Do You Need a Sales Funnel AND a Corporate Website? (Yes!)
- Sales funnels are for every kind of business. Even the big and well-established ones.
- Sales funnels follow and nurture the path taken by leads and customers from initially learning about your company to eventually making a purchase.
- Optimising your sales funnel means you can re-engage tired leads and attract new prospects automatically. Once you’ve done the work, the funnels work for you.
- Sales funnels help businesses of all sizes grow to new heights.
You were really proud of your website when it was finished: it’s well-designed, portrays your company values correctly, and gains the trust of new visitors. What’s not to love?
Your corporate business’s website is essential for showcasing your brand and its values, selling to customers, and reaching a global audience.
Well… we’re here to tell you that your corporate website isn’t everything.
If you want to accelerate your growth, attract new customers on autopilot, and re-engage tired leads effectively, you’re going to need a sales funnel too.
In this article, we’ll go into more detail about how sales funnels can help corporations and large businesses and why it’s better to develop a funnel than solely relying on a website for increasing sales.
Sales funnels in digital marketing
The first ever sales funnel can be tracked back to 1898, when Elias St. Elmo Lewis conceived the earliest formal theory of marketing. He laid out the fundamental principles (Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action) that still form our modern sales funnels today.
Elias Lewis, though, could not have prepared for the phenomenon of the World Wide Web. No longer can business owners stand in marketplaces and shout about their products, nor can they rely on leafleting alone to generate interest.
The modern sales funnel has had to adapt to digital marketing.
In digital marketing, it’s essential for businesses to establish a direct line to their customers’ computers and phones. Sales funnels create this contact by persuading internet users to sign up for mailing lists and click on CTAs. Furthermore, funnels can be built in a way that adapts to individuals’ digital behaviour – such as when they’re most likely to read promotional emails or how long they take to consider an online purchase.
Instead of shouting about your products in busy marketplaces, a sales funnel can do the work for you. And with thorough planning, you can work out exactly when’s the best time to turn up to the “marketplace” and what to shout to the passer-byers.
Importance of sales funnels
Sure, a well-made website can gain the trust and interest of visitors. It can inform them of your company’s values, educate them about your products, and encourage purchases with pop-ups detailing coupon codes. However, did you know that 96% of site visitors aren’t ready to make a purchase?
That’s why it’s essential that you have some way of reaching out and nurturing them. With sales funnels, you can reconnect with site visitors and nurture them with more information about your business, special deals, and reminders to shop with you.
Of course, you must obtain visitor email addresses first, but websites alone cannot re-establish this necessary contact as sales funnels can. Nor can they guarantee visitors will return.
Sales funnels can be extremely powerful in increasing your average order value since nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than those that haven’t been nurtured.
The benefits of sales funnels go beyond average order value. You might already have a sales funnel in place, but you don’t feel like you’re maximising its potential. Read on to learn what else you can gain from using a sales funnel to its fullest extent:
Benefits of using sales funnels
1. Attract new prospective clients and customers
Business sales funnels need and begin with content. By producing more blogs, articles, social media posts, videos, infographics, reels, tools, how-to guides, and any other forms of digital content, you put your brand out there for a larger audience to find.
While some businesses believe sales funnels are there to convert leads, they’re also great for attracting them in the first place. A large part of your sales funnel efforts will be answering target audience pain points in your online content, which will attract more prospective customers.
Plus, you’ll have to put the appropriate landing pages and CTAs in place to acquire leads who might otherwise just be passing through. Sales funnels will catch these stragglers and put them in direct contact with your brand – thus, you have a larger pool of leads to work with.
2. Streamline and automate your processes
Marketing is a huge field: you could go for paid advertising, long-form content marketing, social media marketing, or SEO marketing – among others.
Having a sales funnel in place means your efforts can stay focused. Laying out the required actions to acquire and convert leads is a huge part of creating a sales funnel. When these are stated clearly, your marketing team will be much more focused and effective.
Once you’ve perfected your sales funnel and you’ve got email flows in place, it can essentially run on autopilot. You’ll only need to tweak it when your analytics data highlights an area in need of improvement.
3. Identify better quality leads
Not every lead turns into a customer, so you don’t want to waste valuable time and effort on chasing low-quality leads.
After operating for some time, you’ll have enough data on your leads to be able to track their actions, decisions, and progression through your funnel in real-time. Once you’ve achieved this, it becomes a lot easier to identify which leads are worth pursuing and which opportunities have the greatest chance of success.
4. Results become more measurable and predictable
For leads to advance through your sales funnel, they’ll need to perform specific actions that qualify them for subsequent stages. E.g., signing up for a mailing list, clicking on a link in an email or blog post, or adding an item to their basket.
Since their progression through your funnel depends on the completion of each specific step, you can monitor the performance of your funnel very easily. The very nature of a sales or marketing funnel means that weak links can be very apparent – and, therefore, quicker to solve.
For instance, if a large number of people were opening your emails but never clicking on the links within, there could be an issue with the email design or the persuasiveness of your copy.
In this case, you would isolate specific variables and change them one at a time. One campaign could have a different design, and another could be written in a new style. If there’s a change in the performance of either email – you’ll get your answer.
As your data set grows, your performance tracking will only become more accurate. This kind of performance analysis can’t be done with just a website – as visitors don’t have to leave their details. Building a mailing list means each and every user’s behaviour can be analysed for the good of your marketing efforts.
For instance, once you have a reliable figure for the percentage of leads that is likely to drop off the funnel (which is data that could take several months to gather), you’ll know how many leads you need to attract at the top of your funnel in order to generate the desired number of sales at the bottom of it.
5. Increase in conversions
Sales funnels are all about learning about your leads and prospects. Once you understand their journey and behaviours, you can convert a greater number of leads.
Your leads will also want to learn about your company – so building an understanding goes both ways. Allow your leads to learn about your company values – not just through the content you show to them, but through your email behaviour. Leads will not trust a company that spams them every day with promotional emails – they’ll just be annoyed.
Conversion rate increases with sales funnels because of the increased number of interactions users have with your brand. Plus, the highly insightful analytics data gleaned from sales funnels means that you can constantly improve the areas causing leads to lose interest.
What are the stages of sales funnels?
Sales funnels (or marketing funnels) symbolise the path a customer takes from initially learning about your business to eventually making a purchase. Different models list differing numbers of stages. Sometimes there are three, four, or five. In their most basic form, we can see three distinct phases:
- Initial interest – learning about your business or showing non-committal interest
- Consideration – defined your product/service as a potential solution to their issue
- Action – highly qualified leads ready to purchase
These stages are sometimes known as ToFu (top of the funnel), MoFu (middle of the funnel), and BoFu (bottom of the funnel), and they follow the same order.
You might be wondering about the fourth and fifth stages. These are essentially sub-categories of those listed above, which provide a deeper level of detail about leads and their level of interest. The two stages some businesses include are “Awareness” and “Desire.”
If we were to include all five stages in a sales funnel, it would look like this:
- Initial Interest
Some marketers use “Awareness” to be ultra-specific about their leads and where they lie on the “Interest” scale. Making this distinction is understandable as not everyone who’s aware of your business is necessarily interested in what it sells – therefore, a different engagement method is needed.
For instance, prospects in the “Awareness” phase might just need to be educated about your product – especially if it’s very niche. On the other hand, “Interested” leads might just need a discount code to nudge them towards more serious “Consideration.”
Marketers will include “Desire” as a phase for when leads add items to their baskets but abandon their carts.
This kind of lead wouldn’t qualify for the “Action” phase as they haven’t completed a sale, and they’re engaging a little more than others in the “Consideration” phase. Defining this
phase, therefore, can help with addressing abandoned carts and nurturing leads at different “Consideration” levels.
The level of detail you include in your sales funnel is entirely up to you. If you have a large marketing team, it might be better for you to include all five stages so that you can use the most accurate engagement techniques possible.
Nevertheless, in our experience, three funnel stages will definitely suffice in most cases.
How do I write a sales funnel for my business?
To kickstart your sales funnel strategy, there are a few things you’ll need to consider:
- How does your target audience access your type of business?
- What are their pain points?
- What do your leads need to know (or have) to make a purchase?
The answers to these three questions will help you in the following ways:
- Working out what types of content you’ll create to generate interest.
- What your content will say.
- The methods you’ll use to re-engage your leads.
Make sure you spend a long time considering these three questions. An extremely personalised sales funnel will always be the most effective. Once you’ve done that, you can get started on creating your sales funnel:
1. Create content leading to that landing page:
To get users to visit your landing page (see below), you’re going to need some kind of content that leads them there.
The type of content you choose will depend on your answer to question 1 above. Do they consume blogs and articles? If so, what platform do they use? Do they prefer Instagram or TikTok?
Whatever type you choose, your content should target pain points and offer your business as the solution. Then, you’ll need to put a CTA at the end of this content – to lead them to your landing page.
If your business is unique or difficult to understand, your content may need to have an emphasis on educating its readers. This is particularly true of tech companies or those with innovative products.
2. Create a landing page:
This page should be designed to get users’ contact details. Asking them to leave their email addresses is crucial – how else do you expect to contact them in the future?
3. Nurture your leads:
Nurturing leads may include educating them further about your product or telling them more about your business. For instance, an eco-warrior target audience will love to know that you plant a tree with every online purchase.
Emailing them with links to your YouTube channel or Instagram page can help them with their consideration – as they can follow these links to learn more about your business by themselves.
4. Send an offer they can’t refuse:
If leads haven’t made a purchase already, this stage is likely to require a discount code.
Remember to set up an email flow for abandoned carts – this will catch all those leads who very almost qualified for the “Action” stage.
5. Continue the re-engagement process:
You can turn those first-time buyers into returning customers with effective re-engagement marketing. These efforts can still be a part of your sales funnel process; all you need to do is develop high-quality email flows.
Make sure to tell your mailing list about new or updated products. Plus, you can personalise your product recommendations based on their previous order/s.
Be careful not to overload your mailing list. There are many email marketing mistakes you can make that will cause you to lose some customers forever.
6. Keep improving your funnel:
Monitoring the performance of any marketing efforts is essential if your business is to improve, become more effective, and keep those sales figures high. Even if you’ve got the most effective sales funnel in the world, times and styles change. So, there’ll always come a time when it needs a makeover.
Keep working to improve your funnel so that those rewards keep rolling in.
A B2B sales funnel won’t differ much from a B2C sales funnel – it might just be that B2B funnels will be a little longer, as a whole team is likely to be involved in the purchasing decision.
Why do you need a sales funnel AND a corporate website?
Your website still has a crucial role to play – particularly your blog. 55% of companies say blog posts and informative articles are the most effective thing when moving leads through a sales funnel. So, there’s no doubt that your website is extremely valuable. However, the rewards brought by an effective sales funnel cannot be underestimated.
These two elements, when working together, can produce extremely positive results for your business.
If you need help with your corporate website or the development of a sales funnel – don’t hesitate to get in touch. With 17 years of experience, this is what we do best.