Create a Sales Funnel to Optimize Your Business

Sales funnels can be powerful tools for mapping your customer buying journey, helping you to understand what you are doing well—and which parts of your process still need improvement.  

Ready to sketch out your own sales funnel but not sure where to start?

Don’t worry—we’ve got you covered.  

Here’s how to get started…

Identify all customer touchpoints. A touchpoint is any interaction you have with someone who may purchase your product or service.  

Build your funnel. A basic sales funnel has a top, middle, and bottom.  

The top touchpoints are elements that attract people to your company. This can include ads, social media, PR or your website. Think of the top of the funnel as your handshake or first touch. This is where you make your impression. 

The middle of the funnel represents people entering your sales process. For example, browsing your store, trying out your products, reading reviews, etcetera. At this point, they know who you are and what you do. 

The bottom of the funnel is the actual conversion—i.e., checking out at a physical store, paying for a purchase online, or completing whatever you deem to be the final step.

The Four Stages 

Moving through the funnel, your potential customer passes through four stages:

  • Awareness is typically reserved for the top of the funnel. It is the stage in which someone learns who you are and what you do. This is typically though your marketing. 

  • Interest is the top and middle of the funnel. The top of your funnel should entice people to enter your sales process. An ad, for example, could encourage people to visit your website. The sales page can then further pique their interest. 

  • Decision is when someone consciously chooses to make a purchase. This could be by adding something to their cart or planning to visit your store. In this step, the customer may be comparing your prices and options with your competitor. 

  • Action is when your prospect becomes a bona fide customer. Yet, though the sale is done, your work is not. A customer can become a regular if you provide good service, a warranty, or other after-purchase courtesies or attention. 

Final steps

Now, sort each touchpoint into the funnel in descending order. This is a map of your current sales funnel.  

Next, review each touchpoint to make improvements. 

Place yourself in your customers’ shoes. What would you want from each step of this journey? What would motivate you to get to this point? Where would you stumble along the way?

This exercise should provide you a fairly good idea of how to remove friction from the buying process.

Armed with that knowledge, construct a process to track how customers interact with each touchpoint. This could be analytics tracking for a website or online ad, talking with customers in your store, or adding discount codes to fliers you send out. 

Once you can track how people move through your funnel, measure where they drop off in the buying process. These are areas you need to work on. If, for example, you see potential customers enter a coupon code on your website but not complete a purchase, something could very well be wrong with the checkout experience.  

The beautiful thing about a sales funnel is it is not a static creation. You can use it over and over again to evolve and streamline your business, taking into account new touchpoints while discarding those that do not serve your goals.

And if you need some extra financing to address an issue that comes up while studying your sales funnel, Idea Financial offers up to $250,000 in business loans and business lines of credit to qualified applicants with a simple, hassle-free application and same day approval.

For more articles on how to optimize your business please visit our Business Resource Center main page.

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