A sales funnel is a visual representation of what steps potential customers follow before making a purchase. It helps salespeople identify consumer behaviours and navigate potential leads through their purchase journey. A sales funnel determines whether potential leads are converting into a customer or not. With a high-converting sales funnel, potential prospects are more likely to become a customer.

Curious about what is a sales funnel, its main stages, sales funnel templates and its examples? Read further!

What is a sales funnel?

The sales funnel represents a series of steps a potential lead goes through to make a purchase. The sales funnel helps to know at which stage more efforts need to be channelized. The top part of the sales funnel is the widest, while the bottom part is the narrowest. It signifies how potential leads are eventually filtered and become a customer.

Main stages of a stage funnel

The four stages of a stage funnel are as follows:

The first stage is awareness, the top part of the funnel. In this stage, leads who haven’t interacted with the company’s product become aware of the products that it offers. Generating leads, reaching out to them, and cold calling comes under this stage.

Interest is the second stage of a sales funnel. In this stage, leads are guided about the products, their interest is fostered. Introducing products or services, filtering potential leads, and nurturing their interest through email marketing comes under this stage. The consumer here is looking to find the best solution to their needs. In this stage, there are two types of leads:

Marketing qualified leads: are those who have displayed interest in your marketing pitch but are still not ready for purchase.

Sales qualified leads: are those who are ready for purchase.

The third stage is the desired stage, the consumer develops interest and desire to make a purchase. Here, the lead has all the information he requires and wishes to buy your product or service. Sending proposals, quotes, sales presentations, offering discounts, free trials, and making leads aware of terms and conditions fall into this stage.

The final stage is action, the lead either makes a purchase or does not. Closing the deals and onboarding the customer falls into this stage. If a consumer does not purchase the product, he opts out of the funnel and returns to previous phases.

Sales funnel templates

Sales funnel templates are visual displays of all these funnel stages. The business must add these stages chronologically from top to bottom. The top is the broadest part, while the bottom part is the narrowest.

Several Customer Relationship Management Softwares are available that generate customizable sales funnel templates for you. After the template gets created, the next step is to manage and monitor information and create a real-time sales funnel for every lead. It is done through spreadsheet software like Excel and Google Sheets, but the most effective way is to use CRM software. A CRM software creates high-converting sales funnel templates by managing information, aggregating it, creating visual charts, and calculating how many potential customers are in each stage.

Examples of the sales funnel

Sales funnel templates differ from industry to industry, depending on the industry’s products, approach towards leads, marketing strategies, etc.

Following are some examples of sales funnels:

SaaS sales funnel

SaaS is selling software as a service that requires leads to become aware and get an idea of how it works through demos or free trials. A purchase in SaaS needs proper research, and these purchases are subscription-based. So, a business must try to attract new customers and retain the existing ones.

The steps and metrics of a SaaS funnel are:

The first step is to identify the audience, making them aware of the products. Use marketing strategies to drive more traffic to your website. Monitor how many new prospects are landing on your website, completing calls to action. These metrics will help to know whether a particular strategy is working or not.

The second stage is to engage the leads filtered in the first stage. Monitor how much time leads are spending on the website and their visiting frequency. Their metrics will help to identify which prospects are displaying interest. If a lead is barely interacting, you can offer her tutorials, webinars, discounts, etc.

The next step is a purchase. Metrics that define this stage are: how many leads are requesting quotes and live demos and how many are continuing the services after free trials.

After the firm closes the deal, it must retain its customers. In case of any discrepancy, customer service must solve the problem and make them fluent with the software.

Business consulting sales funnel

A business consultant includes business-to-business services like marketing strategies, tech, law consultation, accounting, etc. These are not really good. So, a firm cannot provide free trials it has to build strong personal relationships and trust among its leads.

The steps in this funnel are:

First, the businesses become aware of how your services can help solve a particular problem by looking at testimonials from existing customers. Leads get generated through cold calling, surveys, newsletter subscriptions, etc.

Second, the firm must try to build strong relationships with the prospects, set up meetings to comprehensively explain how their needs can be catered through your services, use email marketing, case studies, and testimonials, and make them aware of new services.

Third, the interesting leads want to know pricing, terms, and conditions and ponder upon a purchase decision. If a decides to enrol in one of the services, negotiations and payment transactions take place in this stage.

Real estate sales funnel

Real estate firms not only have to look for potential leads but also for potential houses to sell. Houses come and go in the market quickly.

The stages involved in this funnel are:

First, the firm must look for leads online, through word-of-mouth, newsletters, etc. It must try to understand their needs such as how many rooms they are looking for and what neighbourhood they want, then decide which house will match their needs. Once you find the perfect match, contact them and see if they are showing any interest in viewing the property.

Second, filter out leads, and look if they will buy the property in near future or if they are just looking for future opportunities. If the prospect has shown interest, check on them or make them visit the property once. Motivate the lead to make a purchase. Make them sign your newsletter. In case the prospect wants to buy in the future, he will know what new, exciting services you have to offer.

Third, negotiations and paperwork fall into this stage. You must swiftly reply to every query, arrange meetings, inspections, etc. Lock the contract, hand over the keys, and personalize the experience, which increases the chances of availing your services again. After the deal, look if they can spread word-of-mouth about the whole experience and keep in touch if they wish to buy/sell in the future.

To sum up, a firm must efficiently choose its sales to funnel as they are crucial for better productivity, filtering leads, and developing deep relations. The sales funnel helps filter out leads and increase the rate of investment.