If you’re studying business – marketing specifically – you can tell how confusing English literature can be. What does business have to do with English? The answer? Words. Similar looking words can refer to entirely different concepts in business and especially in Marketing.
Marketing and Sales are two such words. And today, we’ll take a closer look at their funnels.
At one point, Marketing was all about selling a product to a customer- but over time – the definition has grown much more complicated. Sales are more of a financial issue as it measures the performance of a company to a great degree. The main goal of any business is generating sales, thereby, profits. We’ll learn more about these two activities shortly.
What Is A Funnel?
Physically – funnels are wide-mouthed and a narrow-ended objects – similar to an inverted pyramid. In the business world, funneling is the process of converting prospects into customers. Can you guess which departments are in charge of doing that? Bingo – marketing and sales.
What Is A Marketing Funnel?
Let’s see what marketing means today. It’s the process of understanding what’s valuable to potential customers, creating value, communicating it and finally providing it. So, there are a ton of value-addition in the process.
In a funnel, the Marketing team does the job of informing people in general (not just the target market) about the product or service. There are markets far and wide to preach the value of your products and services.
That said, it is the market that mainly needs this value (if chosen right) who moves to the next phase of the funnel….
… which is… the interest phase. After seeing advertisements on the media potential customers tend to get interested to see how their problems can be solved and what will it cost them. In this step, the marketing people’s job is to show the potential customers what the product / service can do for them, as clearly as possible.
Potential customers should have all the information they want. After that, the prospect moves to the ‘Consideration’ phase of the funnel. As the name suggests, here the prospect considers purchasing your product / service. They might be considering the price and their budget. They might even be freeing space for the object.
After that, comes the ‘Evaluation’ phase. Here, they check out and consider offers from competitors as well – disloyal but truth – a lot like dating people and deciding who you want to give a shot.
And finally, they go through the ‘Purchase’ phase. Here’s where one can tell how the marketing and sales funnel are different. From this point, sales team deal with the purchase transaction.
What Is A Sales Funnel?
Now – you’ve got an interested buyer roaming your website, or even stores considering buying your offer. All he needs is a bit encouragement and push. At this point, the marketing team stops and the sales force comes in.
The sales team strives to give customers an experience so lovely, he comes back for more. A sales funnel comprises the following steps –
Capitalize on the Confusion: The visitor is aware of the product, wants to buy it, but can’t decide for sure. The sales team persuades them into a decision by giving more insights and proof about the offer.
He will check and recheck the price, color, type, and quality of the product. The salesperson assures them every step of it. They also offer more similar type products to help the customer decide. If something is lacking in the first product they saw – others may make up for it.
Narrow down the choice: Following perfect arrangements based on price, or labels and accurate descriptions – the sales team can help customers narrow down the choice, taking you one step further towards decision making.
Purchase: While this happens to be the final step in the Marketing Funnel, it’s the second last in Sales. The customer finally buys the product as the sales people successfully persuade them.
The buying process should be effortless. For example, the information required should be well-protected. The payment procedure must be easy and secure. Finally, the product must be delivered to the customer in perfect condition.
Building loyalty: When someone turns into a customer – you want to make them loyal. Suggesting similar products, a bundle, a discount, and such will help strengthen your relationship. This is an important part of the sales funnel – providing great after-sales service, similar to warranty.
Marketing Funnel Vs Sales Funnel: Where They Differ
While the difference is hard to pinpoint – it’s still there.
One is a part of another: As mentioned, the sales funnel is the bottom part of the marketing funnel. Once the marketing team creates big awareness, the product creates interest. From there, the sales team takes over to guide the interested buyers through the sales process. The sales team even strives to not let the interest fade.
What’s more, potential buyers rarely reach the sales phase without perfect marketing techniques. So, marketing and sales, both work as integral supplements of each other.
The context of usage: While they both are used for very similar purposes, there’s one more difference. The Marketing funnel aims to convert as many people into potential buyers. On the other hand, the sales funnel focuses on all the potential buyers and try to convert each to customers first and loyal customers next.
The Techniques Used: While the Marketing funnel focuses on every aspect, from creation to delivery, sales funnel focuses on a narrower segment – which mainly involved the moments before purchase, during purchase and right after purchase.
The marketing team uses techniques to inform as many people as it can, by using techniques like advertising.
On the other hand, the sales team mainly focuses on making the buying process informative, easy, and attractive. In fact, they strive to make the buying process so smooth, the customers are eager to return and buy more.
The Technology Used
What Marketers use: Marketers can’t do well without utilizing technology in this 21st century. About all successful ad campaigns use the Internet and other software to get results.
Starting from email, social media platform to dedicated complex software that track people, purchases, visits, and so forth, marketers use it all. There are tools for prospecting, outreaching, mapping, and so forth. Almost anything can be done through technology.
What the Salespeople Use: The salespeople tend to use websites, user-friendly devices, and methods to keep customers. A good system for taking orders, accuracy and reliability, and much more come in.
It also uses various Customer Relationship management software. These things send offers and information to the customers automatically.
Besides that, measuring performance in the sales funnel is crucial. Conversion rates – from prospects to customers – are important. The software can easily calculate these metrics and guide you towards success. It can help you pinpoint the number of customers you need to increase to reach your target sales.
There’s no doubt both the sales and marketing funnel are very similar. The activities even overlap at times. However, there’s a very thin line between the two. It is important to understand this thin line to incorporate the best strategies to deal with them both.
While Google and even books can consider sales and marketing funnels the same – you now know they’re not and why. Both of them are essential, so get laser-focused on making them both stellar.