How to Use the Sales Funnel Effectively

Chapter 01: How to Use the Sales Funnel Effectively

If you’ve been in business for any length of time you probably already have a sales funnel or at least know you need one. Creating your sales funnel is an important first step; knowing how to use your sales funnel effectively is equally important!

A healthy sales funnel hinges on a few critical points throughout the process. If one of these phases isn’t performing you could be missing some potential customers and losing sales as a result. Below are four checkpoints to make sure that your sales funnel is effective and at peak performance.

  • Are you making a great first impression?
  • How are you nurturing future customers?
  • Are leads converting to buyers?
  • Are you building lifetime customer relationships?

Checkpoint 1: Are you making a great first impression?

The first checkpoint is actually outside your sales funnel where your product is introduced to the universe of potential customers. This introduction creates awareness with the goal of sparking interest. Two things are key here: the audience must include your potential customers and your initial contact should make a positive and compelling first impression.

An effective sales funnel depends on moving potential customers from awareness to interest to a decision point. Awareness becomes interest when you make a meaningful connection with your ideal customer profile. Have you chosen the best social media platform for your customer demographic? Is your lead magnet aligned with the interests/needs of your target market? This is your future customer’s first experience with your brand—make sure you're connecting with your target audience!

Checkpoint 2: How are you nurturing future customers?

If you plant a seed and expect to grow a healthy, mature plant you have to water and care for your seedling, right? In a similar way, new contacts must be cared for consistently to keep their interest and move them forward in their journey of considering your product. Nurturing leads is crucial to maintaining a relationship with your prospects, before, during and after making a sale.

Buyers in today’s information-rich marketplace are often savvy and likely to do their research before making buying decisions. Many potential customers won’t travel straight through the sales funnel cycle but are likely to linger or go back and forth between interest and decision-making. Providing new and engaging content to your list of leads is one way to maintain engagement.

Develop a plan for nurturing your leads through short-term and long-term email strategies. Leverage social media platforms to introduce fresh content that features current, relevant information. Review your website to ensure that it’s easy to navigate, engages visitors and is optimized for both desktop and mobile users. Confirm that all platforms have easy response and contact options so viewers can easily leave their information or get in touch with you.

Checkpoint 3: Are leads converting to buyers?

Your business will thrive only when leads becoming paying customers. What’s your process to move a prospective customer forward to a buying decision? Consider your lead generating sources and explore ways to get qualified leads who will be more likely to respond to your product offering.

Your call-to-action (CTA) offerings can make the difference between creating a new customer and losing one. Review your CTA options. Have you developed CTAs that will convert leads into customers? Do research to understand what your customers need and want. Create a CTA that provides value and moves a prospect forward to learn more, respond or make a buying decision.

Checkpoint 4: Are you building lifetime customer relationships?

A sale occurs once but a customer relationship typically means repeat sales over time. Although your sales funnel should constantly be inviting new leads into the process, be sure to take purposeful action to maintain existing customer relationships.

Start with excellent customer service. Personalize contact wherever possible. Ask your customers for feedback to better understand what’s important to them. Consider options to automate customer contact and content to increase return customer value. Establish your company as a source of valuable information where customers will tune-in to get the latest updates about your industry. Create a sense of community among the customers who use your product through a blog, Q&A posts or customer feature stories.

When you understand how to use your sales funnel effectively, you are likely to gain and keep more customers. People will buy your product or service for a variety of reasons. They will become part of your community because you create and nurture a wonderful customer experience that goes beyond sales and feels more like partnering for mutual success.