Your marketing funnel is a model for the flow of your business. You've probably seen all of the acronyms and models out there. Here are just a few:
Attention ➡️ Interest ➡️ Desire ➡️ Action
Acquisition ➡️ Activation ➡️ Retention ➡️ Referral ➡️ Revenue
Eyeballs ➡️ Action ➡️ Sales ➡️ Loyalty
👄 KISS: "Keep it Simple Stupid"
Visit ➡️ Sale
Here's the problem. None of these are any good if they are theoretical. No matter what stages of the funnel you decide to use, there are critical characteristics that will determine if your funnel will be a powerful tool or just a talking point.
Each stage should have an objective action that defines moving into that stage. A form is submitted. A quote is accepted. A demo is scheduled. If the stage is defined by someone's gut feel or conflicting definitions, your funnel will be muddy and not useful.
It's best if stages are automated, and do not require human intervention to "stage" a lead.
Each stage should have defined metrics as feedback to determine the health of the stage. Unless you are able to see trends and have goals, you will not be able to manage your funnel. Some critical metrics could be:
By tracking and understanding the time a lead spends in each stage, you can easily project out future revenue based on lead flow as well as identify leads that have become stalled and take action.
Each stage should have corrective actions you can take to fix problems. Depending on the feedback loop of metrics and customer interactions, you should have levels you can pull to control each stage. For example:
Probably most forgotten is that the definition of the stages needs to be agreed upon. If you are a marketing & sales department of one, you don't have to worry. If there is a sales team or other people involved, you need to make sure everyone agrees and understands the process.
Real-time visibility into the marketing funnel will allow you to quickly take corrective action and make accurate predictions of revenue, and stay on the same page with sales and the rest of the company.
Here is a template grid of a 3 step marketing funnel:
The marketing funnel is by no means perfect. People don't necessarily behave in a linear way in the real world. People will move backward, skip stages, and repeat stages over and over. The key is to understand how to set up and use this powerful tool.