In digital marketing, your task is to find customers and lead them all the way through the sales funnel stages.
Luckily, there are plenty of tools on the market to help you along the way.
In this article, I’ll go over a few of my favorites.
The Sales Funnel Stages:
- Stage 1: Awareness
- Stage 2: Interest
- Stage 3: Evaluation
- Stage 4: Engagement
- Stage 5: Commitment/Purchase
A sales funnel is a step-by-step process involving some combination of advertising, blogging, social media outreach, email campaigns, conversion rate optimization (CRO), search engine optimization (SEO), retargeting, copywriting, SMS marketing, split-testing, and/or a variety of other possible strategies.
Complicated? You bet.
But luckily, we have the tools to guide us.
Even better: many of those tools are designed for specific points in each funnel stage.
Sales Funnel Stage 1: Awareness
After determining goals and building personas, it’s time to start marketing.
Here are a few ways to build awareness:
- Social media posts and promotions
- Guest posting/blogging
- Whitepapers and webinars
Before you can sell anything, you need to make people aware of your product or service. The good news is that there are plenty of sales funnel tools to help you get the word out about your brand.
SEMRush – No digital marketing effort is complete without SEO. That’s why SEMRush is so valuable. It offers competitive intelligence, keyword research, backlink analysis, anchor text reports, and traffic analytics.
Ahrefs – Another great tool for SEO is Ahrefs. In addition to keyword and domain analytics, Ahrefs also includes a content explorer that lets you quickly discover the most popular content online. Then, you can incorporate this new knowledge into your sales funnel steps and produce similar content that will attract customers to your site.
Buffer – Social media marketing is an important way to help people discover your brand. Buffer saves you some time by enabling you to post updates to multiple social media channels all at once. Also, you can submit a number of updates at the same time and schedule them to post throughout the day so that you don’t annoy your followers with multiple updates that appear in rapid succession.
Hootsuite – Hootsuite is an alternative to Buffer. It offers a few more bells and whistles, but doesn’t let you play for free (permanently, anyway). If you’re planning on using social media marketing as an integral part of your online efforts and you need the absolute best service possible, you should probably fork over the cash for Hootsuite. It helps to simplify the marketing stages and frees up your valuable time.
LeadCrunch – “Imagine if you could reach the right person at the right company with the right message at the right time to find a new customer?” That’s the opening question in the marketing video on the LeadCrunch website. The company uses a sophisticated algorithm to help you find people in your target market. As of this writing, though, it’s meant for companies in the B2B space.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator – If you’re in the B2B space, then hopefully you’re actively marketing your brand on LinkedIn. With the LinkedIn Sales Navigator, you can take marketing on that social media site to the next level by finding lead recommendations that are tailor-fit to your business. It makes navigating through your sales funnel much easier.
Datanyze – If you’re running a high-tech business in the B2B space, then Datanyze might just be what you’re looking for. The company maintains a list of businesses that use exactly the type of technology that you’re selling. With Datanyze, you can get a list of those companies and begin your cold-calling efforts.
Growbots – If you’re looking for a high-quality outbound sales solution, you should absolutely evaluate Growbots. According to one online testimony, using Growbots is as simple as setting up a customer profile, creating a must-read email with a clickbait headline, and then launching your campaign. It’s a bit pricey, though. The service starts at $500/month billed annually. However, when you think of a typical sales funnel, catchy emails probably comes to mind first. So, if you’re serious about utilizing sales funnel stages to your advantage, Growbots is worth the price.
Pitchbox – Pitchbox is a great all-around outbound email platform. We use it often for influencer marketing and link building, but it can be used for all kinds of purposes.
BreakthroughEmail – This awesome tool helps you target high quality leads to help you pick the customers. BreakthroughEmail also takes the hassle and stress out of sending cold emails to those customers.
Sales Funnel Stage 2: Interest
Once people have learned about your brand, they’re likely to take an interest in it.
At this point, you’ve hooked the fish, but you haven’t yet reeled it in – which makes it one of the most important stages in the sales funnel.
During this stage, you’ll want to focus on the following types of content:
Here are some sales funnel tools that you can use to prevent the big fish from getting away.
Unbounce – Once you get prospects to your website, the last thing you want is for them to bounce away from it, hence the name Unbounce. The company helps you produce landing pages that will keep visitors on your site and, eventually, transform them into paying customers.
CrazyEgg – Ever wonder how people use your site? If so, then you should visit CrazyEgg to view heatmaps that show where people are clicking on your various pages. Armed with that information, you can optimize your site for maximum conversions.
Visual Website Optimizer – As a smart marketer, you already know that it’s important to test different versions of your website design to see which one works best. That’s why Visual Website Optimizer is so valuable. It uses heatmaps to show you which design elements on your site are getting the most attention. VWO also enables you to receive feedback from visitors so that you can see exactly which parts of your site need improvement and which parts are working well. This is a critical sales funnel step that can help you pinpoint any problem areas on your site and even expedite your company’s growth.
Optimizely – How would you like to use the same tool to optimize your site that was used by Disney and The New York Times? You can do that with Optimizely. The tool allows you to “experiment broadly across the entire customer experience, on any channel, any device, and any application.”
FullStory – If you’d like to know exactly what each of your visitors are doing once they visit your website, then FullStory is for you. The service literally records how people navigate around your site and provides videos that you can watch later. This can help make the “Interest” sales funnel stage much easier to gauge.
HelloBar – Looking to transform visitors into contacts? Then maybe you should consider using HelloBar. It’s a simple sticky bar that enables website visitors to enter their email address so that you can contact them later. There’s a branded free version of the tool as well as an unbranded paid version.
Intercom Acquire – Ever visit a website and notice a happy face in the lower, right-hand corner next to a message like: “I’m Sadie! Can I help you with anything?” That’s a marketing chat system run by a company like Intercom. When people hit your landing page, you can use Intercom’s Acquire service to answer any questions that might not be answered on your web page.
Leadformly – When someone lands on your site, you want to capture their contact information. For that, you need a state-of-the-art contact form. Fortunately, Leadformly is here to offer you pre-optimized form templates that include more than 50 best practices used to boost conversion rates. Snagging their email during this stage is critical to building a useful email list to use in later funnel stages.
LeadForensics – Even if you incorporate a sophisticated lead capture form using Leadformly, there will always be leads that slip through the cracks. LeadForensics lives up to its name by capturing the IP address of your anonymous visitors and uses that address to determine important information about the visitor, such as contact information, demographics, and financial data.
Sumo– This is a great tool for email capture, CRO and visitor analysis.
Instapage – Instapage allows you to create landing pages at lightning-fast speeds with their large library of customizable templates. This tool also allows you to create fast-loading AMP landing pages which reduces bounce rates and increases conversions. The platform also provides post-click optimization for campaigns that send out a personalized thank you page and email. This is a useful sales funnel step for later on in the process.
Sales Funnel Stage 3: Evaluation
At this funnel stage, people are taking a very keen interest in your product or service. You’ve almost closed the sale, but you’re not quite there yet. Aim for some of these content types to really reel in your customers:
- Pricing pages
- Case studies
- Discount/promo codes
- Live demos or tutorials
- Product comparisons
Let’s look at some sales funnel tools to help you reach that goal when customers are in this stage.
Animoto – A great way to convince reluctant prospects that you’ve got a great product or service is with the magic of video. Animoto enables you to make high-quality videos in a snap. Then, you can use the video as a marketing tool to help you lead people further down the funnel.
Jing – If you’re running a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) business, you might want to show people how to use your service with software that records your screen. Jing lets you share short videos of your online activity and is great to add to your marketing funnel stage.
Wyzowl – Another tool that helps you put a tutorial in video format is Wyzowl. Whether you’d like to create animated explainer videos, mobile app demo videos, or web videos, Wyzowl has a solution that you can use.
Freshdesk – It’s often the case that during the free trial phase of the sales cycle, people will have questions about your product or service. That’s why you need a help desk solution like Freshdesk. It’s a great service that helps you deliver outstanding customer service to people who are on the brink of making a purchase.
FunnelCRM – Never let a customer get away again. FunnelCRM provides everything you need from capturing customer information to the follow-up and management of customer information.
Sellsy – Sellsy is an all-in-one software that helps you prospect effectively and track your customers through all the sales funnel stages.
Sales Funnel Stage 4: Engagement
At this point, you’ve made contact with your prospect. You’re ever so close to making the sale, but still not quite there.
Since this is the “action” stage, be sure to utilize the following:
- Insider or customer success stories
- Special offers
- Bundled packages
- Follow up email campaigns
Here are some sales funnel tools to help you build a positive relationship with prospective customers.
AWeber – It’s often the case that you’ll let people try your service for free or for a limited time. Of course, as a good marketer, you’ll ask for their email in exchange for the free trial membership. Once you’ve got that email, you’ll need an autoresponder like AWeber to keep in contact with them. AWeber makes it easy to email contacts en masse and also tracks analytics about individual email campaigns. If AWeber doesn’t suit your fancy, have a look at competing tools such as MailChimp and GetResponse. Any of these will work well and keep your prospects engaged.
GoToWebinar – You’ve got a list of prospects, but how do you prove to them that you’re knowledgeable in your field? One way to do that is with a webinar. GoToWebinar is a valuable tool to help you cultivate an improved relationship with people who were once on the receiving end of a cold call. The tool makes it a snap to set up and host your own webinar that will ultimately boost your brand and help you reach the final funnel stages with success.
Salesforce – It’s arguably the case that the “go-to” tool for managing people who are stuck somewhere in the middle of the sales funnel is Salesforce. Of course, once you’ve said “Salesforce,” you haven’t said everything because the company offers a suite of marketing tools. At this stage, though, you’re mainly interested in the Salesforce CRM tool so that you can keep track of your prospects and gently push them forward into the final funnel stage.
Insightly – If you’re running a startup that doesn’t have a whole lot of seed money, you might need a more affordable alternative to Salesforce. For that, consider Insightly. It’s an excellent CRM solution that helps you seal the deal with your contacts without draining your bank account.
Zoho – Another company that offers a suite of tools for engagement purposes is Zoho. It’s a comprehensive solution that includes CRM, customer surveys, email marketing, online meetings, and even business process optimization to help make the final sales stages go more smoothly.
Heyo – One of the best ways to engage with your prospects is by running a contest. Heyo lets you do that without much effort. The good news about running a contest is that it not only keeps you engaged with existing prospects but also helps cultivate new leads. So this tool could work at multiple points in the sales funnel.
Sales Funnel Stage 5: Commitment/Purchase
And now we’re at the point where money changes hands. That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?
Keep your customers motivated to come back with:
- Referral programs
- Upsell campaigns
- Re-engagement email campaigns
Here are some sales funnel tools that will make it easier to put cash in your bank account.
Flagship Merchant Services – If you’re going to conduct transactions online, you’ll need the assistance of a credit card processor. Flagship Merchant Services is considered by many to be one of the best in the business. It’s used by some big names, including Subway, Avon, and Verizon for the final transaction.
PayPal – You want to make it as easy as possible for people to pay you, right? That’s why you should enlist the aid of PayPal. Set up a business account and enable your customers to pay with money out of their own PayPal accounts. It’s one of the easiest ways to generate income online and finalize the last sales funnel step.
WooCommerce – How would you like to integrate a robust shopping cart solution with a platform that makes content marketing really easy? With WooCommerce, you get the best of both worlds: an e-commerce solution that sits right on top of WordPress, the world’s most popular content management system.
Stripe – Stripe is a complete payment platform for online businesses. In addition to making sure payments are completed quickly and securely, Stripe’s platform is geared towards building and scaling your business.
How do I create a sales funnel?
There are a few steps you can take to create an efficient sales funnel:
1. Familiarize yourself with your audience.
Understand your audience pain points, their expectations, and everything else relating to their needs.
This gives you vital information for business positioning, finding your target audience, and addressing their needs.
2. Establish buyer personas.
Discover why your audience wants your product, how it will be used, and their needs to buy a product.
3. Strategize traffic and lead generation.
Find a way to create brand awareness for your product. Find ways to create traffic and interest to your page and product.
This may include guest posting, CRO, landing page optimization, PPC campaign, and more.
4. Once you have traffic find ways to engage users
Now that you’ve built more awareness you want to keep their attention you’re going to need to inform them about the value of the product.
This can be accomplished through creating interesting and relevant content, social media promotion, emailing perspective customers, and reaching out to influencers to promote your product further.
5. Focus on lead conversion.
Now that you have developed most of the funnel you want to encourage visitors to buy the product or sign up for the service.
This can be accomplished by making the final sale as simple, painless, and quick as possible.
Why do I need a sales funnel?
Sales funnels are, essentially, an automated sale making machine when done right.
They lend consistency and a hands off approach which can also allow you to measure and test results.
You can do this by seeing what steps of the sales funnel process seem to be working and which do not.
The best sales funnels build consumer trust and business authority. Two of the main keys for creating a thriving business,
With this information, you can craft the perfect sales strategy with the right tools to make it as easy as possible.
Get started now and rake in those new customers.