What is a Sales Funnel? Discover all the Stages and & Learn how to Create One

stages of a sales funnel

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Do you want to win new customers? It’s not as easy as it sounds (with tools like FindThatLead it really is…), but it’s always good to understand a few concepts so you know what works and what doesn’t! So, one of the essential parts of digital marketing to understand are the stages of a sales funnel, ready?

What is a sales funnel?

Before we look what are the stages of a sales funnel, let’s define this concept, because it’s important to understand it first!

So, the Sales Funnel is a representation of the stages a potential customer goes through. From the first contact with the company to the closing of the sale. Typically, a Sales Funnel is divided into 3 stages: the top of funnel (ToFu), the middle of funnel (MoFu) and the bottom of funnel (BoFu).

As its name says, it has a ”cone” shape and is divided by stages. Phases that measure from the number of visitors that are being generated on your website (top), to those who become sales (customers).

The methodology accompanies this whole topic called Inbound Marketing that focuses on 5 main stages as they are: Visitors, Leads, Qualified Leads, Opportunities and Sales!

What processes are involved in a sales funnel?

Now that you know what a sales funnel is, we can begin to look at the stages of a sales funnel.

Let’s start this way: how does a funnel work? What is a sales funnel?

Yes, the kind we use in the kitchen or in laboratories

As we can see, a funnel has two holes, one large and one very small.

Through the larger nozzle we can deposit the material and as it goes down to the other hole, the space becomes narrower to filter the material and thus obtain what we really need.

With the stages of a sales funnel it’s exactly the same thing:

We have a lot of informational material about different users captured through the media and we need to make it more specific.

How do you do that?

As people become more aware of our brands, we can also get more data about them.

With this method, we will be able to qualify users, which means that we will have to make the appropriate evaluations to know if they can and have the interest to become real customers of our companies.

This is what the funnel is all about in theory, and, although we’ll talk about all the stages of a sales funnel, it’s worth mentioning that the design of a funnel is serious business.

Tip: For this reason, it’s recommended that its management be carried out by the sales director, the marketing manager or related, qualified people with decision-making power.

Now that you know what the sales funnel is, you are ready to understand its main benefits for the company and all the stages of a sales funnel? Ready?

Stages of a sales funnel

Let’s see all stages of a sales funnel!

Stage 1: Visitors

We know that in order to be known and start selling our products or services we must attract visitors to the company’s website.

For this, we’re going to give you several strategies. For example, producing and optimizing content (SEO), ads in paid media, presence in social networks, participation in other websites (guest posts), etc.

At this stage the website receives different types of visitors, from curious to those who are already looking for a specific solution. Therefore, by having good content on your blog, you will have an excellent way to attract qualified visitors for all stages of the buying process. And thus, be well positioned in search engines like Google.

In addition, by generating interesting and relevant content, you are passing a sense of credibility to the visitor. If the blog is continuously updated with content of interest to the public, it can then become a reference in your industry.

We will explain more benefits that you will get with the generation of a blog to conquer new customers.

Tip: It’s important that at this stage you can keep track of how many daily, weekly and monthly visitors you are generating on your website. That is why you must have a tool that allows you to see:

  • How many visitors are generated on your website.
  • Which are the pages with more income.
  • The most visited contents.
  • The return rate of the visits.
  • Other indicators that are important to understand the behavior of the target audience and to be able to verify the content planning that you are carrying out in your business.

 

As we still don’t know who the visitors are, we need to generate strategies to convert them into Leads. That is, to get them to leave their contact information and move on to the next stage of the funnel!

One of the best ways to make this possible is through forms on pages that offer something in return that is of interest to them. Known as Landing Pages, where we promote quality materials such as eBooks, videos, promotions, webinars, infographics, etc.

Tip: It’s very important that, depending on what stage of purchase the Lead is in, we establish what type of content we are going to offer. In our next level we will explain in depth these interesting stages that we all go through when we are deciding what to buy to satisfy a specific need!

Stage 2: Leads

We all know that when you decide to buy your own home, you have to go through some stages and analysis, don’t you? Before deciding where to live, you know several options and think about why to choose that option, compared to the others that exist… Like a detective .

This is exactly what happens with your target audience, many of them come to your website without having decided to buy your products or services.

Some, for example, may be looking for solutions. Many others aren’t sure what they want to buy. For this, it’s important to understand your potential customers: at what stage of purchase they are; in order to nurture them and advance much better in this process.

You may find this post useful: What Are Leads In Marketing?

Using Landing pages as a strategy to capture information from your visitors and convert them into Leads is an excellent way to obtain valuable data from the potential customer. For example, their email, name, interests and other relevant information that facilitates further contact.

The relationship with the potential customer will be built from there. This will determine if the visitor will develop an interest in your solution and become a customer.

In addition, by having information provided by the potential customer himself, you can easily generate a closer relationship. It will allow you to generate interest for the Lead, qualify if they are interested in the solution you are offering and if they will become a customer.

Now you may be asking yourself: How do I generate really qualified leads for my company? That is a doubt that many people have when they start an Inbound Marketing strategy. The tool Scrab.in, will definitely help you with this step!

Tip: It’s very important then, that you can measure the conversion rate of visitors to Leads. If you are already generating Leads, very well, but don’t lose the focus that your company should have: generate sales with digital actions!

The ultimate goal is to increase your sales by getting your customer to buy your products not only once, but generating a long-term relationship. Let’s see what to do with those Leads (love them!)

Stage 3: Qualified Leads

In this stage, all those Leads that in the previous stage we discovered that they have this interest in your products or services. And we’ll begin to segment them, in order to reach the final stage of the commercial funnel, which is the conversion to sales.

It’s right here, where the Marketing team in your business, should make the respective qualifications and analysis of the Leads that exist in your contact base. To start working them as business opportunities, which is the next stage of the funnel.

So you may be wondering: what is the evaluation that my Leads must have to know if they can be potential customers and send them to your sales team? What we can tell you is that each company has its own profiles and criteria to evaluate!

You know your customers, you just need to identify what data could help you to know if it will lead to a sale or not. Some of these criteria can be: size of the company, segment, number of downloaded materials (because they show the interest that the Lead has), among others.

Tip: One of the best ways to make a good relationship possible is through email marketing. With content marketing suggestions in the blog, as well as eBooks, webinars, among others, you can lead the Leads through the stages of the purchase decision process.

Once these Leads are ready and qualified, it’s time to take them to the sales team! Once this happens, we’ll know that the Lead is already an opportunity and can be approached by the sales team because of the profile it has.

Stage 4: Opportunities

For this process to occur properly, it’s very important that the approach by the commercial team happens in a structured way. All the information that the Lead has had, such as interactions made by Marketing, should help to succeed in the first commercial contact.

So, using spreadsheets or a software with integration to a CRM (Customer Relationship Management), we can record all the information as a history of the relationship: your Business/Lead.

In addition, the Sales Team is the one who should have access to all this information generated by the Marketing area. Such as the content that the Lead is consuming, and know how to approach it according to the Lead’s profile, interests and preferences.

This way, even if the Lead hasn’t directly requested a commercial contact, it doesn’t mean that we cannot get in touch with him. Since he is already showing a high interest in a solution that your business can offer him.

To generate success and increase the number of opportunities, it’s important to constantly analyze the quality of the Leads that are being delivered to the sales team.

With all this, you can generate improvement plans for this process and make it more and more efficient. Having Leads that need the services or products offered by your business, thus increasing the return on investment (ROI) and customer satisfaction!

Stage 5: Sales

This is the final stages of a sales funnel, and is the one in which your business has less prominence. However, by knowing which Leads can become customers and knowing the whole process they have in the Commercial Funnel, you can better understand what actions to take or what is helping you to generate a real return to customers!

Then, when you have a more complete view of the funnel, you can generate important metrics that will show the customer the deliveries made and prove the effectiveness of your work.

If a customer has a high value perception, the price they are paying to acquire you is acceptable.

Tip: Understand that what they are getting is equal to or greater than the price they are paying to acquire it. Your business has the opportunity to generate a positive return and the possibility to increase the number of products or services you can offer.

At this stage you can begin to provide post-sales actions to retain and build customer loyalty. For example, upselling or cross selling, increasing the chances of a new purchase or a new referral from a potential customer. All these opportunities tend to have a lower Cost of Acquisition (CAC), and bring a high financial return. A stable turnover generating recurring purchases from your customers.

On the other hand, they will begin to position your business as the best in the industry. The one that satisfies their needs and goes far beyond simply offering and selling products, but generates experience and innovation!

Benefits of the stages of a sales funnel

Now that you know all the stages of a sales funnel, let’s see the benefits that it brings for your company!

It allows you to know your customers better

As we’ve seen, by applying the funnel, it’s possible to observe what are the expectations of customers in each of the stages .

That is, through the funnel it’s possible to discover which are the factors that make the potential customer pass from one stage of the funnel to another!

Tip: Knowing the aspects that interfere both positively and negatively is essential to better understand people’s needs. A good understanding of these demands makes it possible to carry out personalize campaigns.

These, in turn, generate a greater impact on each segment, thus guaranteeing a better Return on Investment (ROI) .

Boosts productivity in the company

The development of appropriate timelines and contact strategies encourages customers to move from one stage to another. In terms of productivity, two extremely positive impacts can be achieved:

  • By aligning the focus on certain procedures per stage, it’s possible to reduce or even eliminate unnecessary resource expenditures.
  • Buyers won’t go through the stages alone because the company is supporting their entire journey through the sales funnel.
  • Both of these aspects are fantastic and lead to the same place: the bottom of the funnel.
  • Improve the relationship with the sales team!

 

Before the customer reaches the bottom of the funnel, the entire sales team needs to be ready to make the sale. That is, conversion doesn’t depend on the customer alone.

Tip:It’s essential that salespeople, managers and all the people who work in the commercial area, have an understanding of the importance of the funnel. Based on this knowledge, a more integrated team can be created, focused on the completion of sales.

Undoubtedly, this point is related to the previous one, since this better perception of teamwork will result in the optimization of productivity.

Promotes new business opportunities

The management of the negotiations already made considering the sales funnel provides a powerful tool.

Another interesting point is that the verification of previous transactions allows the adoption of more efficient strategies, thus improving the results of the actions.

In addition to identifying points of improvement in previous transactions, this vision should be considered to evaluate the performance of the sales team. By verifying inconsistencies, it’s best to address new strategies or correct some weaknesses in the processes already adopted.

Tip: Remember, it is always possible to obtain more attractive results, just use knowledge and expertise!

Now it’s your turn! Now that you know all the stages of a sales funnel, and understand what actions to take at each moment, you have the power to start attracting customers in the best possible way.

Remember, with our free tools, you will be able to capture the best leads for your business and get all their emails and contacts, to make the best personalized content possible, are you going to miss it? Start growing your business now! (and remember all the stages of a sales funnel!).

. . .

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Content wrote by
Marta Aiza

Marta Aiza

Copywriting and Creative Enthusiast

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