What is a sales funnel?

And how can a CRM help you manage your sales pipeline?
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Imagine water flowing through a funnel. You can pour large quantities of water into the top of a funnel, but by design, only a small amount of water at a time will trickle out of the bottom of the funnel.

The same is true for a sales funnel. You might start out with a lot of leads, but not every person who visits your website, or goes to your store, is going to become a paying customer. The sales funnel helps us understand how people move from prospective to paying customers. And by paying attention to your sales funnel, you’ll end up with more sales overall.

What are the stages of a typical sales funnel?

Starting at the top of a funnel, we have the Awareness stage

The awareness stage is all about potential customers knowing your product exists. Let’s say, for example, that you sell furniture. If a customer knows your furniture store exists, but hasn’t done anything with that information, they are at the Awareness stage.

To move to the next stage, your product has to help the customer solve a problem

Using our furniture store example, a customer might be looking for a new couch. If they google “comfortable couches” and your website comes up, suddenly they enter the Interest stage. 

At this stage, you’re probably not the only company the customer is evaluating. And the customer isn’t even certain they’ll buy a new couch. But they’re considering making a purchase and your company has piqued their interest.

At the Decision stage, the customer has determined that they will make a purchase

They might still have a few different companies they’re comparing, but your company is in the mix and they have decided that they will buy something. For our furniture example, they’ve decided they are definitely going to buy a couch, but they haven’t selected the store they’re buying from yet.

Now comes the most exciting stage: the Action stage! 

Your prospective customer has taken action by buying your product. In our example furniture store, they’ve decided to buy one of your couches. Congratulations!

Now that we know what the stages are, how do we use this information? 

As a salesperson, you want to help prospective customers along this funnel so that you don’t lose them at an early stage. As many leads as possible should continue through the funnel all the way to the action stage. You’ll need something to help keep you organized so that potential customers don’t slip through the cracks. 

That is where a sales CRM software, or customer relationship management software, comes in. 

How can you use LACRM to manage your sales funnel?

While there are a variety of ways a sales CRM can help you as a salesperson, at Less Annoying CRM, we have a tool that makes it really easy to track where your leads are in the sales pipeline.

Rather than making your sales funnel a passive process, creating a Sales Pipeline can help you proactively make sales and see where each sales lead is in the funnel. You can use Less Annoying CRM (LACRM) to easily create, customize, and assign contacts to a particular sales pipeline.

For anyone who wants a sales CRM, LACRM has a pre-built sales pipeline template. You can also create your own customized pipeline template at any time.

The stages in the LACRM pipeline start with prospecting

Prospective customers are the people at the awareness stage in the sales funnel - they know your product exists. You can easily add leads to a “prospecting” pipeline on LACRM when you’re at this stage of gauging their interest.

Next, we arrive at the qualifying stage of the pipeline. 

At this stage, you’re considering how likely this prospective customer is to make a purchase. For our furniture store example, maybe you sell furniture geared towards apartment living and small spaces. If a college student comes in looking for furniture, they might be a perfect fit for your business. Whereas someone looking for an extra-large sectional is unlikely to find one at your store and wouldn’t be marked as a qualified lead.

Now let’s say you’ve found a lead who seems like a great fit - your next step here is to get a time set up with this potential customer to discuss your product, make your pitch, and hopefully make a sale. Add them to the appointment setting stage of your pipeline!

You’ve had your appointment with the potential customer by now and it went well! Now we arrive at the proposal sent stage of the sales pipeline. At this stage, you’ll quote the customer the cost of your item or service. For our furniture example, you’ve let the customer know how much the couch they’d like to purchase will cost them. Now you’re just waiting to see if they purchase your item or service!

If they say yes, congratulations! In LACRM, you can change their pipeline status to Sale won! Now you can easily keep track of how many sales you and your teammates are making. 

If the sale fell through, you can mark lost to keep track of the lost sales as well. Or maybe the customer needs time to think about it - you can click on hold to easily keep track of leads you need to reach out to again in the future.

Less Annoying CRM’s pipeline tool makes it really easy to keep track of all of your leads and customers. 

This particular pipeline template is one option, but your choices are limitless. You can add, delete, or change any of these pipeline statuses to create your own customizable pipeline template, based on how you close a sale 

Less Annoying CRM makes it easy to track where your leads are on the sales pipeline too. You’ll always have an easy-to-read graph available in your CRM workspace to see, at a glance, how sales are going. A pipeline report will be at your fingertips as well. 

Interested in seeing how this works with your sales team? Sign up for our free 30-day trial here (no credit card needed!)

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