What the heck is a sales funnel? - Think Like a Fish

What the heck is a sales funnel?

Well, that’s one of the questions I’ve received from somebody who is just trying to understand what the heck a sales funnel is. 

Because maybe you’ve heard this term handed around all over the place and you’re trying to understand what it is and whether it can work for your business or if it’s worth looking at?

This blog post is to try and give you the definition about what I would describe as a sales funnel which may well be a little bit different to some of the other things that you’ve seen out there but this is how I look at it.

So the question is what the heck is a sales funnel? Essentially, a sales funnel is a system in your business.

I talk a lot about systems. I’m probably a little bit obsessed with them. Probably had to do with my own ADHD, dealing with systems in my own life. Without it, I’d be a little bit of a disaster.

Systems are how you get things done in a consistent predictable way.

Almost every large business is run by systems and not the owner. You don’t get Richard Branson answering customer service calls, do you? It’s a way of allowing you to systemise and duplicate your efforts. It allows you to scale so that you don’t actually have to be there.

Basically, doing everything. You don’t have to send every single email. You don’t have to make every single call, you don’t have to put every single article in front of you, when you’re going to read it, all those kind of things. It allows you to create leverage.

One vital system that you would need in in any business is a sales and/or marketing system. And that’s what I feel that people generally refer to as a as a funnel. I don’t believe a funnel is the nuts and bolts of it. It’s not part of the funnel. It’s not in the landing pages, and the graphics, and the videos, and the follow up emails, and all those kind of things. A lot of people think it is.

What I describe as a sales funnel is, it’s the is strategically designed guided journey that you take somebody through on the process for them to make a buying decision for your company.

It’s how you take someone down that path. From never hearing about you, maybe not even being aware of the problem that you solve, and not being aware that they have that problem to being educated along that way and knowing, liking and trusting you to a point where they actually are in a position to make a decision to buy something from you.

I always sort of say from a sales and marketing perspective, your system or funnel needs three major components:

  1. It needs a way of consistently generating leads.
  2. It needs a way of consistently and predictably turning a certain amount of those leads into sales and new client.
  3. What many people don’t necessarily think of as part of the funnel is what happens after the sale. It’s how you maximise the value of that relationship.

This third point is by increasing sales from things like up-sells and cross sales, as well as maximising the value in other things like generating assets for your business, testimonials, and case studies. The other thing that everybody loves, and that’s referrals.

It’s how that all fits in to a funnel or a system that actually works throughout that process.

Ultimately really, when you systematise all of this, it’s a little bit like having the best member of staff you’ve ever had. They never call in sick, you don’t have to pay tax and national insurance and all that kind of stuff, and they never sleep, They run 24 seven.

It’s kind of like having a half a million pound marketing department in your business for the price of a cleaner.

And that’s why a marketing system, as I believe, opposed to a funnel, is something that every business should have.

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Adam King