A sales funnel or also known as the marketing funnel or purchase funnel is a visual representation of a buyer's journey. Sales and marketing suites in CRM cover the levels of engagement of every prospect as they are transformed into paying customers. These levels are visually depicted in the form of horizontal layers in the shape of a funnel.
Every stage in the funnel propels the prospects closer to making a purchase. With a well-planned sales funnel, a business can take defined actions and persuade prospects from one stage to the next effortlessly.
The different levels of engagement have an AIDA-esque flow. Marketers make changes to the layers or add new ones to suit their business model. The AIDA funnel is as follows:
The marketing funnel that shadows the AIDA model was developed by American advertiser E. St. Elmo Lewis in 1898.
The old-school tactics such as flyers, billboards, posters, print ads, networking and word of mouth dominated the marketing scene. By the 20th century, we began to incorporate broadcast advertising, telesales, and digital advertising.
How digital marketing has revolutionised the sales funnel?
Old school methods for reaching customers were impersonal and they were made for a wide demographic. Flyers were given to everyone and promptly got discarded by most of the people.
Today, the campaigns are made with the demographics and the psychographics of the target audience. There is no space for guesswork or assumptions. Cold, hard data is used to understand the customer psyche and behaviour to send emails, promotional offers, posts on social media and even the landing pages of a website.
This information is a huge head start for the business as they can send lucrative offers to prospects and convince them to go through the sales funnel.
Marketers are not afraid to take risks due to digital marketing. In the past, a huge budget was set aside to conjure the mass interest of the audience. Companies were hesitant to take a different approach as they were a huge gamble that they could not afford. Even expensive campaigns with months of research efforts failed in the past.
But with the social media platforms that bring global connectivity, companies leverage analytics to try new promo ideas that are quite inexpensive. Campaigns are far more creative with A/B testing to gauge their efficacy. With the marketing automation suite by Optimiser, companies can send bulk emails to segmented customers and keep them engaged.
Sales and marketing have worked separately in the past. But in recent years, data has shown that combined efforts of the departments can develop a brand reputation and customer loyalty. This is extremely important as the AIDA-like sales funnel completely oversees the after-sales process that can cultivate both brand advocacy and loyalty.
The marketing team maintains a stream of sales-qualified leads. The sales department receives leads that have been warmed up with the prospects' data to tailor their experience.
Digital marketing has blurred the lines between the two departments and compelled them to work together.
Optimiser CRM for sales funnel optimisation
Accelerate your business growth with Optimiser CRM solution providers. The intuitive platform allows you to gather key details of our prospects from the sales funnel and keep them stored on one platform. Provide a personalised experience to each customer as they travel through the sales pipeline to become customers. Accurate monitoring of all leads allows efficient data retrieval and synchronisation between the sales and the marketing teams.
Your business will be able to achieve more and conserve resources in the process. Working as a unit, you will be able to maintain productivity within the departments, a healthy ROI and set more ambitious KPIs.
The AIDA model has served as a paradigm to gain new customers through effective sales and marketing strategies. But in the modern world, the attention span is very sparse. There are a large number of options in the market and unrestricted access to information. Lewis' funnel proposes that attention already exists in the market, therefore it is not completely accurate for today's age. Additionally, the AIDA model does not consider what happens in the post-sale stage.
While AIDA has lingered since the Victorian era and has had a lasting impact, there is a need to reimagine the marketing funnel as the customers demand quality products as well as a unique purchasing experience.