What Exactly IS a Sales Funnel or Marketing Funnel?

marketing sales funnel

One of the most common marketing questions we hear is “what is a sales funnel“; or sometimes the question is ‘what exactly is a marketing funnel?’  There’s so much information available online that it gets confusing, yet the one thing people hear is that you need one, even if you don’t know what it is.

You know what? You already have a sales funnel.  You just may want to automate a few of the pieces, so let’s talk about that.

Entrepreneurs have had sales funnels since the beginning of time.  It may be, or have been, something as simple as making notes on a calendar, or on index cards in a kind of “tickler” system. Or perhaps some people just keep the information in their head, along the lines of “I talked to Mike today and need to remember to follow up with him next week”.

Those sales funnels include all of the steps and follow-ups that you do with a prospect to provide them more information, answer their questions, and overcome their objections.

You’re already doing this in your business in one form or fashion – you just may not be calling it a “sales funnel”.

marketing sales funnel

We hear those terms sales funnel and marketing funnel more commonly today in digital marketing because of the ability to automate so many pieces of the sales funnel online.

Automation is a great way that you can make sure things don’t slip through the cracks and you miss following up with a really hot prospect.  Yet everything in your sales funnel likely should NOT be automated – depending upon what type of product or service you offer, there may be places along the flow of moving a prospect to a closed transaction where you need personal, one-on-one, manual contact.  That still leaves plenty of places where you can automate a lot of the process, which also frees up some of your time to do more of the personal side of the sales.

You can use things such as a CRM system (our favorite is Dubsado because of the unlimited automated workflows it allows) and email responders to set up some automated workflows that can trigger all types of follow-up messaging.

At it’s very basic, a sales funnel includes:

  1. A way to make people aware of your offer or business
  2. A way to collect contact information from them
  3. A way to follow up with them regularly to provide the information they will need to become a customer, and
  4. A way for them to pay you for your product or service.
  5. Plus of course ongoing nurturing or contact after they are a paying customer.

Like I said, you are already doing this every day in your business even if you had not put a name to it.

We have a quick training course: How to Set Up a Basic and High-Converting Marketing Funnel, that walks you through each stage of a modern sales funnel or marketing funnel so that you understand the types of communication you can and should have at each stage, what pieces make the most sense for you to automate, and the places where we see businesses miss most often that ends up in them leaving money sitting on the table.

This course is usually $49, but for a limited time you can use the promo code PODCAST and you can access for only $5.  Why $5?  Because my last name is Wu, which is also the number 5 in Taiwanese.

And as always, if you have a marketing question, you can comment down below, or use the chat bubble on our website, and we will try to answer your question directly or we may answer in an upcoming article.

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