Eliminate Sales Funnel Challenges in 4 Strategic Steps

Contents:

Introduction

What is a Sales Funnel?

A Four-Stage Process: Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action (AIDA)

Four Steps to Creating a Successful Sales Funnel

1. Know Your Audience

2. Create Strategies for Each Stage of the Funnel

3. Be Relevant at Each Stage of the Funnel

4. Collect and Manage Data

Sales Funnel Tools

Takeaway

As a business owner, you know that building a successful company is all about creating a strong sales funnel. This is the process by which your customers move from awareness to engagement to purchase, and it’s important to make sure it’s as efficient as possible.

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What is a Sales Funnel?

A sales funnel takes prospects through various stages of their buying journey.
You’ll want to set up the steps and collect and store the information in order to gather leads and convert them into customers.

There are four stages in a sales funnel that help convert cold prospects into long-term customers. You’ll begin with a large audience of prospective buyers that will eventually pare down to a smaller group of highly targeted, high-value customers.

A goal is not to make a sale, at least not one sale. Instead, the goal of creating returning clients with lifetime value is to create them.

Breaking the buyer’s journey down into smaller steps (i.e. It allows you to be more precise about how and when you present offers.

There are only a few products you can start with as a small business owner. The sales cycle, sales pipeline, or sales team can be fueling lead generation for a large B2B company.

Engaging and providing increased value to your prospects throughout each stage of the sales funnel is critical to an effective sales funnel.

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A Four-Stage Process: Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action (AIDA)

The model behind the sales funnel is to lead a prospect through four stages of considering your business as a solution. In marketing, these stages are awareness, interest, desire, and action, often called AIDA.

Awareness

Beginning marketers may overlook awareness, assuming the product speaks for itself—which may or may not be the case. In any case, don’t just assume that everyone is aware of your product.

A great way to attract consumer attention is by creating “creative disruption,” which breaks existing patterns of behavior with a highly creative message. This can be done in several ways:

Guerilla marketing – place ads in unexpected situations or locations.
Create shock – use arresting and provocative imagery.
Targeted messaging – ads personalized to known prospect interest, called personalization.

The goal is to make consumers aware that a product or service exists.

Interest

The hardest part of the sales funnel is generally creating interest. For example, if the product or service isn’t particularly interesting, this can be challenging. 

Make sure advertising information is well organized and easy to read, with interesting subheadings and illustrations. This is the message you want to convey to consumers. 

Focus on what is most relevant for your target market. Don’t overload the ad with details. Keep it focused on the one thing that will create interest.

Desire

Interest and desire work together. If you want to build desire in a product or service, you should help customers understand why they need this particular product or service—yours.

For example, infomercials clearly explain how the product is being used in a number of creative situations. The audience understands the value of the product or service and why they should use it in their lives.

Action

Getting your consumer to take action is the last step in the AIDA model. A call to action should be included in the advertisement, a statement designed to get an immediate response from the consumer.

Ads should provoke a sense of urgency that motivates consumers to take action right away. To achieve this goal, limited-time offers (such as free shipping) are commonly used.

There are many different funnel models based on AIDA, adding more steps and renaming the steps. For the purpose of this article you want to understand how the process works in these four steps, leading your customer to take action.

Four Steps to Creating a Successful Sales Funnel

Your sales funnel may fail because you don’t understand your audience’s goals and concerns, and you don’t include enough incentives and CTAs to make that sale. In addition, you need to nurture leads, creating more desire to lead to a sale.

1. Know Your Audience

Who is your prospect? Your sales funnel’s success depends on determining the results and perceived problems that are most important to your ideal audience.

You need to think backward and fit the product to your customer’s problem or need. You’ll highlight your product’s features and benefits that address the basic need.

2. Create Strategies for Each Stage of the Funnel

Every stage of the funnel requires planning, execution, and follow-up. You can’t assume your product or service will sell itself.

The best ways to maximize conversion rates at each stage can include online advertising, email marketing automation, deal negotiation, tracking and analytics, and the use of sales software such as customer relationship management (CRM) tools.

Your marketing and sales teams will want to collaborate on high-value leads using a centralized contact list and pipeline database.

Lead interest can be expressed through downloading a whitepaper or making an inquiry about your business. This is a reminder to prioritize and nurture leads that express interest.

Ensure valuable leads don’t leave the funnel, by tracking customer communications, analyzing conversion rates, and learning from successful teams.

3. Be Relevant at Each Stage of the Funnel

When you create relevant content at each stage of the funnel, you lead the prospect through each step as they continue the buyer’s journey. At each stage, you can give something free for the lead to consume to generate interest.

Top of the Funnel

At the wide top of the funnel, you reach the widest audience. Organic search is traditionally the primary channel used in this stage to find guides, infographics, checklists, videos, and ebooks related to a topic.

As long as you have followers or subscribers, social media and email marketing are also useful touchpoints for gathering customers at the top of your funnel.

If you want to capture those potential customers at this stage, focus on earning their interest, providing value, and educating them.

In a recent study, search optimization software producer, SEMrush found these five content ideas the most successful in the beginning:

“How-to” guides
Landing pages
Infographics
Checklists
Ebooks

Middle of the Funnel

At the middle-of-the-funnel stage, the number of people interacting with your content decreases. However, they are more likely to interact with your content when provided with the right encouragement.

Your goal should be to guide the prospect from a basic idea to an in-depth understanding of how your solution can provide what they need.

Organic search is the main traffic source for middle of the funnel. Conversion rates and lead counts are usually the measure of this content.

The SEMrush study, found these top five commonly used content types include:

“How-to” guides
Product overviews
Case studies
Landing pages
Webinars

These content types are more product-oriented, helping prospective customers see the true advantages of your product or service.

As an example, case studies can illustrate how your product has affected other customers in positive and measurable ways.

But motivation varies greatly at this stage, so you should provide a wide choice of convincing materials, as well as different ways to use your product.

Towards the next step, email marketing can be a useful channel for nurturing leads.

Bottom of the Funnel

Content can help position your brand as superior to competitors, build trust, and accelerate purchase is at the bottom-of-the-funnel stage.

Content you create here should answer specific questions about your product or service (e.g., how it works or what skills are required).

Customer testimonials, success stories, and case studies will be valuable sources for convincing prospects to buy what you have to offer.

This is the smallest funnel stage and the most targeted to convert to a customer.

Your Plan

Start by identifying what content you’ll need to create for each stage of the buyer’s journey, from brand awareness to purchase decision.

Create content right at the top of the funnel, and follow down through each stage of the funnel.

4. Collect and Manage Data

While content is designed to convince prospects to engage with your product or service, data collection and management is the key to making the funnel work for your business.

In the same way you lead your prospect to take action with content, data management drives your sales to increase revenue. Data provides the insights that help you manage your customer’s journey to a sale.

The key is to plan your resources for each funnel stage. This can include collecting contact details via organic and paid traffic, sending personalized communications, automating sales tasks, and optimizing for higher conversion rates.

The difficulties involved with launching a sales funnel are central to data management. Just think about how much contact and account data your sales team needs.

Awareness and Interest Stage

Sales intelligence will categorize business dependencies, pain points, and ultimately help define segments. The organization consists of these components:

Total Addressable Market (TAM): The entire spectrum of potential buyers who might be interested in purchasing a product – even the outliers. Once you have determined your TAM, you can begin narrowing it down.

The micro-segments inside a TAM represent prospective buyers who hold a high Customer Lifetime Value (CLV).

Track first-party statistics that reflect activities directly related to internal sales and marketing activities, such as a surge in anonymous traffic to specific web domains and the ability to capture and map behavior to conversions.

Going to market teams need to understand which channels and messages turn prospects into customers to succeed.

Consideration Stage

In order to progress through the consideration stage, sales should begin to actively engage with a prospect and identify an open opportunity. It is here that the heavy lifting happens gathering information and helping prospects understand the benefits you offer.

As a result, the more data sales people can get their hands on, the better prepared they will be to guide qualified leads through this process.

For example, you might have outreach to various buyer personas at the outset of the qualification process. In the consideration phase, more homework is often required.

The light at the end of the sales funnel tunnel: qualified leads know everything they need to know about their pain point, the best solution for the problem, and are ready to buy from a provider they trust.
As vendors are researching what is going to give them the best bang for their buck, most of the questions at the consideration stage are vendor-driven.

Business development professionals need to reaffirm trust and reinforce the fact that their solution can solve a prospect’s problem better than competitors in the marketplace.

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Action Stage

Learn from your customers. When organizations take the time to synthesize data acquired at the preceding stages of the funnel in order to identify patterns that will impact future performance, they must do so.

When you link insights from closed won and closed lost sales, you can 1) identify similar accounts to pursue and 2) recognize what led to a closed loss decision.

Sales Funnel Tools

Software and data management and reporting tools will help you manage each stage, keeping you from losing leads along the way. You can streamline every stage with access to prospect and customer data for managing your content, monitoring what works, collecting leads, nurturing leads, and delivering products.

Which tools you use, from email service providers to customer relationship management software, website data monitoring to funnel delivery systems, depends on your business and your budget.

Takeaway

Have a sales funnel that advertises on relevant searches. Collect data with content that makes people curious and encourages clicks. Focus on the “pull” of content rather than the “push” of ads.

If you want to create a sales funnel that targets the right people, consider the following tips. First, make sure that the content of your email or marketing message is relevant to the person’s interests.

Second, be persuasive in your language and tone of voice so that the recipient feels compelled to take action on your offer. Finally, consider whether there are any obstacles that might prevent someone from buying from you after reading your email or marketing message. If so, come up with ways around these barriers so that your sales funnel will be successful.

If you’ve been struggling to create sales funnels that target the right people, let us help. Our team of experts is ready and waiting to partner with you to create a stellar SEO or marketing campaign. A strong, targeted sales funnel is integral to your marketing success.

We look forward to hearing about your next marketing project. Schedule your call with us now.