Have you ever wondered about your customers' journey before they make a final purchase decision and buy your product or service? Or, in layman's terms–what's the buying journey your potential customers go through before making a purchasing decision?
The buyer's journey, mapped by a sales funnel, typically outlines all the touchpoints your customers will experience before purchasing your product or service.
A sales funnel's primary goal is to get your potential customers to move seamlessly through the funnel stages until they are ready to purchase.
Building a sales funnel template from scratch can seem daunting, but with the right tools and strategies, it can be a powerful tool for driving sales and growing your business. We will walk you through the steps of creating a sales funnel template and offer tips on how to optimize each stage for maximum conversion.
So whether you're a seasoned sales professional or just starting out in the world of sales and marketing, this post is sure to have something valuable for you.
Let's dive in and learn more about creating a winning sales funnel template!
What is a Sales Funnel?
A sales funnel lays down the various stages of the buyer's journey your potential customers go through prior to making any kind of purchase.
It is called a "funnel" because it is shaped like a traditional funnel, with a wide opening at the top and a narrow opening at the bottom. The wide opening represents the pool of potential customers, and as they progress through the funnel, the number of people who continue on to the next stage becomes smaller and smaller, until only a small number of people reach the bottom of the funnel and make a purchase.
The stages of a sales funnel typically include:
- Awareness: This is the stage where potential customers become aware of a product or service. They may see an ad, read a blog post, or hear about the product from a friend.
- Interest: In this stage, potential customers show interest in the product or service and may begin to research it further. They may visit the company's website, read reviews, or compare it to similar products.
- Decision: This is the stage where potential customers decide whether or not to make a purchase. They may compare prices, read more reviews, or consult with friends or family before making a final decision.
- Action: At this stage, the potential customer takes action and makes a purchase.
Understanding the stages of a sales funnel can help businesses tailor their sales strategies to effectively guide potential customers through the process of making a purchase.
What are the Basics of the Stages of a Sales Funnel?
While different organizations may have distinct stages designed to their needs and requirements, however, a basic sales funnel template follows three primary stages: the top, the middle, and the bottom.
Top of the Funnel: Awareness and Discovery
The sales funnel process starts with the awareness and discovery stage, where potential customers first become aware of your product or service and how it can solve their problems.
This is the widest part of the funnel, as it includes a large list of potential customers that have been identified through various lead generation methods like paid ads, content marketing, phone calls, and other tactics like webinars, email marketing, and so on.
The next stage in the funnel is interest, where the focus is on pursuing leads that have expressed some interest in purchasing your product or service but have not yet made a final decision.
Middle of the Funnel: Exploring Solutions
At this point of the sales funnel, your prospective customers have hinted that they are interested in your product but are yet to make their final purchasing decision.
To help them make their decision quicker, ask important qualifying questions that help them and your team make the decision and provide supporting sales enablement content.
As you talk to them, determine whether your product is the right fit for their problem. Make use of content marketing and sales enablement content here–in-depth guides, comparison-style checklists, e-books, and more to help them move on to the next decision stage.
Bottom of the Funnel: Decision Making
Finally, at the bottom of the funnel, your qualified leads are now fully aware of their problem and have multiple options to solve it. This is the decision-making stage for your leads to build trust and provide value in your product to stand out from your competitors.
Based on your business type, to create loyalty and build repeat business, some bottom-of-the-funnel stages may have after-purchase and retaining processes.
How to Build a Sales Funnel from Scratch for Maximum Conversion in 2023
A sales funnel is a series of steps that a potential customer goes through on their journey towards making a purchase. Building a successful sales funnel for a B2B (business-to-business) involves identifying your target audience, creating relevant and valuable content to attract potential customers, and guiding them through the sales process with personalized and timely communication.
Here are some steps to help you build and nurture a sales funnel:
- Define your target audience: Identify the characteristics and needs of your ideal customer. This will help you create targeted marketing and sales efforts that are more likely to resonate with your audience.
- Create awareness: Use marketing tactics such as social media, content marketing, and paid advertising to get your brand in front of your target audience. Your goal is to create awareness about your product or service and get people interested in learning more.
- Foster interest: Once you have created awareness, you need to foster interest in your product or service. This could involve providing additional information about your product or service, offering demos or trials, or answering questions from potential customers.
- Convert leads: At this stage, you need to convince potential customers that your product or service is the best solution to their problem. This could involve providing additional information, offering special deals or incentives, or addressing any objections or concerns.
- Nurture leads: Even if a lead doesn't convert right away, that doesn't mean they are lost forever. Use email marketing, and other tactics to stay in touch with leads and keep your brand top-of-mind.
- Turn customers into advocates: Once someone becomes a customer, your work isn't done. Use loyalty programs, customer surveys, and other tactics to keep customers engaged and satisfied with your product or service. Encourage them to leave reviews and refer friends and family to your business.
By following these steps, you can build a successful sales funnel from scratch for your B2B business and effectively guide potential customers through the sales process.
Benefits of a Sales Funnel
The average conversion rate across all industries is 3.9%, with B2B tech as low as just 1.7% and professional services averaging around 9.3%.
An effective sales funnel aids your sales teams to only focus on those leads that are most likely to convert into paying customers–this helps in increasing overall productivity, improves forecasting and insights, prioritizes customer satisfaction, and more.
A sales funnel can be beneficial for a business in several ways:
- It helps to track and measure the effectiveness of marketing and sales efforts. By analyzing the performance of each stage in the funnel, a business can identify areas that are working well and areas that need improvement.
- It helps to prioritize and focus resources on the most promising leads. By identifying the stage of the funnel that each lead is in, a business can prioritize their efforts and allocate resources accordingly.
- It helps to identify and address any bottlenecks or obstacles that may be preventing leads from progressing through the funnel. By understanding where leads are dropping off, a business can identify and address any issues that may be causing this.
- It helps to forecast and plan for future sales. By analyzing historical data and trends, a business can use the sales funnel to predict future sales and plan accordingly.
- It helps to improve the customer experience. By understanding the needs and motivations of leads at each stage of the funnel, a business can tailor their marketing and sales efforts to better meet the needs of its customers.
5 Examples of Sales Funnel Templates
Most sales funnel vary by industry, business focus, various product and service offerings, and marketing strategy.
Here are five examples of sales funnel templates based on various business types -
#1 SaaS Sales Funnel Template
Creating an effective SaaS sales funnel strategy can be challenging due to the competitive nature of the industry and the constant marketing efforts directed at the target audience. To stand out from the competition, it is important to identify and focus on qualified leads to avoid wasting time and resources on unengaged parties.
The main goals of a SaaS sales funnel template is to provide high value to potential customers in order to drive more quality sign-ups and reduce customer acquisition costs, and focus on continued quality and engagement to decrease churn and increase customer lifetime value.
Software-as-a-service (SaaS) sales funnel template requires a prospect to actually be aware of your product and understand how it works via a product demo or a free trial. This template may involve a few steps–researching the product, trying the product, questioning, and negotiating the product.
Once the proposal is sent with the pricing and other conditions in place, the customer will consider the product as an option and may ask questions or negotiate. The purchasing decision, which determines whether loss or win, is made at this point.
However, for SaaS products, the "renewal stage" is often a key factor and can occur much later. This stage involves current customers deciding whether to renew their current plans, upgrade to another plan, or cancel the service altogether.
To successfully acquire, engage, and retain the right audience, it is essential to monitor and optimize key metrics consistently.
#2 Enterprise Sales Funnel Template
An enterprise sales funnel is usually used to sell complex enterprise products. Since these tools are typically complex and layered in nature, sales reps must work harder to communicate with their customers and build trust to help them make the investment.
Marketing and sales teams can work in tandem with each other to drive traffic, build brand awareness and bring value to their prospective customers.
The following stages may be included in your enterprise sales funnel:
- Appointment/Call Scheduled: During the appointment/call scheduled stage, you determine whether a lead is qualified, a good fit for your business, and worth pursuing. This is typically done through an introductory call where the sales representative identifies the lead's pain points.
- Qualified to Buy: The sales team determines if your product or service is suitable for the lead. To qualify, the lead's business goals should match the capabilities and features of the product or service.
- Demo/Pitch: This is when the focus shifts to the core issues. Your sales reps must nurture the prospect by forming a strong relationship with them to gain their trust. This includes actively listening to their needs and asking targeted follow-up questions to determine how your product or service can effectively solve their problems. In some cases, the lead may make a purchase decision spontaneously during the conversation. Otherwise, a structured pitch may be required to encourage the buyers to progress to the next stage of the funnel.
- Proposal/Trial: At this stage, the prospect has decided to proceed and is prepared to start a trial or make a purchase. They may send a request for proposal (RFP) that outlines their expectations for the product or service and what they hope it will accomplish. The sales representative may need to negotiate certain aspects of the RFP to reach a mutually satisfactory solution.
- Closed/Won: The prospect comprehends how your product or service meets their needs and has approved the RFP. Since they are strongly motivated to convert, your sales reps must take advantage of this opportunity and finalize the deal.
- Closed/Lost: The prospects are not ready or able to commit to a purchase. If this happens, they become lost prospects for the time being. It may be worthwhile to follow up on closed/lost prospects to see if their circumstances have changed.
#3 B2B Consulting Sales Funnel Template
Businesses that offer B2B (business-to-business) services, such as IT management, law firms, accounting, marketing agencies, and others like Deloitte and McKinsey, often have a sales funnel that is similar to other templates, with a focus on the interest stage.
During this stage, sales representatives spend a significant amount of time educating prospective customers about how their product or service will benefit their business.
Prospective customers search for solutions online–traffic generation helps bring them together in one place so they can progress through your sales funnel.
Service businesses and agencies can generate traffic to their value proposition online through SEO, content creation, social media, and ad retargeting. It is most effective when the marketing and sales teams work together and coordinate their efforts. Sales reps must also participate in lead generation, lead qualification, and lead nurturing to encourage prospects to move through the funnel.
#4 Brokerage/Real Estate Sales Funnel Template
Considering the fact that most real estate businesses follow an incredibly difficult process, it's imperative that agents qualify their prospective customers to fit their ICP perfectly well and not waste their time and effort.
Unlike other types of businesses, real estate businesses often do not have much control over what they can sell. The real estate market is incredibly volatile, leaving agents with the work of not only tracking high-value properties but also looking for potential buyers to make a sale.
Setting up a real estate sales funnel is similar to the B2B consulting sales funnel template that prioritizes personal contact and relationship-building techniques.
Here are the key metrics to consider when creating an effective real estate sales funnel:
- Whether a lead or prospect is genuinely interested in purchasing a property
- Their specific requirements for a property
- Their budget
- Their preferences for home design, location, etc.
#5 Social Media and Email Marketing Sales Funnel Template
Even for businesses that use social media and email marketing for sales, which can be simpler than B2B, brokerage, SaaS, and enterprise-level sales, a sales funnel can still be useful. One strategy for using a sales funnel with social media involves following the AIDA steps to attract customers to a product: targeted social media posts to create awareness, emailing subscribed prospects to generate interest, hosting an online event to guide decision-making, and finally offering the product to drive action.
8 Easy Tips to Build the Best Sales Funnel
- Define your target audience: Clearly identifying your target audience will help you create a sales funnel that is tailored to their needs and interests.
- Identify your key value proposition: Clearly stating the benefits and value of your product or service will help guide prospects through the funnel.
- Create a clear call-to-action: Make it easy for prospects to take the next step by providing a clear and compelling call-to-action.
- Optimize your landing pages: Make sure your landing pages are optimized for conversions by including relevant and compelling content, as well as a strong call-to-action.
- Use lead magnets: Offer something of value, such as an ebook or webinar, in exchange for a prospect's contact information.
- Segment your email list: Customize your messaging and offers based on the specific interests and needs of different segments of your email list.
- Use retargeting ads: Retargeting ads can help bring back prospects who have left your sales funnel and encourage them to take the next step.
- Analyze and optimize: Use analytics to track the performance of your sales funnel and identify areas for improvement.
Developing and improving a sales funnel requires time and effort, but it is essential for success in a competitive market. Even small details like font choice can affect conversions, and asking for a sale too soon can drive prospects away. It is important to create a sales funnel that meets both your and your audience's needs and to continually refine it by adjusting your approach to different stages and identifying why certain efforts may not be effective.