What Is a Sales Funnel?
A sales funnel is a system for an organization to move people through a process from the first point of contact, to reaching some ultimate goal. The exact system used will vary depending on what that goal is, what resources the organization has and other factors.
The ultimate goal of a sales funnel is to create an organized system of finding people and sorting out which of those people will move through your system to the end goal from those who will not. The reason for a system, is so it is all done in a consistent way, that anyone can step in and perform it, or even automate any portion of it.
What the end goal is will play a huge role in what type of sales funnel works best. Is the goal selling your products or services? Is it finding investors for your business? Is it getting donations for your charity? What the end result you're seeking is will play a huge factor in what system you need to use to get people to that goal.
Also, the nature of what you're promoting in your sales funnel will have a major impact on how it will need to be implemented. Do you have many cheap consumer products? Are you selling major products or services to a select clientele? Do you have a small set of products with progressively more expensive related products? Do you have products people will need to buy continuously over a period of time? Or is it something else? These are the main questions you need to answer in order to know what type of funnel will work best for you.
So, for example, if you run a private training company, you probably have a set of courses for students to take, each related to some specific topic, such as business, or computers. So you could run a funnel designed to get students onto one of those programs where they'll need to take a pre-arranged set of classes over a period of time to graduate from it and get some sort of certificate that says they know how to apply what that program taught its students. In other words, you would want to get your customers to buy products on a recurring basis over some interval of time, such as monthly, or seasonally. In fact, most traditional universities work this way, selling a program to a student and then selling tuitions for a set of classes every 4 months until the program requirements are met by the student.
The value of what you're offering will also play a major part in how you structure your sales funnel. A funnel meant to sell cheap products in massive amounts would need to be almost fully automated, otherwise the system would get bogged down by manual labor. On the other hand, selling a few high priced items would require more personal interaction, as most people are not willing to part with large sums of money to someone they've never met or spoken with and don't know. A high-priced sales funnel would require building up a relationship and trust over time, and that cannot be automated.
Of course, the earliest parts of any system can be automated and that automation can generate a huge advantage, that being saving the time of personal attention for those who are the most likely to buy.
In fact, the sales funnel model I follow has 5 steps to it, which I will go over next week. Until then have a productive, fun and healthy week.
If you have any questions about sales funnels, or have a sales funnel of your own you would like reviewed feel free to post them in the comments below and I'll be happy to help you out.