Identifying the steps in your sales funnel stages

Your sales funnel is made up of stages, which I define as the Audience stage, Leads stage, Prospects stage, Customers stage, and Evangelists stage.

Each stage in your sales funnel is made up of steps. Within each stage, there might be one step or there might be many. The steps are defined by your industry, business, competition, and marketplace.

AN ILLUSTRATION OF STAGES AND STEPS
I recently went to Minneapolis. It is approximately a 9 hour drive from my city to Minneapolis, and it was broken up roughly into three 3-hour driving segments: Winnipeg to Thief River Falls, Thief River Falls to Fergus Falls, Fergus Falls to Minneapolis.

Thinking about my trip at that level is like thinking about the stages in your sales funnel. The stages are the “broad strokes” of the journey someone takes in their relationship with your business. The five stages of your sales funnel are like the 3 stages of my trip to Minneapolis.

Now, I’ve driven the trip a few times so I’m familiar with the route. But if it were a completely new trip for me, I would plan at a far more granular level: Since my trip takes me through some rural parts of Minnesota, I’d want to make sure that there were regular gas stations, and a restaurant at about the lunch-hour mark of our trip. I’d focus in a little more closely on each stage and make sure I was somewhat familiar with some of the towns and cities on my way through that stage.

Likewise, in your sales funnel, your stages are the broad strokes and the steps in each stage are the closer look.

HOW TO CREATE STEPS IN YOUR SALES FUNNEL STAGES
The steps should naturally and sequentially take the contact through one stage in the sales funnel toward the next. The easiest way to figure out what the steps should be in your sales funnel is to think about the transition in your contact’s mind as they move through the stage.

Think of a particular stage in your sales funnel and then about how your contact’s thinking changes throughout that stage. Once you figure that out, you know what your steps are!

THEN WHAT?
Once you’ve done that, you know exactly what your contact’s thought processes are to get through the stage of your sales funnel. So, you should create marketing material or sales collateral to move them from one step to the next.

When taken together, your marketing material should move them one step at a time through each stage of your sales funnel.

EXAMPLE
Here’s a quick, made-up example to illustrate. Let’s say that someone in the Lead stage goes through the following steps:

  1. They think you have a workable solution to their problem
  2. They think you have a solution they can afford
  3. They think you have an affordable solution that will help them immediately
  4. They think you have an affordable solution that will help them immediately… but they have a few questions

So what should you do? Well, you should create marketing material that addresses each step and naturally moves them to the next step:

  1. They think you have a workable solution to their problem – Write blog posts about how your solution is a viable solution to problems. Include a link at the bottom of those blogs to a page about prices.
  2. They think you have a solution they can afford – Write information on your price page about the value of immediately resolving their problem. include a link to your FAQs.
  3. They think you have an affordable solution that will help them immediately – On your FAQs page, offer them information that deal with some of the most-asked questions. Include a contact form at the bottom of the page.
  4. They think you have an affordable solution that will help them immediately… but they have a few questions – Get ready to hear them about specific questions not covered in the FAQs. (By the way: By contacting you, they have triggered themselves into Prospects!)

Tomorrow, I’ll give you an example of what your sales funnel contacts might be thinking at your Audience stage, and I’ll write the steps that they’ll take through a typical Audience stage.

Aaron Hoos

Aaron Hoos is a writer, strategist, and investor who builds and optimizes profitable sales funnels. He is the author of The Sales Funnel Bible and he's a real estate investor and a copywriter for real estate investors.

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