Ultimate Guide To Sales Funnel Stages [And Tools To Use]

Ultimate Guide To Sales Funnel Stages [And Tools To Use]

Sales funnel stages can be likened to starting a relationship with your loved ones, from the sighting to awareness, and finally making a move.

If you think about it, your first action act as a precept to the next one which is also what sales funnel is all about.

Each sale funnel stages are directly responsible for how your customer reacts to your product and services. So it’s very important you know how the stages work like the back of your hand.

Understanding these stages will let you know where your most attention should be and better help calculate your website conversion rate.

In this post, I’ll walk you through all the sales funnel stages and most importantly, tools to use to make the whole process a lot easier.

However, before we dive into the sales funnel stages, it’s important we’re both agreed on what is a sales funnel and the benefits of using it.

Are you following me? Let’s dive in.

What is a Sales Funnel?

what is sales funnel
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Sales funnel is the process a potential customer takes in order to become a paying customer on your website.

Just like the name indicates, these prospects can be massive at the beginning of the funnel but very few of them make it to the bottom.

Your action, however, determines the level of control you have on your prospects and of course how they move from one stage to the other.

So basically, sales funnel is the act of turning cold leads into hot leads and getting them ready to buy your product or services.

Let’s have a look at an eCommerce store sales funnel as an example.

The majority of your target audience sees your advert on Facebook. Few among them decided to visit your website and a smaller percentage of them decides to check a few of your products.

On their way out of your website, they saw a lead magnet exist pop-up, the majority of them ignored and few entered their email address.

Over the course of your email campaign, you educate and warm them up about the benefit of your products, and not too long you introduce a coupon discount for your products.

If all goes well, they’ll buy your product and reach the last stage of your funnel. This same funnel process applies to all businesses irrespective of your chosen niche.

Why Use Sales Funnel?

why use sales funnel
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Did you know that companies that create an easy buying process are 62% more likely to win a high-quality sale? This is to tell you how important using a sales funnel can be for your business.

The truth is, every online business wants a quick and easy way of getting customers to their business. And even if this is going to work, there’s no way to retain them or understand how they are buying.

The truth is, people hate it when someone is trying too hard to push them towards a sale even when they have the intention of buying in the first place.

This is why it’s important for every kind of business to build and follow a sales funnel in all of their marketing strategies.

Check out some of the reasons why businesses should use sales funnel.

#1: Identify Your Linking Spot

When you properly understand how your sales funnel works you’ll be able to identify the linking holes in your marketing campaigns.

Since they walk through different funnel stages, you’ll be able to discover the stage where most of your prospects are dropping out.

This way, you can take the necessary steps to correct it and also create better optimize marketing campaign for your business.

 #2: Accurate Marketing

No business can actually survive the test of time without a proper marketing plan and ironically this happens to be the most challenging aspect of every business.

However, using a sales funnel shows you exactly what you need to do step by step base on the interest of your audience.

Marketing becomes easier by default once you know what you’re doing and equally have a foresight of what you want to achieve.

#3: Improved Conversion

The whole idea of sales funnel is to improve your business conversion rate unlike the conventional method of doing marketing.

Sales funnel make your marketing approach friendly rather than being too forward which often drives away potential customers.

The whole marketing process comprises different steps that are created with the end goal of bringing the prospect to the final stage of the funnel.

Coupled with the right sales funnel tools, you’ll see that more purchases will be made with this strategy rather than using the hit and miss marketing strategy.

Sales Funnel Stages & Tools to Use

Do you remember when you first asked your girlfriend out; if am correct, you didn’t ask her out immediately you laid your eye on her.

But instead, you carefully plan your approach, from your awareness to show her that you care, your first date, and finally the first KISS.

Sale funnel stages are quite similar to this, and if you want your business to work, you need to understand each stage of the sales funnel.

As a marketer, you need to be calculative in your approach to your prospective clientele because you don’t want to send the wrong message.

You being strategic and calculative will allow you to move the most qualified leads from one sales funnel stages to the end of the funnel.

sales funnel stages

Now let’s take a look at the sales funnel stages for more insight.

  • Awareness
  • Interest
  • Evaluation
  • Engagement
  • Purchase

Stage 1: Awareness

Awareness is the first stage of every sales funnel and this is when your potential customer learns about your business for the very first time.

This could be a tweet about your business, Facebook posts, ads, or even a simple Google search. At this stage, they know little to nothing about your business.

However, if everything goes right some of these customers might just buy your product immediately. This could be because what you’re selling is exactly what they need based on their previous research.

But in most cases, the awareness stage is not to sell but to showcase your product to as many potential customers as possible

At this stage, the most common strategy for attracting client and showing your business to the world includes:

  • Paid Adverts

Running a paid advert across several ad networks is the fastest way to get your business in front of billions of people on the internet.

The best part is, if your targeting is done right, your ads will only be shown to people who are already interested in what you’re selling, which invariably increases your conversion rate.

  • Social Networking

Chances are when your potential business learns about your business they will want to check you out on social media.

A wide array of consumers today solely relies on social networks for social proofs and reviews. So backing up your business with a strong social media account will not only create social awareness but also validate your business on social media.

  • Blogging

Starting a blog for your business is as important as running a paid advert for your business. Because with a blog, you can drive a countless amount of quality lead traffic to your business for free.

The best way to go about this is to write anything about your business. Do your research, and look for what people are already searching for on the internet and create content to fill the gap.

SEMRushI recommend SEMRush at the awareness stage of your sales funnel most especially if you’ll be using blogging as one of your marketing strategy.

This is a valuable tool that offers extensive keyword research, backlink analysis, content explorer and other valuable resources to establish yourself in your chosen niche.

It helps in identifying what your clientele are already searching for. And how you can swoop in and also reverse engineer your competitors, by identifying what’s currently working for them and what’s not.

Stage 2: Interest

Remember our boyfriend and girlfriend scenario? This is when you start popping up in the cute lady’s mind after your first approach and she getting to know you a little bit.

At this stage, you don’t want to be too forward, but instead, show you care with the intention of not getting anything in return.

Now likened to your business, this is the stage at which your potential customer wants to know more about your business.

This is when they began their research and comparison trying to know everything about your business. You, on the other hand, have the perfect opportunity to swoop in with your amazingly free content to educate them.

However, you shouldn’t try so hard to make them buy your product at this stage, but instead, try to establish your authority in that niche and offer to help as much as you can.

Gradually you’re warming them up for the next stage and sealing off their trust in your business without being pushy.

At this stage you should focus on the following strategy:

  • Blog Posts

At this stage, it makes sense to educate your prospect with your amazing content and help inform them about what you have to offer.

In your post, you can include the problem they have that they are not aware of and most importantly how to solve the problem.

  • Lead Magnet

Using a lead magnet makes sense because you’re offering something valuable in return for their leads. With this approach, you’re still not pushy and they’ll believe you’re giving out valuable info for free.

Using a tool like Clickfunnels can be really helpful here with their software exit-intent technology. This tool triggers a pop-up whenever a potential customer is about to close your website.

  • Retargeting Campaigns

Studies have shown that it may take 7 impressions by your brand on your potential customers to build enough trust in your business.

However, using the right retargeting campaign, you can shorten the time it will take your customers to build enough brand awareness about your business.

Clickfunnels – I recommend Clickfunnels at this stage to keep your potential customers as much as you can.  This software was primarily created and specifically designed for sales funnel.

It helps creates the perfect landing pages and lead magnet to captures your customers contacts to keep them coming back to your site.

Finally, this tool has several sales funnel template for different business niches designed to walk your potential customers through the entire sales funnel stages.

Stage 3: Evaluation

Back to our boyfriend and girlfriend scenario, this is the stage where the cute lady starts thinking a lot about you but still not sure.

At this stage, swooping in with a nice romantic gesture or a hot date and making her feel VERY important might just get the job done.

Likened to your business, this is the sales funnel stage where your customer is already thinking of buying your product but still not sure.

They might have other options here and comparing your product or service with your competitors to find the best fit for them.

What you need to do at this stage is to rush in with your best offer. This could be free trials, price discounts, or free plus shipping for physical products.

Whatever the case may be, make your offer irresistible compared to what your competitors are offering and take advantage of the moment.

At this stage introducing the following strategy might help push your customers to the next sales funnel stage:

  • Testimonials

Who doesn’t love testimonials? According to SearchEngineLand, 88% of customers trust online reviews and 72% of them acknowledge positive reviews make them trust a business more.

At this stage, you should focus on retargeting campaigns showing off your previous customer testimonies. This is going to act as a great boost in hasting your potential customer’s decision.

  • Case Studies
  • Pricing Pages
  • Discount & Promo Codes

Clickfunnels – I believe with Clickfunnels, you can easily replicate testimonial prebuilt templates for your landing and sales pages.

The same thing goes for pricing comparison, discount and free plus shipping for you physical products for those using sales funnel for their eCommerce business.

Clickfunnels is one of the most popular sales funnel builder tool for every business owner who isn’t a programmer and those who don’t know how to code.

Stage 4: Purchase

If you’re still following my relationship scenario; this is where the first KISS is initiated. Now, just because you get to KISS the cute lady doesn’t mean you have to stop there right?

There are still better stuff to be achieved if you know what I mean 🙂 Like keeping the relationship or taking it to the next level or whatever it is you’re thinking about.

Likened to your business, this is the sales funnel stage where we all think about, that is, where your customer finally get to pay for your product or services.

However, getting the customer to reach the bottom of the funnel and buying your product doesn’t mean you have to stop there.

There’s still more work to be done. This is where you start working on how to turn 1 sale to 10 sales and 10 sales to 1000.

At this stage, you need the following tools:

  • Shopping Cart Solution

If your business revolves around services, digital or physical-based products, you’ll need a shopping cart or checkout software to process orders on your website.

For this, there are several tools free and paid that you can easily integrate with your website and process your customer’s order easily.

A good example includes WooCommerce, ThriveCart, SamCart, etc.

  • Payment Gateway

Depending on your business location, you should be able to process payment easily on your website without putting your customer’s payment details at risk.

For this, PayPal and Stripe are still the most commonly used payment gateways on the internet and heck, they process payment in any country.

Stage 5: Retention

Back to our relationship scenario, now at this stage, everything seems to be fine because obviously you’re not with the girl of your dream.

However, as I said, your action will determine the long term goal of the relationship; if you’re a jerk to her the relationship will probably end within the first week.

But if everything goes well, you might as well get a baby from her and from the baby other babies until they keep increasing.

Similarly to your business, you shouldn’t stop after the first purchase. You’ll want your customer to be extremely happy with your product or services.

This way you’ll be able to reach out to them and invite them for feedback or even testimonial about your product.

And if everything goes well, once they are happy with your product and enjoy your customer support, by default, your customer will recommend your products to their friends and their friend’s friend.

At this stage, using the following strategy can help achieve your end goal!

  • Upsell Campaigns

This is the perfect stage to upsell your customers once they’ve successfully purchased a product from you already.

Using tools like Clickfunnels, you can easily create upsell and include related products or DFY to make most of your customers.

  • Email Marketing

You’ll need to keep your customers abreast of your new products and the best way to do this is through an email newsletter.

This way you’ll be able to keep them active and update them about any recent development in your business.

For this, GetResponse does a good job and you can get started with their 30 days free trial.

  • Affiliate Program

An affiliate program is a process of paying your affiliate for referring a customer to buy from your products.

Naturally, if your product is good, your customer will want to join your referral program and promote your product as an affiliate.

This way, using affiliate marketing to promote your business will have you more traffic flocking down your funnel and you’ll even enjoy more sales in your business.

So that’s it! These are the different sales funnel stages you can use for your business or clientele.

How To Create Your Actual Sales Funnel

how to create your sales funnel
Photo Credit: Unsplash

Feeling overwhelmed?

You shouldn’t. The best way to go about creating your first funnel is by breaking it down into stages.

And good for you, we’ve covered the stages already; the next thing you need to know right now is how you can actually create your sales funnel.

So are you still with me? Don’t go anywhere.

  • Determine Your Audience
  • Create Your Lead Magnet
  • Build Your Landing Page
  • Create Your Email Campaign
  • Keep It Going

Step 1: Determine Your Audience

The first step in creating your sales funnel is to determine who your audience is. This is because the more you know about them the more effective your sales funnel is going to be.

Your goal is not to market everyone on the internet; you only want people that are interested in your products or services.

Based on your research, you should be able to understand their main pain point and the solution they are constantly searching for.

Once you’ve determined this, you need to go a step further by locating where they hang out. Because this way, not only will you know their common interest, you’ll also be able to specify your targeting.

Take for example, if you sell B2B, a good place to find your audience will be on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Step 2: Create Your First Awareness

Your target audience needs to know you exist if they’re ever going to buy from you and how can they buy from you when they don’t know you exist?

It’s simple; since you already know where they hang out, your next step is to put your brand in front of them.

There so many ways to do this, they could discover you through your amazing post, or video if the majority of them hang out on YouTube.

And if you’re willing to spend a little, running an advert can really speed things up.

Step 3: Build Your Landing Page

After your prospect starts reacting to your content, your landing page will be their first impression of your business.  So you need to put an effort into creating it.

Also, keep in mind that your landing page shouldn’t be about the sales first but capturing their leads in exchange for a valuable lead magnet.

A well-designed landing page should be able to guide your prospect toward the next stage in your sales funnel.

Usually, this should include a bold and well-written call to action that indicates exactly what they need to do.

Clickfunnels does an amazing job in this aspect since it primarily built for creating landing pages that convert without having to learn to code or any such.

Step 4: Create Your Email Campaign

After getting your prospect to sign up for your newsletter, the next thing is to nurture a relationship with them and equally educate them about the benefits of your service or product.

While marketing your leads through email, you’d want to be careful with how frequently you send your emails. 1 or 2 emails every week should get the job done without choking their inbox.

The goal here is to warm them up by providing amazing content that provides a solution to exactly what they need fixing.

At the end of the campaign, do well to introduce an irresistible offer that will give them no choice but to buy your product.

With tools like GetResponse, you can create different email lists based on lead magnets and even tag them based on the actions you want them to do.

Step 5: Keep It Going

The last step in the sales funnel is to keep them coming back to ask for more. Just because they successfully buy your service or product doesn’t mean you have to get them off the hook.

Do a constant follow-up on them and make sure they are extremely happy with your products or services. If you have an upsell, you can equally introduce it at this stage.

A good example here will be to create a service upgrade to your client that includes more benefits to what they’ve previously purchased.

Conclusion

Everything counts when crafting out your marketing plan, every text, image, or even your choice of color can have a great impact on how your customers react to your business.

With the different sales funnel stages, you will be able to trace down what works and what isn’t working in your marketing campaign.

So take time to build the right sales funnels that reflect what your clientele wants and what you yourself want for your business.

Olusola David

Olusola David is the founder and CEO of Torchbankz.com, an eCommerce entrepreneur and blogger with a keen interest in Digital Marketing for eCommerce.After starting his online business journey with Dropshipping, he now shares his trial and error experience of many years with new aspiring entrepreneurs.

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