What is a sales funnel and how do you build one?

What is a sales funnel?

Our customers have individual needs, find us in a variety of places, have their own questions, and take very different journeys to their final purchase decision. We can’t just have one smooth slide for everyone to jump into. Every audience segment needs its own carefully created route.

Sounds complicated, doesn’t it? Thankfully, there’s the perfect tool for the job – a sales funnel builder. This is a digital platform or tool that helps you create, manage and optimise your different sales funnels. They guide your different audience segments during their path to purchase, with personalised interactions at each stage. Sales funnels also deliver a goldmine of data insights that inform business-critical decisions. 

Oiling the engine, decanting wine, filling the sugar bowl, pouring homemade jam into a jar – all of these jobs have the same aim, don’t spill a single drop. Your precision tool for not losing a single business lead? A sales funnel. 

Let’s get into how to create a successful sales funnel and how the right sales funnel builder scaffolds that process. 

How do you create a sales funnel?

Your marketing funnel isn’t for you – it’s for your customers. You need to put them front and centre of each stage of your sales funnel development. 

And because you don’t have just one type of customer, you need to create multiple bespoke pathways to address all their slightly different needs, wants and problems.

There are different types of sales funnels that are better suited for different industries. But, at the construction stage, each of them involve these 6 steps. 

1. Research and planning

You lay the foundations of successful sales funnels by investing time in research and careful planning. 

Market research

You need to meet your potential customers where they are, understand their problems and aims, and how they make purchasing decisions. 

The best way to do this? Ask them! You can use surveys, focus groups, interviews and quizzes to find out what your customers really think. 

Don’t just find out the biggest problem your product or service solves, discover how your clients rank the importance of each feature. If you’re deciding which new product to take into production, make sure there’s a good product-market fit before you even start development. 

Whether you’re B2C selling a simple product straight off the shelf to individual shoppers, or a B2B with a complex service you need to explain to a team of buyers, market research is crucial. It even gives you the opportunity to see how your audiences talk about your offering, so you can use the same language to convince them you’re the best option.

Competitor analysis

You also need a grasp of where you sit in the wider market and how you compare to existing competitors. Taking a wide view of the buyers’ landscape means you know exactly where you need to position helpful signposts to your product or service. 

Competitor analysis also gives you the granular details that can really showcase your points of difference – get the spotlight on what you do better than anyone else! 

What’s your sales goal?

Your overarching business goals give clear context for every element of your organisation’s purpose. Each sales funnel needs to be driven by the same clarity. 

Before you get into anything else you need to define exactly what you’re trying to achieve. Whether that’s lead generation or increased conversions, a specific measurable goal is key. 

2. Creating content and marketing touchpoints

Elias St Elmo Lewis developed the concept of the customer journey during his advertising career that spanned the late 19th and early 20th century. Imagine what he’d make of our digital marketing landscape today! 

His thinking evolved to become what’s still known and used today as the AIDA marketing model. Customers move through four distinct steps to a sale: Attention, Interest, Desire and Action. And, to Lewis, it’s the job of advertisers to create this whole journey. 

We might call them by slightly different names, perhaps add stages, and have multiple departments working together on delivering the sale – but the principles of each stage remain the same. 

Here’s our take on each stage and how you best capture your audience at each touchpoint.

Awareness (Attention) stage

Prospects’ questions at this stage are: Who are you? What is it? You can’t buy from a company you don’t know about. Your audiences need to know who your organisation is and what you’re offering. 

How to grab your audience’s attention:

  • Content like videos, infographics, blogs, social media posts – attracting the attention of your audiences wherever they are online
  • Apply SEO expertise and paid ads to drive traffic to you 

Interest stage

At this stage, your prospects are interested in your offering. They like it and want to know more before making a decision. 

How to create interest from your audience:

  • Content that contains more value, with more detail about your product or service to engage your audience at a deeper level. Things like webinars, newsletters, or e-books provide the answers to all their questions before they even think them (if your market research is good enough!).

Decision (Desire) stage

‘You’re the one that I want!’ They may not be singing it, but your prospects have definitely moved towards feeling it at this point. Now you just need to take care of any of those last-minute niggles that are a barrier to action. At this point, your content is all about eliminating doubt.

How to get your audience to make a decision: 

  • Case studies and testimonials as evidence to build trust 
  • ‘Free trial: no credit card needed’ removes that back-of-mind potential annoyance 
  • Demos literally show prospects how your product or service solves their problem

Action stage

The decision has been made, I’m buying it. Excellent news! Now to make this last part of the journey as smooth as possible. 

How to make your audience take action:

  • CTAs that only point in one direction – the checkout
  • Sales pages with one focus and emotive language to make the final connection
  • Exclusive offers to make them feel special and seal the deal. For example, ‘Buy today and…’, also adding a bit of strategic jeopardy

3. Building the funnel structure

All of this theory makes complete sense. But what do you actually need to build the funnel and how do you put it together in the right order? 

You start with your aim. One distinct thing that you want your audience to do. Then you lay the path. It sounds incredibly simple, but it’s tempting to meander off and end up distracting prospects with all the other things you’re excited about. 

Each marketing funnel needs to be mapped out from beginning to end, before launch. Whatever you’re selling, whoever you’re targeting, you need some combination of these main elements for every sales funnel.

  • Landing Page: A landing page is a standalone web page for one campaign and it focuses your audience’s attention on one specific offer. It takes initial interest and converts it into sales by concisely highlighting the benefits of one offer. There are no distracting menus or interlinks – just whatever you want your visitors to do. You can choose from different types of landing pages, to best suit your business and offering, but all of them need to stick to one clear CTA. 
  • Lead magnet: What’s the deal? What are you giving your visitors in exchange for their information? This might be a traditional ebook, downloadable resource, or email subscription. Or you might go for something even more engaging like a personalised quiz – which gives them an immediately actionable assessment and a goldmine of information. It’s the quality of the lead magnet that will determine how attractive it is to your users.  
  • Conversion optimisation: You won’t always get things right the first time. And that’s OK – as long as you’re in an experimenting mindset. Continuously testing the different elements of your funnel helps you get granular with the metrics and, as a result, makes those little tweaks that boost conversion rates. Use methods like A/B testing on everything – CTA button colours, headlines, fonts, images, and messaging. Every detail counts. 
  • Email campaigns: Figure out how you’re going to continue the conversation with your visitors. And write the emails that follow up each stage of the funnel at the start. Literally,’ If they do this, we’re going to say this.’ This ensures that you don’t accidentally lose any warm leads by not following up in the right way, at the right time. You can automate these email sequences so that, once written, the legwork is done. Apart from the tracking and testing, and more tracking and more testing!

4. Integration of tools and technology

This is where the right tools can make light work of a previously labour-intensive set of tasks.  Look at the tech you’re already using and see how you can use it as part of your sales funnel management. 

  • CRM system: Your CRM system will keep track of leads and customer interactions efficiently, even at high volume. 
  • Analytics: Sophisticated analytics tools measure the performance of different sections of your sales funnel – so if you spring a prospects leak, you can easily identify and fix it. Data-driven insights about user behaviour give you the edge over your competition and powerful evidence for organisation-wide decisions. 
  • Automation: Your marketing department can spend a lot less time sending emails, posting on social media and other important but repetitive tasks. The right technology automates all these actions while keeping you firmly in control of output. 

5. Launch and manage your sales funnel

Pre-launch testing must rigorously examine every part of each sales funnel, to make sure there’s no stickiness, missing links, or other bumps in your customer’s smooth path to purchase. Once you’re happy that the whole thing works seamlessly, get that campaign started! Tell everyone, everywhere – there’s no point crafting the perfect landing page if you don’t get it in front of the right people. 

As traffic starts to arrive, Roman emperor voice – “Let the measuring begin!” 

  • Testing: Before the full launch, rigorously test each part of the funnel to ensure everything works seamlessly.
  • Launch: Roll out your funnel and start your campaigns to drive traffic.
  • Monitoring and Optimisation: Continuously monitor the performance and make adjustments based on data insights. Optimise the funnel to improve conversion rates and reduce costs.

6. Post-purchase engagement

Many marketers add a ‘customer relationship’ final step to their sales funnel. This makes complete sense – you don’t just want someone to buy once and disappear, You retain that customer by maintaining a good relationship with them. Building this into your sales funnel can take different forms:

  • Follow-up emails: Thank-you letters, extra product tips, invitations to subscribe to extra content that helps them squeeze every last drop of value from their purchase. 
  • Feedback surveys: Seeing this post-purchase side from your client’s perspective is just as important as finding out how they feel about your brand. Quick surveys are a traditional way to collect feedback, so you can boost your strengths and rectify any weaknesses they spot. 

What’s included in a typical sales funnel builder?

To simplify and streamline the creation and management of your customer journeys, sales funnel builders typically include these features: 

  • Lead capture forms: Different types of forms that help you collect visitors’ contact information. This can be something as simple as a contact form asking for their name and email address. Or a more multi-purpose asset, like an interactive quiz, that offers a personalised reward to prospects and helps qualify your leads with more information. 
  • A/B testing: Try out different versions of landing pages and emails to figure out which messaging and design resonates best with your audience segments. 
  • Analytics and reporting: Built-in tools to measure key metrics give you invaluable information that you can use to tweak your funnels to maximise conversions. 
  • CRM integration: You want your full tech stack to play nicely together, so you need your sales funnel builder to sync with your CRM. Keep your data and customer tracking smooth. 
  • Payment systems: Integration with payment processing systems means that your customers can easily complete their purchases inside the sales funnel. 

You can get help with your sales funnel management by using software that streamlines the whole process. Tools like ClickFunnels, Karta and Leadpages help you target and qualify your ideal customers by optimising engagement at each stage of their journey. You need to carefully consider which sales funnel builder best fits your business needs.

Create high-performing sales funnels with ScoreApp

The main question you’re left with is. ‘Which sales funnel builder is best for my business?’ You need to consider the complexity of your customer journey, which varies depending on your industry, organisation size, and the behaviour patterns of your ideal customers. 

ScoreApp gives you everything you need to build successful sales funnels in one place:

  • Landing page templates
  • Engaging lead magnets, like personalised quizzes and waitlists
  • Automated email marketing – with templates for different funnel stages
  • Integration with your CRM and payment system
  • All the testing, metrics and analytics capabilities you need to optimise your sales funnel 

Try ScoreApp for free to see if it’s the right fit for creating awesome sales funnels for your business. 

About the author
Jamie Page
Tagged Topics

Smarter Leads.
Smarter Conversations

Get more leads, more data and more sales with ScoreApp
  • Try For Free
  • AI Quiz Builder included
  • Cancel anytime