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Your Business Needs an Effective Sales Funnel, Now More than Ever 

By  Benjamin McCullough

Today’s marketplace is rapidly changing. From downturns to ever-increasing competition, and even unprecedented economic shutdowns, connecting and engaging with your most valuable customers is crucial to the growth of your business.

The problem is keeping up with the latest digital marketing trends can be overwhelming, and mistakes can be very costly both in terms of time and your financial investment.

The good news is, sales funnels are a proven marketing tactic designed to connect you with your ideal customers. This article will walk you through what you need to know in order to set up an effective sales funnel for your business today.

What is a Sales Funnel?

If you’ve been in business for very long, you’ve probably heard the term “sales funnel” thrown around when talking about how to increase awareness and sales for your business. But what is a sales funnel?

Simply put, a sales funnel is the multi-step process you follow to convert potential customers into actual customers. Much like an actual funnel which is very wide at the top and very narrow at the bottom, a sales funnel is designed to attract a wide range of potential customers at the top in order to convert your prospects into buyers.

sales funnels are a multi-step process you follow to convert potential customers into actual customers

Not every contact that enters the top of the funnel will become customers. Still, a sales funnel allows you to continue to nurture your prospects over time, increasing your ability to convert more leads to sales.

While there are always those individuals that are prone to “impulse buying,” the reality is that most consumers need time to think about and evaluate their purchase decisions before pulling the trigger and making a commitment.

Successful sales funnels are designed to:

  • Create curiosity about your products and services
  • Build engagement with your prospects
  • Drive the process forward in order to create new sales

Sales funnels are unique to your business. For example, consumer-focused sales funnels are typically shorter and less complicated while, most B2B sales funnels are more complex and require more touches, as they have longer sales cycles

That said, the core components of a successful sales funnel are the same regardless of your industry, products, and services, and size of your organization.

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Why do I need a Sales Funnel?

In today’s current climate of uncertainty and a rapidly changing marketplace, getting out in front of your most ideal customers is critical to the survival and growth of your business.

Creating an effective sales funnel is a critical component in achieving this goal.

A good sales funnel…

  • is an automated approach, so it continues to work for you with little effort on your part once it’s set up
  • pre-qualifies your leads
  • nurtures your leads, warming them up and driving them toward commitment
  • is a tool your business can’t afford to live without

Will a Sales Funnel work for my business?

I don’t know how many times I’ve been told by clients that while they know other companies have been successful turning their website into a lead-generating sales funnel, that this approach just won’t work for their specific business. “Our product is too complex,” they say. “Our sales cycles are too long, and there are too many decision-makers involved.”
 
I understand this all too well, as I once held the same views.
 
While these objections might mean that their sales funnels may take more effort to create, I have come to be a believer that any business can turn their websites into effective lead-generating sales funnels provided they include the necessary elements.
 

Is it hard to build an effective Sales Funnel?

Building an effective sales funnel is not extremely difficult. Still, it does require some knowledge of how to set up and configure websites – or you can enlist the help of a skilled marketing professional.

The following is a list of the core components you will need to create a simple, yet effective sales funnel:

  • A lead generating PDF – this should be an article that solves a specific problem for your customers, and should be relevant to the products and services you offer. This lead magnet should provide value by providing actionable solutions to a common problem facing your ideal customer.
  • Opt-in forms – Your website should include opt-in forms that allow visitors to receive your lead magnet in exchange for their email address.
  • Opt-in landing page – Additionally, you want to create a webpage that is specifically designed for the sole purpose of getting visitors to opt-in in exchange for your lead magnet. This page should only include content about your lead magnet and an opt-in form. Share the link to this page on social media, include it in your email signature, put it on your business cards. The goal is to push traffic to this page to get more leads.
  • Integration with your Email Service Provider (ESP) – You will need to connect your opt-in forms to your ESP (MailChimp, ActiveCampaign, ConstantContact, etc.)
  • Automated email campaign – Finally, you will need to set up an automated email campaign in your ESP consisting of a mixture of nurture and sales emails.

Sample Sales Funnel Diagram

How do I build a successful Sales Funnel for my business?

From creating curiosity with a compelling lead magnet, increasing engagement with your nurture emails, or presenting your leads with a direct call to action in your sales emails, there are several vital components that are necessary to ensure an effective sales funnel.

Sales Funnel - Cast a Wide Net

Create Curiosity to Generate Leads

The top of the funnel is the widest part, so to get as many potential leads into your funnel, you need to create a compelling lead magnet that will generate curiosity. People only engage once they become curious, so if your opt-in offer is generic or does not offer any obvious value, your prospects are going to move on.

Your lead magnet should:

  • Address a specific problem your target customers have
  • Be relevant to your products or services
  • Add value by providing solutions to this problem
  • Be clear and easy to understand
  • Have a compelling title that generates curiosity
  • Be more than a generic newsletter

Sales Funnel - Nurture Your Leads

Nurture Your Leads

You may have heard the commonly quoted sales statistic that it takes at least eight connections with a prospect to make a sale. I think that number is low, but it hopefully illustrates the point that you are rarely going to close a deal with the first email you send out. This is why the nurture phase of the sales funnel is so important and is a great way to keep your prospects engaged until they are ready to make a purchase.

So now that your lead magnet has generated curiosity and you have started to attract leads, it’s time to grow trust and increase engagement. You do this by sending value-based emails through an automated email campaign.

Nurture emails should:

  • Provide a solution to a problem
  • Give value to your subscribers
  • Position you as an expert and trusted advisor
  • Subtlety remind subscribers your product and services can solve their problems

Sales Funnel - Call them to Action

Call to Action

As you start to build engagement with your nurture emails, it’s time to mix it up a bit by including some sales emails in your campaign. While nurture emails are all about providing value, sales emails should directly reference your products and services and present your leads with a direct call to action.

There is no need to be timid here. If you have been providing value and presenting clear solutions to your lead’s problems in your nurture emails, by the time you send out your sales email, they will be primed and ready.

A sales email should:

  • Outline a problem your leads are facing (starting to see a theme here)
  • Position your product or service as the solution
  • Be specific by only focusing on one product or service per sales email
  • Present a direct call to action; something they need to either accept or reject
  • Create a sense of urgency with a limited time offer

Close the Deal

So now that your sales funnel is set up to automatically generate new leads, nurture your prospects, and calling them to action, it is time for you to focus on closing the deal.

Key Takeaways

  • In today’s rapidly changing marketplace your business needs an effective sales funnel to grow and survive
  • A sales funnel is a multi-step process you follow to convert potential customers into actual customers
  • Successful sales funnels are designed to create curiosity about your products and services, build engagement with your prospects, and drive the process forward to develop new sales
  • Any business can turn their websites into effective lead-generating sales funnels

Benjamin McCullough


Many small businesses and entrepreneurs face challenges when it comes to marketing their business. Today’s digital marketing can make you feel overwhelmed, and mistakes and bad marketing decisions can be very costly. I believe that amazing organizations deserve amazing marketing. As a StoryBrand Certified Guide, I help businesses cut through the clutter by providing a clear and actionable roadmap that maximizes their digital marketing investment.

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