“I think my business needs a sales funnel.”
I had this conversation with a fellow business owner recently. She was finding her regular efforts in content marketing – blogging, Twitter, and email newsletter – were not producing the consistent flow of customers she needs.
As I explained, every business has a ‘sales funnel’ already. The funnel is just a metaphor used to describe and measure the way customers find out about your business, and decide to buy from you.
What does a sales funnel look like?
Here’s an example, from a local green grocer.
Each stage of the funnel matches up with the buyer’s journey from Awareness to Consideration to Decision.
Fill in your details below for a copy of the Sales Funnel template. Then read on to find out how to map out your own sales funnel.
The top of the funnel represents your total target audience. So this is everyone who you want to reach with your service, whether that’s businesses or consumers.
Then then next step is everyone who finds out about your business. Broadly speaking, it’s all the people you reach through social channels, PR, and in person. This can be hard to measure, but useful metrics include
- ‘viral reach’ on Facebook
- website traffic through referrals
- website traffic through search.
After that you have people who stay aware of your business and think about using your service to solve their particular needs and challenges. At this stage, people tend to
- subscribe to newsletters
- follow on social channels
- come to free webinars
- revisit your website
- spend a lot of time browsing your content.
Then the penultimate stage is people who are at the point of making a buying decision. They
- look for pricing information, and case studies of people like them,
- reach out to ask questions or for a quote.
Usually they can be tracked through visits to specific website pages, like pricing information, or through behaviours like ‘add to cart’ or ‘request a quote’.
Customers or Sales
Then finally you have actual customers, which you can track through invoices, sales, or whatever records you keep.
How do you measure your sales funnel and conversion?
Once you’ve thought through each of those stages in the funnel, find some metrics which work for each one. They don’t need to be the most perfect measure of absolutely every single person; you want things which feel like strong indicators and are accessible. You can also talk to your current or past customers and find out about their buying journey to get more ideas.
Set up a dashboard, or a custom report, in your website and social media analytics tool, so that you can pull out exactly the data you need, with a minimum of fuss. The easier you make it for yourself, the more likely you are to review the data regularly.
To calculate the conversion rates, you can break it down by specific channel or take a broad picture.
You might look at your conversion rates from a series of Facebook posts. Say your posts reach 1000 people, and 25 of them click through to your website, that gives you a 2.5% conversion ration.
You take the number of people at the late stage in the funnel (the smaller one) and divide it by the number from the earlier stage. Then you multiply by 100 to make a percentage.
How do you improve your conversion rates?
The strategy you implement to improve your conversion rates depends on a number of things.
Firstly you need to be gathering reliable data so you can understand which parts of your funnel are performing below par.
Play to your strengths
Then you want to identify your strengths, and see how they line up with your customers needs and preferred channels. If you are good at cranking out high-quality video content, then you should look at how you can leverage that across each stage of your funnel, for example. Or if you know you’ve got a large audience on Facebook, you might decide to start there when you’re looking to increase the number of people seriously considering buying your products.
Because you have your measurement plan set up already, and a baseline for it, then you will be able to tell quite quickly when things are working.
Predict and test
The funnel data also lets you predict useful things. For example, you can see ‘If I get another 2000 Facebook followers, that will probably translate to 2 new clients over the next 3 months, which is worth £3000.’
Then you can decide whether or not the estimated cost of gaining those followers through Facebook Ads will be worth the pay off. Or you might decide you need to improve the conversion from Facebook followers to new clients before you invest the money in growing your follower count.
How can I map my own sales funnel?
I’m glad you asked! Fill in your details below to download the template and start filling in your own funnel.