Sales Funnel and its Stages: A Complete Guide

Sales Funnel and its Stages: A Complete Guide

Do you want to increase your customer base, but wondering how to get started? Do you want to reach out to the right people? Do you want to build out a method with which you will be able to determine the number or customers or the possible revenue that is sitting at multiple stages of your sales cycle.

This blog is for you!! Let’s get into it.

Every growing online business will need its customer base and the question lies in how to identify the potential ones among the huge number of people. This is where the sales funnel comes into the picture.

Let’s get to the point ‘What is a Sales Funnel Anyway?’

Sales Funnel:

The sales funnel in the selling process describes the journey of the buyer on his way to make the final purchase.As you would know that each buyer will be at their specific stage of their buying journey when you would have your touch points. It is hence important to map each of those buyers into the specific stages. 

Why is it important for the salesperson to know the sales funnel?

There are multiple prospects that the sales people touch on daily sales. Multiple prospects will express the interest to do business with the firm. The sales funnel will help the sales professionals to track the buyer’s journey, filter out the potential prospects, and make the sales process move faster. This will help you get a good grip on what business you are likely to close in the coming month or in the quarter.

Let us look at the 6 most important stages in the sales funnel.

INITIAL PROSPECTING:

 Prospecting is the stage where the sales person identifies prospective or potential customers for the company’s products/services. This is the introductory stage where you get introduced to the buyers for the first time. From the customer’s viewpoint, this is the stage where they get the awareness about the product or service you are offering. This will be the first or at best the second meeting with the prospective customer. The customer may be unsure if they would want to buy. The objective of this stage is to get the buyer into the sales funnel. The initial prospecting or the conversation can be initiated by doing a cold call, by email, or through a LinkedIn message. 

This is the stage where you will need lots of patience and perseverance because people will not always nod on the first go. It’s the sales professional’s potential to convince the buyer. To learn about how to become a good salesperson check out the following blogs. Once the initial pitch is done, the genuinely interested customers will ask for more information while the other potential customers can be nurtured constantly by sending an email (newsletter) or calling them once in a while and by staying in regular contact with them until they decide to make the purchase.

QUALIFYING:

This is the stage that deals with the sales leads who have made it into the sales funnel. In this stage, the sales person will need to make sure that they have a chance to win the deal. This means, the salesperson has to evaluate if the prospective customer has the capacity and the mindset to buy from the company within a short time. The qualified sales leads are classified as hot, warm, and cold prospects based on their interest, financial capacity, and the ability to make a decision. The salesperson can identify the hot prospects who come under financially sound and most likely to buy criteria. The salesperson can convert the prospects  into the customers by doing a need analysis in the next stage.

NEED ANALYSIS:

Customers buy products or services to satisfy their needs or to solve their problems. Salespeople should uncover and know buyers’ needs by asking the right questions.They should make sure the customers receive the best solution out of their product For this, a detailed analysis has to be done by discovering all their needs, situations, and the importance or the value the solution will bring to the customer.Salespeople should remember that not all needs can be satisfied and there is a chance to lose some customers at this stage too. After doing the needs analysis, the sales presentation or the proposal has to be designed in the next stage.

PROPOSAL:

After identifying the needs, the next steps would be a detailed presentation followed by a proposal. The objective of the proposal  is to persuade the customer that the company’s product /service being sold will meet his / her needs better than that of competitors. The solution is provided in the form of a structured written document. The document will describe the scope, business terms, budget, risks, and the sanction to the problem. The document has to be the understanding of what has been discussed earlier. It should be presented to the buyer and only after confirmation, it can be taken to the next stage.

NEGOTIATION:

During the presentation stage, the customers may want to negotiate or change certain terms to match their specifications. The company should give a solution that is both beneficial for the buyer and profitable for the company. It should be a win-win situation for both the customer and the company. Upon negotiation and confirmation of the terms and conditions of the proposal, the process can be taken to the next stage, Closure.

CLOSURE:

Closing a sale, an important stage in the sales funnel, refers to completing a sales transaction. This is the stage the customer makes the final purchase. It refers to the customer signing on the dotted line of the agreement completing the sale.  The negotiation is done. The terms are accepted. The sales happen only after the paperwork is done that is getting all the necessary documents signed and after receiving the payments.

To conclude, it is necessary to have a roadmap planned before getting into the process. It will greatly help in achieving the goal. Here the sales funnel stages help the salesperson to track the journey of the buyers’ buying cycle, and plan the activities that are needed to be done in each of the stages.Once you start to see things from the customer viewpoint, you will be able to convert any kind of sales leads into customers.

        “Successful salespeople always keep the sales funnel full.”

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