Lead Generation and Sales Funnels: How the Two Are Connected

Young woman is sitting by a large bright bay window with pets and working on a laptop computer

This article was written by Michelle Weger.

As lead generation tools, sales funnels are absolutely critical. It is one of the most useful and necessary steps in eliminating guesswork in your marketing strategy. They provide easy-to-use tools for fine-tuning and monitoring your customers journey.

What is a Sales Funnel?

Your sales funnel is a roadmap of your customers’ journey. Understanding how it works means you can optimize it to convert potential customers into raving fans.

You’ve gone through countless sales funnels in your life. You’re likely even in the middle of one right now without knowing it.

If you’ve clicked on an ad you saw on social media, that’s part of a funnel.

If you signed up to get alerts when your favourite store restocks their products, that’s also a funnel strategy.

Even something as simple as visiting a website after doing a Google search for information is, you guessed it, part of a sales funnel. (Whether or not you actually buy anything is a different story)

Your customers are experiencing the same things when they’re on your website. From the second they hear about your business, they’ve entered the funnel. The trick is to move them seamlessly from top to bottom without losing them before the most important part: the purchase.

That being said, you do lose some customers along the way, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing. This saves you from investing valuable time and resources to show your products or services to people who either aren’t interested or aren’t the right fit. As your leads trickle from one level to the next, they’re more serious about buying, which means that you can focus your time and resources on leads who are more likely to convert.

In addition to showing you where to invest your energy, sales funnels can help you generate sales by:

  • Reaching the right people at the right time with the right content: If you understand the types of buyers who are engaging with your content, you can tailor your messages to those people so they’re getting personalized rather than generic content.
  • Creating more opportunities: An effective sales funnel will allow you to find places where you can strategically upsell or cross-sell.
  • Making the process easier: Your customers don’t want to have to work for their purchases. If you make it hard for them to buy, they’ll go to your competitors. If you can determine which area is slowing them down, you can eliminate the roadblocks and allow your leads to continue their journey to becoming raving fans.
  • Keeping track of important analytics: You can’t argue with facts, and the metrics you can gain from your sales funnel will help you determine where you need to improve.

If you think perfecting your sales funnel is another gimmicky marketing ploy created by companies to steal your hard earned money, think again.

Providing valuable content and a seamless transition between stages has big rewards. Consider that 87% of customers of B2B (business to business) companies said that the business they chose to work with provided plenty of content throughout every step of the funnel.

Still not convinced?

Those customers made purchases that were 47% larger than their counterparts.

Nurturing those important relationships at every step pays off. If you’re willing to do the work, you can reap the rewards.

Building an Effective Sales Funnel Helps With Customer Retention

Let’s say you run an ecommerce store that specializes in custom pet portraits. 

After careful analysis of your audience, you realize that most of your customers are between the ages of 20 and 75 and they spend most of their time on Youtube watching animal compilation videos.

You create an ad that is placed on Youtube. It’s designed to drive traffic to a landing page. On that page is information about your business that makes the customer feel like you’re talking directly to them. Customers are urged to get on your email list so they don’t miss an opportunity to get their custom pet portrait.

Now that you’ve captured their information, your potential customers move through the funnel. This is your chance to send them content that will keep them hooked, such as testimonials, a brief history, or fun facts about your business.

At some point, you can send out an exclusive discount code to customers who haven’t yet made a purchase to get them to take that final step.

Those customers who were on the fence about buying have now purchased from you and are ecstatic about their new purchase. This is where you can keep them coming back: add them to a new email list, but this time, expose them to new content. Give them ideas on where to hang their new artwork, or how to take care of it. If it’s around the holidays, you could create a holiday themed newsletter that showcases your product as an excellent gift for the pet lover in their life.

Next, you add those same customers to a new email list. You start the process over again, but with different content. Give them ideas for gallery walls, advise them about how to care for their signs, and suggest signs as gifts. You’re asking them to come back for more.

Track Your Conversion Rates to Help With Sales Funnel Management

You may notice that your customers are getting stuck at some stages of the funnel. This doesn’t mean it’s not working, it may simply mean that you need to make some tweaks.

If you really want to see how successful your sales funnel is, there are certain things you need to know:

  • How many people are signing up for your email list after clicking on an ad?
  • Are you grabbing your customers’ attention right off the bat?
  • Do existing customers continue to buy from you?

Optimizing All of the Stages of a Sales Funnel Until the Sale is Made (And After!)

Using marketing materials to draw customers in is a key part of the awareness stage. Making sure you do this part well involves getting your customers’ attention in as many ways as possible.

You can do this by:

  • Making a marketing plan and deciding how you want to advertise
  • Generating content that people want to share on social media
  • Optimizing your website for SEO to promote traffic through organic searches
  • Starting a blog based on your products and services and using it to promote solutions to any potential problems your customers may have

Now that customers know about you, it’s time to connect with your leads and create informative content that will drive them towards making a purchase. 

You may not see results right away; creating awareness can take days, weeks, or even months, but during this time, you can keep customers engaged with social media or email marketing that they’ll remember. In fact, strong, catchy email marketing is crucial for helping customers move from the awareness stage and into the interest and desire stages.

You can also give important pages – like product, about, FAQ, and other authority-establishing pages – an upgrade. Potential customers do most of their research at this stage, so it is imperative that you provide them with enough accurate information.

Once your customers have heard about you and done their research, they’ll move into the bottom of the funnel. Here is where you give them the last little push.

Having a stunning website is not the only important thing. Your website must also be optimized and easy to navigate. Functional landing pages with clear calls to action will help guide the customers to checkout, and give them the motivation they need to complete their purchase.

If they don’t complete their purchase, implement retargeting emails using automation to encourage people to complete their purchase. The emails can include reminders or discounts to nudge customers to complete the transaction.

Just because a customer completes a purchase doesn’t mean your job is done.

Now it is more important than ever to nurture that relationship and turn them from a customer to a raving fan. You can continue to engage with your customers by:

  • Encouraging past customers to buy again using newsletters
  • Accept customer feedback to improve your offering
  • Start a loyalty program to promote and reward repeated purchases and loyal customers
  • Engage with your audience using social media, forums, and live chat.

Are You Looking for an Effective Sales Funnel Builder?

Almost 70% of people who start the checkout process end up abandoning it.

Why? Because most ecommerce stores make it increasingly frustrating to check out. The journey from adding items to their cart to pressing “buy now” is littered with frivolous steps and questions that turn potential customers away.

But you don’t have to macgyver a solution on your own. There is software out there that can help you turn your existing WordPress website into the conversion machine of your dreams.

Our favourite is CartFlows.

This sales funnel builder will turn your WordPress website into the high converting machine of your dreams.

How?

With a series of features you won’t find in one place anywhere else, CartFlows is able to generate new leads and expand your sales exponentially. The features we find most helpful are:

  • Order bumps: These allow you to increase your store’s revenue by taking advantage of impulsive purchase behaviours.
  • One click upsells: Grow your average order value and urge customers to buy more
  • Checkout editor: Stop losing 70% of potential customers. Keep their attention with custom checkout forms that are simple so you can scale your store revenue.
  • Cart abandonment: Stop wasting valuable time trying to think of ways to get customers back. In just 10 minutes, you can begin recovering abandoned carts.
  • Insights: If you want to make the most of your sales funnel, you need to know what’s working and what’s not. The funnel insights tool will help you improve conversions so that you can offer better customer experiences, in turn, scaling your business faster than ever before.

How Do You Know if Your Sales Funnel is Effective?

Examining your funnel with a critical eye and making sure it’s as functional as it could and should be is extremely important. Remember: If your customers aren’t taking action, they’re not becoming leads.

Figuring out why they’re not taking action will help you build the effective funnel your business needs to thrive.

1. Examine Your Leads

If you don’t have prospective customers, your sales funnel is useless. Tracking where they’re coming from and how they move from one stage to the next will provide you with key information. The average website will convert 1–2% of its total visitors per month. If you notice that you’re not getting leads, you may need to do some work at the awareness stage.

2. Look At Your Conversion Rate

If your leads aren’t converting, you need to examine your conversion rate. This is the number of sales divided by the number of leads. It is important to know this because it will tell you what you need to reevaluate.

3. Understand Your Acquisition Cost

How much does it cost you to get one new customer?

Since all of the metrics used in measuring the efficacy of your funnel are centred around increasing revenue, you need to know your acquisition costs. This includes all of the money spent to acquire a new customer. You can determine this by dividing your total acquisition cost by the number of customers gained.

4. Determine How Long Your Customers are Spending in One Stage

An often overlooked metric is time.

How long is it taking your customers to move from one stage of the funnel to the next? Tracking your lead’s journey from their entry into the funnel until the payment is processed will help you determine if your team is processing sales efficiently. If there are slow spots, this could be a good opportunity to provide additional training or resources.

5. Calculate and Evaluate Your Total Revenue

One of the most important metrics to track when evaluating your funnel is the total revenue.

This one simple metric condenses your leads, conversions, and all of the other important funnel activity into one number. To get your total revenue, combine the revenue from the customer sales during the date range you’re analyzing. If that number is not where you want it to be, go back through the funnel again to determine why.

If You Want to Generate More Revenue, Improve Customer Relationships, and Consistently Improve Your Business Model, You Need a Better Sales Funnel.

What separates you from the revenue of your dreams is a great sales funnel that works as hard as you do.

Stop wasting valuable time on strategies that don’t work and instead invest in proven solutions to your biggest problems.

For ecommerce sales funnels that solution is CartFlows.

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Michelle Weger - RBC Women of Influence Nominee