What is a sales funnel and how to develop it at a multilingual company?
Sales are the most important part of any business that wants to make money. The profitability of the business depends on its size. The paths that lead to closing the sales are equally as important, as well as any other post-transaction services. This is exactly a sales funnel, which, if developed correctly, can generate a significant increase in the revenue. What is a sales funnel and how to develop it at a multilingual company?
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What is a sales funnel?
According to the definition, a sales funnel covers all the processes through which you guide a potential customer to achieve the set goal, namely sales. Usually it consists of several stages, and their particular number differs depending on the adopted sales model. The most general classification is TOFU (short for top of the funnel), MOFU (middle of the funnel) and BOFU (bottom of the funnel).
What is the origin of the name ‘sales funnel’?
The use of the word ‘funnel’ comes from the number of recipients who go through a particular stage. TOFU has the most of them, which does not mean that every recipient will ultimately become your customer. The recipient will become one only after you guide them through the remaining stages of the sales funnel.
It’s best to portray this with an example of a website. Everyone who visits it goes to the TOFU stage. However, not every user will become your customer. First, the person browsing your website looks for information about your company and your offer, and this is called the MOFU stage. After deciding to make a purchase, they go to the bottom of the sales funnel, namely BOFU, which is when the website user becomes a customer.
There are less and less sales opportunities at each stage of the purchasing cycle. If you present this cycle in a graphical form, it will look like a funnel: TOFU will have the most people but their number will decrease while they follow the subsequent sales processes in MOFU and BOFU. That’s exactly where the name originated from.
Can there be more than one sales funnel?
It’s important to note that it’s a good idea to build more than just one sales funnel for better optimisation of all processes. This will make it possible to obtain specific information about where particular users come from, what processes convince them to make a purchase, and consequently, what needs to be improved so that the outflow of recipients at each stage of the funnel is as small as possible. Firstly, it’s worth to distinguish several sales funnels, and secondly, to analyse them in detail. Such an analysis will make it possible to choose processes that will enable you to create an effective purchasing cycle.
The AIDA concept in the sales funnel
One of the most popular funnel-building concepts is AIDA. The abbreviation is derived from four words: Awareness, Interest, Desire and Action. In fact, the name of each stage perfectly describes what goal is to be achieved. As part of ‘A’, the activities are intended to attract the attention of a potential customer to the offer. Then, the customer should be interested in the properties of the product (I), feel the desire to use it (D), to finally generate a call to action, e.g. purchase (A).
The AIDA concept can be useful in many business processes. It works well in creating websites and developing sales funnels. This model can be applied to the entire sales cycle as well as to the creation of the individual tunnel stages. It’s important to understand each element of AIDA as this will make it possible for you to effectively implement it in all activities in the area of marketing and sales.
How to develop a sales funnel?
You can develop a sales funnel that operates well using the AIDA concept. A separate issue is to think which of its elements should be included in which stage. It is also worth considering carefully what goal of the funnel you intend to achieve, as well as the industry you operate in. It will be different if you offer consulting services and completely different in the case of an e-shop.
An example of a sales funnel for consulting services
For better understanding of how the sales funnel works, let’s use an example of marketing consulting services. The first step is to choose the specific service you want to promote. Let’s assume that this is a training course regarding a company account on Facebook. Your main goal is to sell the course, but for this to be possible, your future clients must find out about your offer first.
‘A’ like attracting attention
Creatives whose task is to attract the attention of the recipient and encourage them to learn about the properties of the product are the most effective ones. You can achieve this goal through attractive ads on Facebook, etc. All kinds of free content that provides professional knowledge that you offer for free, such as an ebook, also works very well. Regardless of what exactly you promote, the advertising creative itself is already an activity under the first “A” in AIDA.
‘I’ like the interest in product properties
Keep in mind that whatever is found under “I” will depend on where the ads are directed. If you decide to run a lead magnet campaign like offering a free ebook for download in exchange for an email address, you need to attract the attention of the recipient with properties of the ebook itself and the issues it addresses. When deciding to promote a course for managing a Facebook account, you need to focus on the benefits and features of such a course. In both cases, the fact that the recipient must be interested in what you offer remains the same. Otherwise, it is highly probable that at this stage they will give up exploring your offer further.
‘D’ like generating desire
Let’s assume that you attracted the recipient’s interest in your offer. Now it’s time to implement ‘D’, being the desire. What does this actually mean in practice? Let’s focus again on the ebook mentioned above. If you want the recipient to download it and leave their email address, you have to make them feel the desire to do so. Present the benefits coming from reading the ebook. However, if you sell a Facebook course, show the recipient the specific business benefits that one can gain from it. Illustrate it using graphs showing the increasing revenues, etc.
‘A’ like call to action
If the recipient already feels the desire to try out your offer, it’s time to move on to the final ‘A’, namely the call to action. From a structural point of view, it is the shortest part of the entire cycle. In the case of a landing page, it is usually a short headline and a button with a clear message showing what will happen when the user clicks on it. The most important feature of this element is the briefness and clarity of the message. The recipient needs to know exactly what to expect when they click the button.
Who or what is a lead?
A good and effective sales funnel often comes down to acquiring leads. What or who is it? A popular definition of this term is quite clear: a sales lead is a consumer, an individual or a company that is potentially interested in your offer. When it comes to online marketing, these are all users who have provided their data to you. Generally speaking, sales leads can be divided into three groups:
1. Hot – leads that are very much interested in your offer and show an immediate tendency to buy it.
2. Warm – leads that are interested in your offer, but do not want to buy it at a particular moment.
3. Cold – leads that are not interested in your offer at a particular moment, but can do so in an undefined future.
It is very important to classify all the contacts you have acquired as a result of your lead magnet campaign. First of all, because due to this you will find out which of the leads you need to warm up and which of them need to be shown an advertisement for closing the sale. There is one thing you need to keep in mind: each lead category has to go through a different sales funnel. Let’s go back to the example of marketing consulting services. Hot leads can be directed straight to the funnel where there is a call to action to buy the course. Cold leads still need to be warmed up. The easiest way to achieve this is through a campaign whose goal will be either to generate interest in running a company page on Facebook or the desire to run such a Facebook page.
Segmentation of sales leads in a multilingual company
Proper classification of sales leads does not only involve the need to determine which of them can make a purchase quickly. When running a multilingual company, you should remember to segment them according to the languages spoken by the leads. Ultimately, different recipients from different countries will react to ad creatives in varied ways. This is very important for communication as well as for creation of marketing content.
Such segmentation should be done at the time of designing a lead magnet campaign. Supposedly, our company operates in Poland, Germany, Denmark and Spain. If you want to acquire sales leads from those markets, you have to prepare a separate lead magnet campaign for each of them. Moreover, a simple 1:1 marketing translation will often not be enough. Each message in the sales funnel must be adapted to the culture of a given country. In some cases, you will even need to redesign your entire sales funnels to match the needs of the target country. Keep in mind that if something works in country X, it won’t necessarily work in country Y. This is why you should consider individual sales funnels for each country where you offer your products or services.
What is a sales funnel and how to develop it?
To conclude, a sales funnel covers all the activities that are necessary to achieve the primary business goal, i.e. sales. In practice, very different solutions are used, such as collecting sales leads through lead magnet campaigns, advertising creatives that are intended to reach a specific audience, or generate the desire to make an immediate purchase. An effective sales funnel must be properly designed, which means that its focus on achieving a specific goal needs to be planned thoroughly. It is also important to have a comprehensive approach to this aspect, by making the appropriate segmentation and classification of leads from the start of the campaign. Undoubtedly, sales funnels are an integral part of modern marketing strategies. They enable methodical treatment of all marketing and sales processes, guiding the customer from the moment of getting to know the brand to the final purchase. However, it is worth noting what a sales funnel actually is and how to develop it effectively. This is the only way in which you will achieve the measurable benefits of using it.