What’s a Sales Funnel?

By: A.J. MacQuarrie

A funnel is the process by which you get your product or service in front of a target audience and communicate your message in a way that solicits a specific action, a.k.a. lead generation. An effective funnel usually consists of four elements: the ad, landing page, sales copy, and a call-to-action. In the online world of business, funnels often consist of an initial free offer, like a “7 Steps to Grow Your Business” downloadable PDF, for instance, or a webinar, or a mix of the two. Sometimes you may use a platform like a podcast to get initial interest in your business and that might be the start of your funnel. 

When you craft an effective ad and place that ad in front of your target audience, it will take them through a journey to give their information to you. It’s important that you provide great value right up front and give something away for free. There’s some sales psychology involved in crafting an effective ad, but if done right, the leads will pour into your funnel. The quality of your leads depends highly on how targeted your marketing is.  Dialing into a particular niche will get your message in front of the right audience but it’s important to speak directly to them.

My first attempts at advertising KarmaBox was like flushing money down the toilet on some of the platforms I chose. I even placed radio ads at one point. Now that had too broad of an audience. There’s a saying, “if you market to everyone, you market to no one.”

When I switched to more targeted audiences, my marketing started to click because my product was in front of the right people. Having a healthy funnel means that you are consistently testing and tweaking the things that work and don’t work to dial your message in as tight as possible.  A/B testing is a common way in marketing to test out different ads. Just google it and watch some videos. When you have all the right elements working perfectly in sync, your marketing efforts will continue to bring in quality leads that will fuel your business. Having your funnel integrated with your CRM then becomes an important aspect of the entire sales cycle.  

After you’ve generated your leads from different marketing sources and they’ve been automatically funneled into your CRM, your sales team can now move those leads through your sales funnel. Your sales funnel is the process by which a lead ultimately becomes a paying customer. This is called the backend system because this is when the lead is no longer just an email or telephone number moving through space and time.  This is where the rubber meets the road and relationships are initiated and built.  Sometimes it’s a completely automated process (online retail stores), other times, like for big ticket items, it requires human interaction.  

Your trained sales professionals will call on those leads that came through the system and will take them on a step-by-step journey qualifying them as they go until they close the sale.  As the sales team moves each lead through the qualifying and sales process, they’re able to document each action item they took into the CRM software. 

This allows anyone with access to the CRM to see at which stage each lead is at in the sales process. 

When these three systems are in place, your business will run like a well-oiled machine.  And when your marketing message is congruent with your why and your business philosophy, it’s as though you’ll be able to print money on demand.  It’s just like flipping the light switch for light on demand.  Having your systems in place is crucial for your day-to-day workflow.

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