How to Define Your Sales Funnel Stages: A Complete Guide

Sales Funnel Stages

Marketing automation is expected to reach 25.1 billion by 2023.  

This essentially means that automated services will be in more demand than ever. It means your business needs to have a funnel in place to have an effective automated service. 

But not every business has marketing or sales funnel in place to attract leads and convert them into paying customers. 

This is a problem for businesses.

Businesses need to understand the sales funnel stages to effectively take a customer visit and make it a customer payment. The best way to do this is to have an automated service in place and a sales funnel that is effective. 

Here's the complete to understand your sales funnel stages and how it can work for your business. 

Your Sales Funnel Stages Should Assess the Visits and the Leads

Every business should focus on one key metric: Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL). It's basically assessing if the lead you are bringing in is a good fit and how quickly you can follow up with that lead. 

It also assesses if that lead should talk to your salesperson so that salesperson can convert that lead to a paying customer. 

One way to assess the lead is to gauge their interest.

Are they interested in your advertisement, your product, and your brand? Have they shown continued interest over time or are they difficult to get ahold of? 

Answering these questions can help you understand your ideal customer, more than just figuring out their age and gender. It's getting to know your ideal customer. It's getting to know each person. 

If a person does express interest, then it's really important to follow-up with an email or a phone call. 

If that lead submits their information on a social ad, it's your job to follow-up as quickly as possible because that customer is interested at that moment. They might not be interested if you follow-up days to weeks later. 

After you assess their interest, it's important that you have a sales call prepared. You might need a script or at least something to prepared in order to try and get a sale. 

On-Demand Webinar: Why Your Salespeople are Busy and Not Productive

Have a Lead Score

It's important to assess who your ideal customer is more than just having age and gender. This is where the lead score comes in. 

The lead score gives you an accurate assessment of each individual customer. It uses a closed-loop analysis to determine the importance of different activities. 

These activities may range from email marketing strategies to behavioral history. 

A lead scoring system gives you the opportunity to evaluate your leads. You can see what kind of actions they took before they became a customer. Check page views, link clicks, downloading a report, or anything that gives you any indication o a pattern. 

You are looking for patterns in the customer that gives you insight into how you do business. These insights may indicate if you should completely get rid of the activity or enhance a specific activity to drive in more customers. 

Check all the activities and ensure you are getting the ROI you need to grow your business. This is why sales funnel stages are critical to taking your leads and making them customers. 

You have to guide them from lead to customer with the right stages, not just any kind of process. 

It takes awareness, interest, consideration, intent, evaluation, and then purchase. These are the steps that a customer goes through before they buy your product.

This is why you have to have steps in place that are tested. Your business needs to figure out what works and what doesn't work.

You need to figure out what is losing customers if it's the design of the website, the sales page or something else in the funnel. 

How to Optimize Your Sales Funnel

You may have figured out how to get leads and what kind of leads you are getting with a lead score, but now you have to optimize it. 

Optimizing means looking at each metric and figuring how to improve each category. 

Look at Visitor-to-Lead Conversion Rate, % Sales Accepted Leads, Lead Work Rates, Sales Cycle Length, and Average Cost Per Sale. 

Each of these metrics can provide insight into your profit margin and your ROI. You are assessing the cost it takes to drive in customers and if you can lower that cost to improve your profit margin. The goal should always be to optimize conversions rather than have a complacent business model. 

Looking at these metrics will give you an indication of what else you could be doing, but you'll have to remember that these metrics are based on a specific set of customers. 

Different customers require different lead scores and different funnels. Figure out which funnel is producing the best results and optimize it. 

You might be testing 5 different sales funnels for 5 different customers. Your goal should be to optimize one of them based on each of their performances. 

You can also read more about how to generate leads with content marketing on our site. 

New: The Complete Guide to Sales Prospecting

What Do Your Sales Funnel Stages Look Like? 

Your business has to revaluate their sales funnel stages if it's not working. For instance, you may have a ton of leads but none of them are converting. 

You may have a system in place, but it's not converting into dollars. Your profit margin may already be thin, and having an ineffective sales funnel can erase any profit you have. 

On the contrary, having a very effective sales funnel system can help you generate massive profits. You can acquire lifetime customers because they love your system and how you treat them personally. You can have a successful business with better leads and more sales. 

You can see more about how to generate a qualified sales lead with our services and how we can help grow your business. Take a look at our services here.   

 

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About Author
Kevin D'Arcy

As our Chief Marketing Enthusiast, Kevin strives to provide clarity, honesty, and unique insights into every one of our engagements. Kevin helps companies improve their lead generation, enhance customer acquisition, and increase revenue. With over 18 years of inbound and content marketing experience with B2B technology companies, Kevin brings a straightforward approach to marketing with results that can be measured. He also has the most adorable hound dog that frequently comes to work with him.