomplish different things.
At the top of the funnel is the stage of awareness and interest. This is where the prospect first becomes aware of you and your product.
The goal here is simply to inform as many people as possible that you exist and what you’re offering. Of necessity this involves casting your net as broadly as possible – with the implication that you want to do so as cheaply as possible.
Your primary tools at this stage of the process are your blog(s) and your web site. You want to attract people to these tools and social media is the preferred method for attracting them.
At this stage your message can be very general. You want to mix it with interesting content and keep the message very simple and usually very general. If you have one or two major selling points, you can mention them, but don’t devote more than a sentence or two to them. Remember at this stage your goal is to generate interest, not to sell your product.
At this stage the prospect wants more information and is beginning to seriously consider your product. The end point of this stage in the sales funnel is a decision to purchase or not purchase.
Here the prospect generally wants more information and your sales effort should go into high gear.
It’s important at this stage that the prospect be introduced to the advantages of your product. Your efforts should be focused first, on educating the customer about your product’s advantages and second, on moving the prospect to action.
Finally comes the actual sale. This isn’t necessarily the end of the process. If the customers are satisfied they can become active advocates for your business, promoting it by word-of-mouth and social media. This sort of advertising is gold and should be eagerly sought and encouraged.
Studying the sales funnel and its stages provides a valuable way of organizing your sales process and understanding the results. That is why the sales funnel is such a useful concept.
About the Author
Rick Cook has been involved with computers since the days of punched cards and magnetic drum memories. He has written hundreds of articles on computers and related technology as well as a series of fantasy novels full of bad computer jokes.
Source: SANS ISC SecNewsFeed @ February 23, 2017 at 03:15PM