TMCnet Feature
July 07, 2021

Sales Funnel in 2021: Stages And Strategies

Do you find it difficult to turn leads into sales? You are not alone. Around 80% of new leads never get to the point of completing a purchase, but companies that actively nurture their leads generate 50% more sale ready leads with reduced costs.

This is why it’s important to know what your potential customers are doing and thinking at each step of their shopping journey. And that's where a sales funnel comes into the play.

Consciously thinking about sales funnel stages and applying the right marketing techniques will give you the power to engage in the most relevant correspondence with customers.

In this post we will explain the nature of the sales funnel and go over some strategies on how to guide potential customers from one stage to another until the deal is sealed.

What is a sales funnel?

Sales funnel, also known as a conversion funnel, is a way to visualise every stage in the customer journey. It starts from the moment a prospective customer learns about a brand and continues up until they make a purchase.

There are several sales funnel stages that we have divided into four parts - awareness, interest, purchase and delight. You might come across a little different sales funnel explanations, but by the nature of the online environment, we believe these four steps all have an important role in 2021.

Awareness stage

This is the moment you have caught a customer's attention and they are aware of your existence. They might have come across your Facebook post that was shared by a friend, stumbled upon your website on Google (News - Alert) search or found about you some other way.

It could happen that it's love at first sight and the customer decides to buy from you immediately. This, however, is a rare right-place, right-time scenario as 96% customers who come to your website are not ready to buy.

Nonetheless, it’s important to get a word out of your brand out there and show what you have to offer - this is your chance to make a first impression.

The key is to ensure you are targeting the right audiences to bring traffic to your site with the potential of completing a purchase. So how to achieve getting your message in front of the right audience?

  • Build awareness with SEO. One strategy you could apply with SEO is to use low-intent keywords to gain attention of users who themselves might not yet be aware that they wish to purchase something.

    For instance, a future helpdesk ticketing software user could at this moment be searching for “customer service tips” or “enhancing customer service experience”.

The goal is to develop a collection of high-ranking content that could be of interest for your target audience. This way you can keep the sales talk to a minimum and focus on subtly promoting the need for the product or service you are providing.

  • Create social media content to stand out. Social media can do miracles in the awareness stage. To get the best out of your social accounts you need to understand which platforms are the most important for your audience and which type of content they are likely to engage with.

    While most businesses have a wide audience on Facebook (News - Alert) and many could create strategies for building separate Facebook funnels, not many brands are able to produce a high quality video that would drive desired results. Focus on what you know and what you can do best to get your message seen.

Interest stage

This part of the sales funnel gives every business owner a bit of a relief - customers already know where to find a solution to their problems. But this is no time to get comfortable, now the real work begins.

In order to move potential customers further down your sales funnel making them realise you really do offer what they are looking for:

  • Use SEO to make yourself the most desirable option. Customers in the consideration stage are very aware they are looking for something. You’ll need to target keywords which show a clear wish to buy.

    These could be along the lines of “best customer service tool” or “software for boosting customer service in 2021”.
  • Retarget your website visitors. In order to successfully remarket your product/service to people who have stumbled upon your website, they should be segmented into specific target groups.

    This should be based on what you know about their interests: the ad they clicked, how long they spent on your site, the actions they took, etc.
  • Capture email leads. Email marketing is crucial for funnel building. Once you have a potential customer’s email you have a higher prospects of moving them down the sales funnel stages and guide them forward.

    This requires getting visitors to sign up to your email list and targeting them with relevant email campaigns.

Purchase stage

All you have done previously is to get the potential customers into this stage of the sales funnel. Now the only thing left to do is to close the deal.

  • Create high-value campaigns that call for urgency. Show your customers the real value you can bring and give them a limited time offer to entice them in.

    A great option to do that is using SMS marketing as SMS offers a fast and personal approach. Moreover, as people spend loads of time on their mobile devices, SMS is a great way to be noticed.
  • Remove conversion barriers and enhance customer experience. Analyse what could stand between the completed purchase process. Sometimes these are the things we don’t often think about. For example, according to a study on website loading times, if your website takes longer than 3 seconds to load, you could lose half of your visitors.

Some other things to pay attention to are mobile responsiveness, the available information to customers on site (FAQ page, tutorials, etc.), reliable and fast customer support.

Delight stage

Best sales funnel examples are from brands who understand making a sale is actually just the beginning and are willing to enter into the delight stage. This truly is the key for developing a sustainable and successful business.

After all, around 65% of a companies’ business comes from returning customers who are much easier to sell to and who are likely to spend more. In the pursuance of turning one time shoppers into loyal customers:

  • Pay attention to post-purchase experience. Reach out and ask if customers are happy with your product/service and is there anything you could assist them with.

    This shows customers you care about them and your relationship does not end when money exchanges owners.
  • Reward your customers. Set up a loyalty program and offer special personalised deals for customers who have already shown deep interest in your products or services. This way you will be able to motivate them to keep coming back to you.

Pro tip for creating an effective sales funnel

The best business practices rely a lot on effective organisational skills. However, sometimes skills are not enough and our work methods need a little boost. Same goes for managing your sales funnel.

Depending on your company needs, one of these sales funnel software might be just what you are looking to really be on top of your game:

Final thoughts

If you have noticed that the majority of your leads don’t convert into customers, something needs to be improved. By focusing on various stages of the sales funnel, you are able to keep a keen eye on customers with different mindsets and offer them what they are looking for.

Keep in mind that in order to really nurture your customer-business relationship, no stage should be underrated. And a strong emphasis on developing a long-lasting relationship is still needed once a customer has seemingly reached the end of the funnel and made a purchase.

By actively guiding customers along every step of the way, you are much more likely to reach your goals and see those leads bringing real value to your business.

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