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Sales Funnel Definition: An Explanation of the Shape and Steps

As you try to search for a sales funnel definition, there may be several explanations found online. Some people call it a sales pipeline. Others refer to it as a marketing funnel or a purchase funnel. Whatever term people may use, it follows just one basic principle, and that is capturing a lead to turn it into sales.

To give you a picture of what this sales funnel look like, it basically uses the shape of a funnel or an inverted pyramid minus the sharp bottom.
The sales funnel is an illustration of how the marketing process evolves from a potential customer chancing  upon a website, up to the point where this customer decides to make a purchase. This is the marketing strategy used by most businesses and it helps them get converted sales from leads.

Sales Funnel Explained

Nowadays, there are still marketing managers who make use of the linear chart that they have been used to for plotting out their marketing plan. While they might have heard about the sales funnel, it might be difficult to comprehend because they have not fully understood a sales funnel definition.  A sales funnel diagram is actually much simpler and involves a more straight to the point stages from the top down to the bottom of the funnel.

A sales funnel works in a way that from the top of the funnel the process goes down to the next stage after it has served its purpose. A linear chart on the other hand, has a flow chart that consists of several stages that needs to be followed step by step.

What is good about a sales funnel is that it has also adjusted with the trends of the times. With social media now considered as being a big player in the marketing process, a sales funnel can also be adjusted to include social media to communicate with leads online.

A lead or prospect is most commonly found at the very top of the funnel, while you see different other steps going down and finally the deal is sealed with  a sales at the bottom of the funnel. There can be several factors that may be considered, depending on the type and size of the business, as well as the strategy they want to undertake, to figure out what they want to place in the middle of the funnel.

Immediately after capturing your leads, you will want to segregate the ones who are keen on buying our product from those who are just merely “visiting”. While you go down the narrow parts of the funnel, you just continue to focus your attention to the needs of your selected leads.

Necessary Steps To Consider When Plotting Your Sales Funnel

Structuring a sales funnel needs careful consideration. You will need to do a lot of research and analysis. If you need some help in coming up with your own sales funnel, you can use the steps laid out below:

1. What to Put on Top

As you begin plotting the steps of your own sales funnel, you will need to decide what goes to the very top. We usually see awareness of the product, leads or prospects being placed on the widest area of the funnel. Remember that the first step, which is the top of the funnel, is the process of getting peoples attention to your business or product.

2. Sorting Your Leads

As you start acquiring a list of leads, you begin doing some necessary work of researching about your prospects. During this stage, you can start sending them relevant content to read, observe their activities, making necessary changes if you feel you need to and even giving more time just to observe your prospects. This will help you to successfully take in these leads into purchasing your product.

3. Analyzing your Marketing Strategy and Risk Evaluation

At this stage, you will need to carefully analyze the marketing strategy that you are willing to undertake and evaluate the risks involved. By this time, you are now preparing your qualified leads to commit into purchasing your product, and you have already eliminated those who are still undecided to make a purchase.

4. Closing the Deal

Before you take your prospects to buying the product that they are interested in, give them a good one time offer that can be too hard to resist. As you do this, remember that you need to be very extra careful not to distract their attention into buying your product, as this may only deviate them from heading down your funnel.

5. Creating an Improved Funnel After the Deal is Closed

The good thing about a sales funnel is that you can improve it once you close a deal.  As you look at a sales funnel definition, you do not see that it goes through a cycle. Businesses do not stop as they close a deal. They continuously take step to improve the sales funnel and it can involve adding or removing some steps in the funnel.