The 4 Stages Of A Sales Funnel – The Keys To A Successful Online Business

Let’s state the obvious, shall we?

Having a properly set up sales funnel gives you good results. There’s no what if’s about this.

A properly set up sales funnel could increased sales productivity, faster response times, more revenue, and more.

The one thing to take into consideration is that, and this is a fact. Many businesses neglect this step completely and venture into the fray blindfolded.

The fact is, behind every lost sale lies revealing insights. Was it the price, a sales tactic, or just a bad lead? You need to know the “why” behind your losses.

Now, would you want to do that for your business? This is why it’s important that you know the different stages of a sales funnel are.

What exactly is a sales funnel and why you need one?

The sales funnel is each step that someone has to take in order to become your customer.

Let’s look at a brick-and-mortar sales funnel.

The people at the top of the sales funnel walk by your store. A certain percentage of them decide to walk in, that’s the next step of the funnel. 

A customer sees a rack of T-shirts on clearance. He or she thumbs through the rack, now they’re at the next step of the funnel. Then the customer selects four t-shirts and walks to the check-out. They’re at the last step. If all goes well, they finish the purchase and reach the bottom of the funnel.

This same process plays out for every business in one way or the other. Your sales funnel could exist as:

  • Retail store
  • Sales team
  • Website
  • Email
  • Personal consultation

Any marketing channel can be part of your sales funnel. And your funnel might be spread across several channels. It’s just not ‘all’ online from what you read on the internet.

Why is a sales funnel important?

Your sales funnel illustrates the path prospects take.

Understanding your funnel can help you find the holes in the funnel — the places where prospects drop out and never convert.

If you don’t understand your sales funnel, you can’t optimize it. We’ll go into the specifics of how the funnel works below, but for now, understand that you can influence how visitors move through the funnel and whether they eventually convert.

The four stages of a sales funnel

Phase 1: Awareness

Prospects are introduced to you.  You’ve identified a particular problem or frustration and you’re providing your solutions by way of content, products, and/or service.  Once you’ve identified a particular problem or frustration, the process of awareness comes through visibility in places like Facebook (social media), ads, google searches.  To get people to the awareness stage you must generate and drive traffic to this first stage of your funnel.

Phase 2: Interest

After you’ve created quality information in the awareness stage, you’ll find those who are even more interested and then they become prospects that are active and engaged.  They return and voluntarily choose you to continue to learn from. 

Phase 3: Decision

During this phase, active prospects are deciding whether or not to take advantage of your solution (your product or service).

The active prospect is paying close attention to the details of your solution (what you’re offering: programs, bonuses, refund policies, guarantees, etc…). Also during this phase, the sales offer is being presented to active prospects.

Phase 4: Action

This is the active prospects’ final stage and is either becoming a customer or client of yours (or not).  This is when contracts are signed and terms and conditions are agreed upon.  Money is exchanged and you have a new customer or client.

How to construct a sales funnel

  • Map your Ideal Buying Process

The buying process is the series of steps a consumer follows from the beginning to purchase.

The buying process should recognize the need of the consumer, offer adequate information, options to choose from, address and evaluate the consumer questions, create an experience for the customer and ultimately, focus on converting the prospect to a buyer.

  • Plan Ideal Content Delivery

Ensure that the content is delivered to the consumer in the right manner at all stages of the funnel.

To nurture the lead that has entered your system, offer targeted content for unique buyer personas, personalized emails, and content-based engagement programs.

Let your content be the guide for the prospects.

  • Track, Test and Analyze your Funnel

Remember, there is no perfect sales funnel.

At every stage of the funnel, you need constant optimization to achieve the desired results. To do so, prepare yourself with the right set of tools to track everything happening during a buyer’s journey. Analyze the data collected and test your funnel to identify leaks.

This is perhaps the most important aspect while building a sales funnel and hence, we will tell you more about how you can optimize a sales funnel in the next section.

What software should you use to build a sales funnel?

Small business owners and online marketers need a reliable tool for building high-converting, effective – and also beautiful – sales funnels online. The clear choice winner for me was ClickFunnels.

When I started marketing online back in 2011, sales funnel software wasn’t really ‘a thing’ in the internet marketing world yet. Instead, we had landing page builders like LeadPages, and Optimize Press, which was dominating the market.

I used them for a time, but the problem with a simple landing page software was that you always had to purchase additional software to make up for the capabilities that the landing page software alone didn’t have, then jerry-rig them together to create the actual sales funnel. Looking back, it was kind of ghetto, lol.

It was frustrating, to say the least. Often the sales funnels broke down because of either human error or one software not functioning properly, which brought the entire sales process to its knees. Then in 2017, I discovered ClickFunnels. It was the best decision I ever made.

ClickFunnels was founded in 2014 by internet marketer Russell Brunson, so I feel fortunate that I was one of their early adopters. I’ve been able to see how the software has continued to evolve over the years.

ClickFunnels markets themselves and is known as a ‘sales funnel software’, but really it’s so much more. It’s an all-in-one marketing suite for small business owners and online marketers alike. They can use ClickFunnels to market and sell their products and services online using sales funnels.

Who is Russell Brunson?

Over the past 15 years, Russell has built a following of over a million entrepreneurs, sold hundreds of thousands of copies of his books, popularized the concept of sales funnels, and co-founded a software company called ClickFunnels that helps tens of thousands of entrepreneurs quickly get their message out to the marketplace.

He is known for selling hundreds of thousands of copies of his books – Dotcom SecretsExpert Secrets, and Traffic Secrets.

DotCom Secrets – Get your free copy here!
Expert Secrets – Get your free copy here!
Traffic Secrets – Get your free copy here!

So, why exactly do I love ClickFunnels so much, and why do I recommend it as the sales funnel and marketing software everyone in the online space should use?

ClickFunnels is the one-stop-shop

First off, I never liked having to pay monthly fees to 5 different marketing software. Since there are lots of different components to a sales funnel, that’s what you used to have to do: pay for a landing page software, email autoresponder, affiliate tracking system. I did what I did back in the days, but to have everything integrated into one platform is a life-saver.

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No sales funnel stress!

When you jerry-rig a bunch of software programs together to create a sales funnel, you’ll find it’s not actually working properly half the time.

Between human error, malfunctions of the software themselves or a lack of digital communication between them (e.g. your Zapier connections not firing from one software to another), there are a lot of problems encountered when trying to build a sales funnel this way.

But when all the functionality of your sales funnel is being managed by one software? That doesn’t happen!

Your sales funnel is simply just going to work because ClickFunnels doesn’t have to ‘connect’ to other programs to get your lead from the opt-in page to the order form.

Your potential buyer will flow seamlessly through the sales funnel without being transferred between different programs, having big page load times or malfunctioning commands.

The result? You’ll make more sales.

Consistent design and flow throughout your sales funnel.

One of the things I disliked the most about building sales funnels ‘the old school’ way was that the pages never quite looked the same throughout the funnel. You’d build your landing page in one software, then your order form in another, then your course membership area somewhere else.

No two software had the same page design templates or capabilities, so everything always looked a little off. Your buttons never really matched. You couldn’t always get the font you needed.

One software to create all the funnel pages, consistent branding, which gives your visitor a trusted experience. As you know, transparency is everything online because we as marketers have to break down the barriers of resistance.

No coding or programming required

In 1996, I spent months learning to code some HTML for my regular website (not sales funnels). This was when Geocities and Tripod were coming onto the scene. I knew deep inside that most people, let alone 90% of the world do not have the skillsets to know how to code and program.

ClickFunnels is meant for people who want to market online, not code. It’s meant to bring the capabilities of sales funnels to the masses, regardless of your technical knowledge.

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Final thoughts

Most of the time, the very first funnel you build may not make you profitable. In fact, the goal of your first funnel is to acquire customers and to breakeven.

As you get better at this, you will come across several new strategies and techniques to filter more people through your business.

You have made it to the end. By “end”, I really mean the beginning. Now that you’ve gone through the concept and the recipe, you’re ready to build your own sales funnel.

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Hi, I'm Nate! 😊

Thank you for visiting my blog. I show busy Gen X'ers how to ditch their toxic 9-5 and make money online in 2024.
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