Awareness • Interest • Decision • Action
The sales funnel process varies amongst multiple small business types. Depending on your particular product or service offering, sales process and approach, the typical sales funnel includes four stages:
- Stage 1 – when the prospective customer first becomes aware of your brand;
- Stage 2 – when they actively show interest in what you have to offer;
- Stage 3 – when they’ve agreed to the terms of the sale;
- Stage 4 – when a transaction or purchase has been made.
Stage 1: Awareness – It’s at this stage the potential customer or lead enters the funnel and is made aware of your brand and what your business has to offer. Sales and marketing efforts, like television or outdoor, and special promotions are often used, as well cold-calling, e-mail marketing, social media networking and pay-per-click advertising.
Stage 2: Interest – “Hot” leads will require activities that further pique their interest. It is at this stage that you want to entice them to learn more. You can use lead nurturing tactics to follow up with a lead via a phone call or e-mail. Offering a free demo is a great way to get a lead interested in a risk-free trial before pricing is discussed. Qualifying a lead by asking relevant questions about their needs can also foster interest.
Stage 3: Decision – The prospect is interested and is ready to discuss price. At this stage you should be prepared to share information useful for a potential purchase. It can be presented as a formal business proposal or as part of a standard package. And depending on the product or service, back-and-forth negotiation may be required to get everyone in agreement on pricing and terms of service. Note: a lead is not typically in this stage for very long. Either they will accept or deny. So, keep your communications simple and straightforward.
Stage 4: Action – If the deal is lost, you may try again depending on how your sales process is structured. If the lead accepts and chooses to purchase from you, this is the final stage of the transaction, which may also involve a customer on-boarding process. They’re a customer, now what? Cross-selling, up-selling and customer loyalty programs are all in the future … as is the prospect for recurring business. It never really ends here!
While Sales Funnels is the broader term that is used, there are several types of funnels you’ll want to consider, including:
- High ticket
- Lead magnet
- List building
- And more!