The 7 Sales Funnel Stages [Plus the 1 You’re Missing]
How Does a Sales Funnel Work?
Whether you’re familiar with sales or not, you know there is a process that takes place in turning a lead who has no prior experience with a brand into a converting customer. This process is called a sales funnel. As you probably guessed it, there are multiple sales funnel stages, each implementing different tactics that will take the lead onto the next stage of the funnel, getting closer to a sale.
As a lead progresses through the sales funnel stages, he or she learns more about the company and its services and products. Good businesses know what type of sales and marketing collateral as well as the appropriate verbiage of those pieces of collateral are best for each part of the sales funnel to get leads onto the next stage.
In some companies the prospective customers are referred by different names as they go through the sales funnel stages. They are commonly referred to as leads while towards the top of the funnel. In the middle of the sales funnel they are often called prospects and at the bottom when they make a purchase, they are called customers or clients. Other companies go a step further, coming up with additional names for leads in more specific stages of their sales funnel template including: suspect, prospect, qualified prospect, committed prospect and transacted customer or client.
What are the Stages of the Sales Funnel?
How many stages are in a sales funnel and how long does it take for a lead to become a customer? The answer to both these questions depends on your company. Most sales funnel templates include a top, middle and bottom of the funnel, comprising of 5-7 stages. The duration it takes for a potential customer to become a paying customer will depend on your industry, product and services as well as who your audience is.
Whether you’re new to sales or want to establish an organized, well-run sales department at your company, it helps to come up with a sales funnel template. You can get a pre-made sales template or you can make your own with as many or as few stages as is needed for your business and buyers. To help you get started, here is a basic breakdown of a seven-stage sales funnel:
Stage 1: Awareness
This is the broadest, uppermost top part of the sales funnel where leads have their first interaction with your brand, services or products. These leads don’t know anything about your company and what you offer.
Stage 2: Interest
At this stage, a person may spend some time exploring all the pages of your business website, trying to learn as much about who your company is and its products and services as possible. They likely will dive into the details of all your products and services, read your blog and read reviews from past customers.
Stage 3: Evaluation
At this point in the sales funnel, a lead may contact your customer service or sales person to get a quote and ask specific questions about one’s products or services. That same lead will also research and contact competitors as well and ask about their products or services.
Stage 4: Decision and Negotiation
At this point, the lead decides to purchase a product or service from your company. This is the stage where negotiations take place until a price and terms of service are agreed upon by both parties and a contract is made.
Stage 5: Sale
At this sales funnel stage, the sale is made whereby products and services are exchanged for payment.
Stage 6: Renewal
Most sales contracts are made to cover a defined amount of time. Depending on the service, product or industry, sales agreements can last anywhere from a month to multiple years.
When a customer’s contract comes to expiring, the customer must make the decision to renew their contract with your company or leave and work with another company.
Stage 7: Repurchase
Should the customer or client decide to renew their contract with your company, new terms, conditions and updated payment will need to be re-negotiated and agreed upon. The customer would then re-purchase their contract with the company.
Again, some companies may combine or skip any of the abovementioned stages to best fit their business’ sale cycle.
While this may seem like a complete, thorough process in getting a passive lead to become a converting, paying customer, there is one key sales funnel stage that is missing.
The Stage You’re Missing: Revive Dead Leads
No matter how well your lead generation CMS or your sales cycle and funnel processes are, there is apt to be some leads that stall within the sales cycle. These are called dead leads. These types of leads can be found at any of the sales funnel stages.
Many companies, however, disregard these dead leads a lost cause. While some dead leads are truly people who aren’t interested in your products or services or who don’t need them, there are others who may be still be interested in what your business has to offer, especially if they get stuck in the middle or later stages of the sales funnel.
How do you identify these dead leads? One way is to re-sift leads that have fallen beyond the funnel by re-connecting with them in a way that is personal and which encourages engagement and interaction.
There are many reasons why leads can become dead including wrong timing, busyness and the sales communication going to a non-decisionmaker within a company. The longer the time goes by without interaction with your brand and the further out of the sales funnel a dead lead is the more likely the lead will forget about the company and he or she would have to be brought in again through the top of the sales funnel.
Aktify is a platform and service that revives dead leads for companies, resulting in possibly missed sales had the leads been ignored. We can help you learn where and why there are dead leads in your sales funnel and provide multiple forms of engaging outreach to dead leads such as multiple phone calls, text messages and emails, setting up appointments and even giving prospects free stuff such as event tickets.
With Aktify, you can develop a well-oiled sales funnel that also includes the often excluded, yet important stage of reviving dead leads.
To learn more about our products and services and to find out how much your company can benefit from reviving dead leads, contact us today.