Dictionary definition of a funnel: a tube or pipe that is wide at the top and narrow at the bottom, used for guiding liquid or powder into a small opening.
Imagine a funnel that guides your customers, rather than liquid or powder. At the wide opening there will be lots of potential customers. As the process goes on, and the conditions are satisfied (or not) people will drop out until you narrow it down the ones that will make a purchase.
If you’re selling a corporate software solution your sales funnel will be very different to somebody selling chocolate bars. A long, carefully thought through decision likely involving many individuals over a few months compared to an instant purchase by one person requires a very different approach.
Which is why it’s important to think about your sales funnel. In other words, the process your buyer goes through in order to reach the point of sale.
You might need more than one funnel
For instance, if you’re selling chocolate bars, you may be thinking about the end user as well as the retailers. Or you might have several different types of chocolate bar e.g. quick snack vs luxury treat. It would be confusing to try and cover that in one sales funnel.
Start off by thinking about your customer. Who are they? What do they do? Where do they live?
Next, think about where and when they are likely to need your product or service as a solution. How will they find you? Who else is offering similar or alternative solutions?
What requirements does the customer have? Can you clearly demonstrate that you can provide the right answer? What are the determining factors that the customer will use to make a decision?
Where do they get the information? How easy is it?
How long does the process take?
Who is involved in making the decision? Have you presented the information appropriately?
By asking yourself lots of questions about each stage from the customer’s perspective, you can lead your customer down the funnel from that initial realisation that they need a solution to the final sale.