Segment your sales funnel for faster, more profitable results

We tend to think of our businesses as having one sales funnel — a single process through which sales funnel contacts progress as they become customers. For simplicity, this “one sales funnel” approach works for many businesses.

But in reality, businesses have more than one sales funnel.

If your business sells ebooks and consulting, you probably have two funnels (but they overlap somewhat). For example, your ebook buyers might start out as blog readers then they click to your ebook sales page then they buy; while your consulting clients start out as blog readers then they call you on the phone they hire you. This is a very simple example but it can get more complicated.

Let’s say you own a car dealership with a range of cars from entry-level to luxury. Your funnel might be similar: The customer sees an advertisement and then comes into the dealership to buy. But the differences are:

  • Each advertisement was different. The entry-level car ad showed a young person having fun with friends, the minivan ad showed a family out on a picnic, the luxury car ad showed a successful couple in front of a big house. Each advertisement had a different offer. The entry-level car ad emphasized affordability and easy loan terms. The minivan ad emphasized space and safety. The luxury ad emphasized the envy of neighbors. Effective ads display the right content for the target market.
  • Each advertisement was presented to the right audience. The entry-level buyer isn’t going to read the same newspapers or watch the same TV shows as the minivan buyer, and the minivan buyer isn’t going to read the same newspapers or watch the same TV shows as the luxury car buyer. Effective ads are targeted to the right place.
  • Once inside the dealership, the buyers might be expected to act differently. They will look for different things in the car they are interested in and they might operate on a different timeline. A young first-time car buyer might want a car quickly to impress friends while a luxury car owner might take their time to decide which car is perfect for them. (I’m generalizing here, just to demonstrate the differences). How these prospective buyers talk to sales people and the length of time in the dealership will all be determined by who the buyer is.

What I’ve just described above is 3 sales funnels — an entry-level sales funnel, a minivan sales funnel, and a luxury car sales funnel. The dealership would have even more sales funnels for SUVs, pickup trucks, midsize sedans, etc.

The more products or services you sell, and the broader your target market is, the more sales funnels you have. However, it’s not really practical to treat each separate product or service or target market with its own sales funnel all the time. (For example, the dealership in the above example doesn’t need to have 3 separate buildings or 3 separate sales staff). The key is to build one sales funnel and segment it appropriately.

Look at your target market and divide them up into demographic groups using lead profiles. Then figure out which marketing channels resonate with that “sub-target market” the most. Also, make note of what parts of your sales funnel would be shared between all contacts in your sales funnel.

Once you’ve done that, construct a segmented sales funnel to address how each particular group wants to buy.

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