Most leads are not instant customers: They go through a process of researching, comparing and evaluating before agreeing to spend their money. This process is commonly called the purchase funnel or the sales funnel (whichever you prefer). Understanding the steps your leads go through will help you market properly so that you can convert as many of them into customers as possible. Here is a brief overview of what the sales funnel is and how it varies for B2B and B2C companies.
The Purchase Funnel Explained
In short, the purchase funnel is a simple way to visualize the complex process of garnering leads and converting them into paying customers. These are the steps of the sales funnel, starting at the wide opening where a large amount of people are “captured”, and working down to the close.
- Awareness – Before anyone can become a customer they have to know you exist. That’s where the funnel begins: people becoming aware of your company. This is usually accomplished through marketing campaigns; however, sometimes consumers will find you through their own research (and your SEO efforts, of course!).
- Interest – After leads have been gathered, they begin to do research and grow their interest in what you have to offer. In this stage of the sales funnel, brands should be developing relationships and building trust.
- Consideration – At this point, leads are very interested in your brand, but they still haven’t quite made up their mind. Automated email campaigns, free trials, and targeted content are great marketing tools to use during this stage.
- Intent – This is when a lead has almost made up their mind. They have expressed interest, and may have even placed an item into their shopping cart. Now it is your job not to let them get away.
- Evaluation – At the evaluation stage of the purchase funnel, customers are just about ready to commit, but they are doing one last comparison between you and your competition. This is when nurturing your customer is vital.
- Purchase – After making their way through the entire sales funnel, your lead has finally converted into a customer. Congratulations! If the experience is a positive one, you will now get referrals, who will then begin at the top of the purchase funnel.
Differences Between the Sales Funnel for B2B and B2C Brands
While the overall stages of the sales funnel stay the same, the big difference between B2B brands and B2C brands is how many people are involved in each step of the process. In B2C sales funnels, the purchaser is often the sole decision maker. They will sometimes talk to family or friends, but in general, they are making all the choices. Basically, you have one person to market to. On the contrary, in B2B brands, there is usually an entire team that you have to sell during every stage of the sales funnel. But the good news is, many B2B brands end with a contractual commitment instead of a one-time purchase.
If you want to learn how to make the most out of each stage of the purchase funnel, contact Zero Gravity Marketing today. Our team of experts is well versed in each stage and can help you convert your leads into paying customers.