In order to make your sales process as efficient as possible, you need to focus on selling to those who are most likely to buy from you. A sales funnel is a strategy where you narrow down all of your leads into qualified groups so that you can focus your time and energy on your most efficient sales tasks.
A sales funnel is something that looks a bit different for every business depending on your customers and their buying process. But there are some essential steps that each company must take.
Build a Sales Funnel for Your Business
Want to create your own sales funnel? Here’s how to get started.
1. Outline the Sales Process
Customers usually go through a few steps to complete the buying process, from first discovering their need for a specific product or service to research to the actual decision.
Not every sales funnel will be the same. A customer deciding which restaurant to visit on a Friday night goes through a very different process than one looking to purchase a new computer.
“If someone’s computer breaks, they’re going to run around and do research about the best options and the best brands until they kind of narrow it down. So it’s your job to capture their attention early on and keep them interested throughout the process until they eventually make their final decision,” says Ivana Taylor of DIY Marketers.
So you need to carefully consider your own customers and what steps they must go through in order to transform from mildly interested researcher to paying customer.
2. Focus on Qualified Customers
Then you need to decide what qualities or qualifications a lead should have in order to have a strong enough chance of buying.
“Not all leads are good. You have your leads, then you have your qualified leads, then you have your hot leads. Those are the ones that are ready to buy, so they’re the ones you should focus on right now,” says Brent Leary, co-founder of CRM Essentials, LLC.
For example, B2B software companies should focus on leads that work in their target industries and who have the power and budget to make buying decisions. Within that group, leads who have done business with your company in the past or who have demonstrated a strong need could be even more worthy of your attention.
3. Automate the Process
Closing a sale is something that’s best left to an actual human. So don’t spend your valuable time and energy on the early parts of the process like collecting and qualifying leads.
A CRM tool can help you organize leads so you can work the most qualified ones through your funnel and focus your energy on those that are likely to result in sales.
One last point: Make sure you don’t just choose the first CRM tool that comes to mind. Refer back to that list of steps your customers make along their buying journey so you can find the tool that’s best suited to your needs and your customers.
1. Identify your ideal customer. Determine the qualities this person should have — the industry they are most likely to come from, the problem they are trying to solve.
2. Figure out their buyer’s journey. Given the qualities you’ve identified, map out the path this customer might most likely take to a sale. How and where will they most likely learn about you and how will they prefer being engaged?
3. Research CRM tools. Determine which platform will help you collect leads and qualify them so you can quickly send them through your funnel and complete the sales process.