The Main Sales Funnel Stages Explained

Sales Funnel StagesIf you are looking to increase your marketing and sales efforts, you must create sales funnels that effectively move customers through your sales process.

A successful sales funnel has four stages, and you need to understand each step and what it can help you achieve. Then, using this framework, you can identify and implement the best sequence to move as many prospects as possible through your funnel.

However,  creating a sales funnel that attracts a steady stream of customers can be a significant challenge.

A company’s sales funnel is its lifeblood, and knowing how to create and maintain each stage is critical. To help you get started here is a simple but effective process for creating your funnel stages.

What you will learn in this guide:

  • What are the sales funnel stages
  • What marketing strategies are in each stage
  • And so much more

So, let’s dive in!

What Are the Main Sales Funnel Stages?

In a typical sales funnel (that is based on the AIDA model), there are four stages (Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action) that prospective customers go through when they decide to buy something.

Sales Funnel Stages

These four stages show how to funnel consumers towards a purchase.

In some variants, the number of those stages may vary.

The sales funnel stages follow a hierarchy model.

The model’s original purpose was to explain how advertising and other marketing efforts captivate potential and existing customers.

Also, help them differentiate brands before they make a purchase.

The stages describe the number of tasks necessary to move a customer from the attention “awareness stage” through the sales cycle to the action of conversion.

Here’s how each stage of the sales funnel works:

  1. Attention – Attract the consumer’s attention to your product or service.
  2. Interest – Increase consumer interest in your product or service
  3. Desire – Make the consumer want your product or service.
  4. Action – Initiate an action for the consumer to buy your product or service.

Let’s look at each stage in more detail.

Sales Funnel Stage #1: Attention

The attention stage is the first phase of the buyer’s journey.

At this point, customers are drawn in through marketing campaigns carefully created through extensive consumer research.

What Is Attention in a Sales Funnel?

Attention Stage

Attention is the process of making potential customers aware of your business and the service or product your offer.

During the attention stage, it’s a common thing that prospective consumers have already identified a problem, they’re already trying to understand it, and are looking for possible solutions to solve it.

In the attention stage, your main goal should be to get attention from the potential consumer to your products or services that would help them solve their problems.

You need to explain to your audience why they should buy from you.

Prospects will convert to paying customers for your products and services when they understand the advantages.

Which Marketing Strategies Can Be Attributed to the Attention Stage?

To the attention stage can be attributed these marketing strategies:

  • TV commercials
  • SEO
  • PPC advertising
  • Video ads
  • Social media advertising
  • Word-of-mouth marketing
  • Content marketing
  • Affiliate marketing
  • And so much more…

Sales Funnel Stage #2: Interest

Interest Stage

The interest phase begins once leads are generated.

Here, customers learn more about your company, its services and products, and any useful information that might help customers decide.

What Is Interest in a Sales Funnel?

Interest is the process when a potential customer has already noticed your product or service, but there is still needed to generate interest in the benefits of your products or service, and sufficient interest to encourage the buyer to start to research further about it.

This phase aims to help the customer make an informed decision by feeding them with more information about your business.

In the interest phase, the customer is trying to learn more about the company, its products or services, and any other helpful information about it.

At this point, your main goal is to increase consumer interest levels in your product or service.

You can do this by creating a consistent brand voice and message that your target audience can relate to, and sharing it through various marketing channels.

Which Marketing Strategies Can Be Attributed to the Interest Stage?

Here are some of the marketing strategies that can be attributed to the interest stage:

  • Email Marketing
  • Chatbot marketing
  • Retargeting campaigns
  • Social Media accounts
  • Webinars
  • And so on

Sales Funnel Stage #3: Desire

Desire Step

The desire (in some cases it might be called decision) is the third stage of the sales funnel.

It is where you finally get the customer to decide whether to buy your product or service.

What Is Desire in a Sales Funnel?

Desire is when the consumer is already interested in your product or service and you’re trying to make them desire it, moving their mindset from “I like it” to “I want it.”

In this stage, the potential customers reach the point where they are persuaded to commit.

This is where they decide that they really want to be your customer.

Not only have you caught their attention and got them interested in your brand, but they’re also actually considering making a purchase.

At this point, your main goal should be to persuade a potential customer to want to own your product.

In most cases, they will need to get more information about your product. They’re going to be looking for how well your offer fits within their budget, their current business model, and what kind of outcomes they can expect.

Which Marketing Strategies Can Be Attributed to the Desire Stage?

The desire (decision) stage can be attributed to these marketing strategies:

  • Testimonials
  • Pricing
  • Detailed presentation of product features
  • Pricing pages
  • Product comparison pages
  • Reviews
  • Live demos and tutorials
  • Free trials
  • And so on

Sales Funnel Stage #4: Action

Action Stage

Action is the final of the buying process.

What Is Action in a Sales Funnel?

Action is the process when the prospect decides to take the action necessary to become a customer. The purchasing process should finally take place at this stage.

This phase usually occurs naturally if your prospects have been carried through the first three stages (Attention, Interest, and Desire) and responded to it appropriately.

After properly nurturing the prospect they should be ready to take action and buy your product or service.

It’s now time for the desire to translate into a purchase.

This is where you close the deal – and you want that to be a simple, straightforward process.

Which Marketing Strategies Can Be Attributed to the Action Stage?

  • Call-to-Action (CTA) buttons
  • Special offers
  • Follow-up email campaigns
  • And so on

Conclusion

Create a funnel based on your industry and the goals of your target audience after first identifying who they are.

For each stage of the funnel, create an effective promotional strategy that incorporates custom content.

You will significantly increase your overall conversion rate if you execute this process correctly. Also, a positive impact on your customer relationships.

References:

  • Lewis, E. St Elmo. “Side talks about advertising.” The Western Druggist 21.2 (1899): p. 65-66.
  • Lewis, E. St. Elmo. (1908) Financial Advertising, Indianapolis: Levey Bros. & Company. p. 124.
  • Duncan, Brendan Andrew, and Charles Peter Elkan. “Probabilistic modeling of a sales funnel to prioritize leads.” Proceedings of the 21th ACM SIGKDD international conference on knowledge discovery and data mining. 2015.
  • Rantanen, Ville. “MARKETING AND SALES FUNNEL IMPLEMENTED FOR A MARKET RESEARCH.” (2012).
  • the Mind Tools Content Team By the Mind Tools Content Team, Team, the M. T. C., wrote, B. T., & wrote, H. F. (n.d.). Aida: Attention-interest-desire-action: Inspiring action with your writing. From MindTools.com. Retrieved June 29, 2022, from https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/AIDA.htm
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