Understanding your sales funnel and being able to draw it out are essential skills you need to have if you want to grow a profitable business.
In this blog post, I want to walk you step-by-step through drawing out your business’ sales funnel. (Download this Sales Funnel Quick Reference Guide for more information about sales funnels).
STEP ONE: LIST EVERYTHING YOU DO
In two separate lists, list all of your marketing efforts and all of your products and services. Don’t worry if the lists aren’t exhaustive; just try to get it all down into the two lists.
Let’s say that your marketing efforts include online articles and press releases, Twitter, and you participate in your local Chamber of Commerce. You have a website and you also have a landing page that specifically sells an ebook.
And let’s say that your products and services include an ebook, telephone coaching, and seminars.
As you do this step, you might think: “Oh, but sometimes I talk to people on the phone. And how what about the money transaction? Don’t worry, we’ll get to that. You can list it in a third – “where the heck does this go?” list, if you want. Just get the two main lists down first.
STEP TWO: ARRANGE IN ORDER
Now it’s time to arrange your marketing efforts in order. It is very likely that people see you in one marketing channel before finding you in another.
Your target market might first spot you in a Twitter ReTweet so they follow you on Twitter and then they later check out your website. Or, they might do a search on Google for something, find an article you wrote, and then click to your website. So put your marketing efforts in order.
In the example we’ve been doing, it might look like this. You can see we’ve just grouped everything into three basic groups — the initial marketing at the top, your website homepage and landing page in the middle (since people will probably get to that site THROUGH one of the marketing channels at the top of your funnel) and your products/services at the bottom. Nothing fancy. We’re making some assumptions here (and we can always move stuff around later).
STEP THREE: FILL IN THE BLANKS
As you look at your sales funnel, you’ll realize that there are blanks that haven’t been covered yet (and maybe you added them to a “where the heck does this go?” list in step one). Some examples include:
- Add interaction
- Add your paygates (the places where the customer pays you)
In the example we’ve been building, let’s imagine that prospective customers contact you (especially from Chamber of Commerce but occasionally through your website) to learn more about your seminars and coaching. After you interact with them a bit, they sign a contract and pay and you deliver the service.
And let’s also imagine that your paygates (which I’ve indicated in green in the example) are as follows: People pay up-front for your ebook and your coaching and they pay after the fact when you deliver a seminar.
In the example we’ve been doing, it might look like this. Again, it’s just a rough diagram and we’ll tweak it as we go.
STEP FOUR: CONNECT THE DOTS
In this step, you start to draw lines from one part of your sales funnel to another.
Not all of your marketing channels will prompt people to move forward in your sales funnel in the same way. Some will drive people to your website, others will get the phone ringing. Some marketing channels will prompt people in more than one way.
And, let’s not forget that sometimes, people will look at one marketing channel and then another before moving forward in your sales funnel, or they will buy one product and then another farther down your sales funnel. So there isn’t just vertical movement down your sales funnel, there is also horizontal movement as well.
You might find that your article marketing and some of your press releases tend to point people to your landing pages (instead of your website’ s home page) so you draw lines to connect those appropriately. And you might also realize that your Chamber of Commerce activity rarely results in an ebook sale but usually results in coaching and seminar work. So you connect those.
In the example we’ve been doing, it might look like this. You can see that (in our example) the article marketing TENDS to send people directly to a specific landing page in our website and our networking at the Chamber of Commerce TENDS to have people contacting us directly (instead of visiting the website… although some people from the Chamber will visit our website first).
STEP FIVE: GROUP INTO STAGES
At each stage in your sales funnel, the people in that stage have a different mindset. Some barely know you and are skeptical of what you offer. Others feel that they have a pressing problem and are curious if you can help them.
By grouping your different marketing and sales and delivery efforts into stages, you can communicate more effectively with the people in that stage because you know what mindset they have.
In general, I tend to use 5 stages (Audience, Leads, Prospects, Customers, Evangelists) but you might be more comfortable with a different grouping. That’s fine. The important thing is to define the stages and then figure out what mindset your sales funnel contacts have in that stage.
I’ve used just four stages in this example – Audience, Leads, Prospects, and Customers. Let’s assume that this fictional company doesn’t do very much with its Evangelists.
Then we add the Prospect stage by grouping together all of the channels where people might keep digging because they realize that we can solve a problem they have. You’ll note that we made an adjustment with the Landing Page because it does double-duty as both a place where Leads land and a place that convinces Prospects to buy.
Then we add the Customer stage by grouping together all of our deliverables. You’ll notice that the ebook paygate has been moved because as soon as the Propsect clicks the Buy Now button and enters the paygate to pay, they have become customers. And, if they have contacted the business and are ready to receive a contract, they have become customers.
Now it’s your turn! Give it a try for your business. And in the comments below, tell me what you think of this process. I’ve tried to lay it out as simply as possible but I think about this stuff 24/7. Are there aspects of each step that I’m not covering in-depth? Let me know in the comments below and I’ll write a blog post to give more detail.