Sales funnel examples: How to track the customer journey
How to set up a sales funnel
There are a series of steps that you need to put in place to set up a sales funnel and guide your potential customers down it, from brand awareness to purchase. Here’s how to get started:
1. Define your target audience
Identify who your ideal customers are and understand their wants and needs. Having a clear view of who your preferred customers are will help you market to them effectively, providing timely messaging and offers that are most likely to convert.
2. Market your brand
Build awareness of your business in the market. Decide which marketing strategies are right for your brand. For example, you may consider using a mix of social media, content marketing, search engine optimisation and paid advertising to create awareness for your products and services.
3. Capture leads
Offer valuable content or incentives in exchange for prospects’ contact details. This could be in the form of webinars, ebooks, discounts or free trials, for example. When you've generated leads, you can start to nurture them with newsletters and personalised marketing. Your content should be aligned to their pain points and motivations, so you establish brand relevancy and trust.
4. Anticipate your prospects’ needs
You need to understand what your customer’s path to purchase is, so you can offer your products, services or relevant information to them at the right time. For example, in a business-to-business context, as your leads move down your sales funnel, they’ll want to fully evaluate your products or services before purchase. Understanding what information they’ll need and when can help you close the deal as quickly and efficiently as possible.
5. Streamline your sales process
Make it as easy as possible for your leads to convert. For example, in a business-to-consumer context, it may be beneficial to optimise your website or checkout process and offer multiple payment options to get your leads through your conversion funnel to purchase.
6. Continue engaging with customers
After a purchase, continue to engage with your customers as there may be opportunities to cross-sell or up-sell to them. Ask for feedback and reviews, provide excellent customer support and offer additional products or services that may be of interest to them. When customers feel valued, they're more likely to advocate for your brand.
What are the stages in a sales funnel?
A simple sales or conversion funnel includes four stages of the customer journey, which are:
Classifying leads, prospects and customers by where they are in the funnel helps you understand how to communicate with them and the types of content that’s likely to resonate with them.
Many sales funnels contain additional steps though, to better reflect the customer journey as we’ll explain below.
Sales funnel examples
B2B sales funnel
Business-to-business (B2B) companies tend to have a long sales cycle because multiple decision-makers may be involved in the procurement process and the investment may be significant.
Companies often raise awareness of their brand with outbound tactics like paid ads and cold calling. Prospective customers might not advance beyond this stage without repeat efforts to contact and engage them. Building a strong sales pipeline enables sales teams to track their outreach and manage their leads effectively.
Once a lead has shown interest in a product or service, they move onward to the “interest” stage and are qualified as a prospect. At this point, sales teams try to further build a relationship and determine what the prospect’s pain points and motivations are. Through several conversations, a sales rep may verify the prospect’s requirements and that they have the right budget and authorisation to make the purchase or engage your services.
Proposal and consideration
If all goes well in the “interest” stage, the prospect may ask for a product demonstration, proposal or quotation. When considering your product or service, negotiation over pricing and contract terms can take some time, especially as prospects may be going through that same process with other vendors they’re considering.
At this stage, the prospect either makes the purchase or enters into a contract with your business. The deal is either closed-won or closed-lost. If they do convert, your client onboarding begins at this time.
From the moment a company lands a client for their product or service, they should be thinking about how to retain them as well as how to upsell or cross-sell to them. For example, clients may become part of a nurture campaign, focused on helping them get the most value out of the product or service you offer or alerting them to what else you offer that may be beneficial to them.
B2C sales funnel
The business-to-consumer sales funnel is much simpler because the value of the potential purchase is usually much lower than a B2B investment and the path to purchase is not so involved. B2C customers do their own research and may not need a guided product demo or multiple conversations with sales reps, for example.
Here’s what a standard B2C sales funnel looks like:
B2C brands often use social media to amplify their business and gain brand awareness. Posting frequency is key here to keep you top of mind. For example, if you’re a cold-weather clothing brand and you’re regularly posting content on Facebook and Instagram over weeks or months, users are more likely to recall your brand when they decide they need a new winter coat.
Continuing with the winter coat example, in the “interest” stage, a person visits your website to browse your products. Content they may be looking for includes images, product descriptions, videos and reviews. If they like what they see, they may move onward to the next stage of the conversion funnel.
A person in the consideration stage digs deeper to compare products and learn more about them. They may look at several details as they consider a purchase, including:
use and care instructions
shipping and return costs.
Naturally, potential customers may also leave your website and search for and compare similar products elsewhere online.
After having a think about it, the shopper returns to your website and purchases the coat. Your sales lead has converted, but it’s not the end of the customer relationship.
Post-sale, B2C businesses should continue engaging their customers with product recommendations and discount offers. Nurturing relationships can turn customers into brand loyalists who are happy to spread the word about your business and the products they love.
Sales funnel FAQs
How do I keep track of where customers are in the sales funnel?
Many businesses use customer relationship management (CRM) software to track actions as people move through the funnel. This software can give you a wealth of data about current and potential customers, such as which emails they are opening or pages they are viewing.
How do B2B sales funnels qualify leads?
This is another instance when a CRM is useful. You can use it to score leads according to key factors, such as their demographics, activity on your website, professional role and more. Then your sales team can focus their efforts on your behavioural segmentation and on the leads that are most likely to convert.
How do you improve a sales funnel if you’re not getting results?
It’s important to continually monitor the performance of your sales funnel and adapt it to meet the changing needs and behaviours of your ideal customer. For example, if you notice that leads are dropping off at a particular stage of the sales funnel, you may consider changing how you engage with your leads and what content you present them to keep them engaged with your brand.
Use a CRM to optimise your sales funnel
Use a CRM that’s a part of your MYOB business management platform to gain visibility of what’s happening across your entire business.
Keep track of your customer, supplier, employee, project, finance, accounting and tax workflows all in one place. Cloud-based, you only pay for what you need but can add on additional software functionality across and within these workflows as your business grows and your needs evolve.
At MYOB, we have you covered.