In 1898, E. St. Elmo Lewis developed a model that mapped a theoretical customer journey from the moment a brand or product attracted consumer attention to the point of action or purchase.[1] St. Elmo Lewis’ idea is often referred to as the AIDA-model, an acronym that stands for Awareness, Interest, Desire, and Action. This staged process is summarized below:
“Aligning marketing and sales during the sales funnel does more than just align the teams — it creates better business outcomes,” said Mathew Sweezey, Principal of Marketing Insights at Salesforce. His stance is validated by a SiriusDecisions study that found brands with tightly aligned sales and marketing operations achieve 24% faster three-year revenue growth and 27% faster three-year profit growth. The three easiest ways to ensure marketing and sales alignment will succeed is a common language, co-created shared programs, and a policy to abide by a service level agreement.
Sales funnel conversion rate – If you’re going to choose only a few metrics to focus on, make sure this is one of them. This metric tracks the number of prospects that enter your funnel at any point and how many convert into customers. As you make changes to your marketing strategy in the future, seeing this number improve will let you know you’re on the right track.
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A sales funnel illustrates your customer’s journey and works by increasing the level of engagement and trust in each interaction with your prospects. It typically contains six stages, starting with awareness and ending with loyal customers, with each stage more intentional than the last. While not all prospects will reach the end of the funnel, those who do are actively engaged and therefore more serious about buying your product or service.

The final step in the process is to figure out which metrics you’ll track to determine how well your funnel is functioning. It’s crucial to work with the SQL and MQL data here to track patterns between who closes and how they interact with your site, content, channels, ads, etc. Once you have more information, you can continuously optimize your funnel

In fact, more than 80 percent of people look for recommendations before purchasing a product, according to research by Business 2 Community. And Nielsen reports that 84% of people trust the recommendations of friends and family over marketing campaigns. That makes personal referrals the highest ranked source for trustworthiness when it comes to making a purchase.  
You can configure the lead scoring rules to match your ideal buyer persona by simply adding or subtracting points for the lead property. For example, if your business is purely local, then for a lead to become your customer the minimum criteria is to be within your service area. Add 20 points. If the lead doesn’t belong to an industry you serve, subtract 10 points. In addition to that, you can also customize scores for email, application and web activity. Bring everything together, and you have a list of hot, warm and cold leads in the sales funnel for your sales reps to focus and close more deals faster.

Hello Sunil.. thank you for your feedback, it’s great to hear that you are finding this article useful. Re your question: yes, it makes sense to follow-up as often as you need to to reach the decision-maker. At the early stage of cold calling / emailing / SMS you may have to follow-up 6-12 times with a combination of cold calls and cold emails before you get to kick-started with your prospective customer. Obviously if they unsubscribe or say no then you have to respect this. At later stages, non-response would indicate that your prospective customer no longer sees (or has doubts) about the potential value of the solution you are selling. After following-up 2 times at a later stage, I would make it easy for your prospect to voice their concerns by communicating something like: “I’m struggling to reach you, perhaps we could hop on a call for 5 minutes as I’d like to understand your current thoughts rather than assume you are no longer interested in progressing.”
As a side note, while getting negative feedback rarely feels good, I want to encourage you to view feedback the way I do: as a priceless opportunity to improve and grow your business. Complaints and criticisms give you important signals that you need to make changes or else risk losing business from frustrated customers. Read this article to learn more: What Should You Do When People Complain About Your Product or Service?
In a recent conversation I had with Perry Belcher, co-founder of Native Commerce Media, he told me that you also need to train your prospects to click on links. For example, you could have them click on a link of what interests them or link them to a blog post or eventually to a product or service that you're selling, but you need to train them to build a habit of clicking on those links from the very beginning.

Matt Ackerson founded AutoGrow (Petovera Inc.) in 2010 as a conversion-focused web design agency. The company has since worked one-on-one with over 500 customers and clients to create their sales funnels. Matt is a graduate of Cornell University. He and AutoGrow have been featured in Techcrunch, Forbes, Inc, Venture Beat, Mashable, and Popular Science among others. He and the team write in-depth articles on digital marketing, sales funnel design, and also offer an advanced funnel training course here on AutoGrow.co
^ "The salesman should visualize his whole problem of developing the sales steps as the forcing by compression of a broad and general concept of facts through a funnel which produces the specific and favorable consideration of one fact. The process is continually from the general to the specific, and the visualizing of the funnel has helped many salesmen to lead a customer from Attention to Interest, and beyond" (p. 109).

Matt Ackerson founded AutoGrow (Petovera Inc.) in 2010 as a conversion-focused web design agency. The company has since worked one-on-one with over 500 customers and clients to create their sales funnels. Matt is a graduate of Cornell University. He and AutoGrow have been featured in Techcrunch, Forbes, Inc, Venture Beat, Mashable, and Popular Science among others. He and the team write in-depth articles on digital marketing, sales funnel design, and also offer an advanced funnel training course here on AutoGrow.co
Offer a free mini course: If you are in the business of monetizing your knowledge and expertise, a mini course is an excellent way to provide additional value to your visitors while also building your own image as an expert. Mini courses might take more work to create, but they also have the benefit of being perceived as more valuable than ebooks and PDFs.   
How to get started: Gather a list of contacts from the groups mentioned above and email them to share the content you’ve created. Important: If your list is large and you plan on emailing them in bulk, you must give them an option to unsubscribe or stop receiving emails from you. An “unsubscribe” button is auto-generated on most email service providers.   
How to get started: Look through your most popular blog post, video, podcast episode and turn that content into a lead magnet. If you have several related pieces of content that perform really well, you can consider combining them into an ebook. If you don’t have content yet, think of a simple resource that your audience would value enough to give you their email address: worksheets, cheatsheets, and checklists are all easy to create and perform really well as lead magnets. Then, you can use a free tool like Canva to turn that content into a lead magnet. You can also grab the lead magnets templates included we created for you. 
Or, in some businesses, there’s only one thing to purchase–you just have to do so often. For example, let’s say you own a dairy farm and sell milk at the farmer’s market every week. Your regular customers buy the same two gallons of milk every week. You can’t move them farther down a sales funnel to buy something more, because that’s all you have–milk.

Below, I’ll introduce you to the modern online marketing funnel model—the framework that should drive your entire digital marketing strategy. I’ve broken down each stage of the new buyer’s journey and provided marketing strategies and tactics that work best at each phase. You’ll also find real-world examples and expert advice on the “how” of making this work for your business. The goal is for you to walk away with a clear understanding of how the (modern) online buyer’s journey works and how best to market to your target audience at each stage. 
Whitney is a real estate investor and personal finance trainer whose vision is to launch 10,000 families on the path toward financial independence. After purchasing her first rental in 2002, and hitting a homerun, then nearly losing it all on her second deal, Whitney took control and figured out how to invest in real estate the right way. She realized that success must leave clues. So, she studied and replicated the very personal finance and wealth creation strategies the wealthy use to create financial freedom. Today, Whitney is a partner in $370MM+ of real estate assets, including 3,000+ residential units (MF, MHP, SFR, and assisted living) and 1,430+ self-storage. Additionally, she has flipped over $1.7MM in residential real estate and a solid portfolio of commercial notes. (Don’t tell anyone, though... BRRRR investing is still one of her favorite ways to invest—26 units and counting!) In 2018, Whitney founded ASH Wealth, where she helps you develop a clear, workable plan that gives you the results you dream of, solves your business startup or scaling issues, and drives massive progress toward your real estate and financial goals.
Reviews are the second golden ticket for middle of the funnel digital marketing—92% of online consumers read them, and 88% of them trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Here’s one probable explanation why: Consumers don’t trust advertising and marketing anymore, if they ever really did. Now, it’s no longer shut-your-eyes-and-hope-for-a-good-refund-policy—people can effectively shop based on others’ experiences (which is one reason customer service is so important).
There are various sales qualification techniques like CHAMP, MEDDIC, GPCT, BANT, and more but it’s best to choose a framework that best suits your customer journey. The most common sales qualification framework used by most businesses is BANT—Budget, Authority, Need, and Timeline. Only leads that meet the qualification criteria become potential opportunities and trickle down the funnel. Pushing leads without proper qualification into the sales funnel will clog your sales pipeline, and won’t necessarily lead to revenue.

At Disruptive Advertising, the marketing funnel is a key part of how we approach every client’s marketing. Getting into specifics about which tactics work best under which conditions in which stages is beyond the scope of this article, but if you’d like help setting up your own marketing funnel, let me know here or in the comments. Or, for additional content, check out this blog post.
Exits from stage – Similarly, seeing an excessively high number of people falling out of a particular stage is an indication that you aren’t doing enough to answer their questions or you’re asking them for too much of a commitment too early. Add more content to give them the information they need to move forward or make it easier for people to convert (e.g. don’t ask for a phone number when they’re downloading a certain e-book).
As people progress through your funnel, their intent to buy steadily increases. You always lose people with each new commitment you ask for (we refer to these actions “conversions”), but the more people you can get to convert at each step in your funnel, the more sales you will ultimately produce. In marketing, we call this process “widening the funnel.”
Terminus’ willingness to share this knowledge broadly would’ve made no sense in the days of a traditional funnel that swallows hard-won leads and spits out customers. However, today’s funnel (or loop) considers the broader context of the buying experience. It creates opportunity in the once-neglected period following the sale, a time when customers can become repeat customers and brand advocates.

Learn the secrets to creating highly persuasive online growth systems which are proven (we actually do this stuff), sustainable (nothing "blackhat"), and personalized (based on where you are at today). We publish quality resources as well as paid training products to accelerate your success with sales funnels, increasing traffic with content, building your email list, or growing your client and product conversion rate.
Sales lead: If the lead is truly qualified and he has had a good conversation with the inside sales team, he is passed on to an Account Executive (AE). The AE also speaks directly with the lead and has seven days to either turn the lead into a true sales lead, or send him back to marketing for lead nurturing, where marketing adds that lead into a campaign to re-engage him over time.
Much of this is steeped in buyer psychology. The best marketers in the world know that there is a psychological process that must occur for prospects to whip out those credit cards and turn into buyers or even hyper-active buyers. One such person whose perfected this process is Russell Brunson, an "underground entrepreneur" who founded a company called ClickFunnels, a sales funnel SaaS business that empowers marketers from around the world to build marketing automation without all the hassle. 

Learn the secrets to creating highly persuasive online growth systems which are proven (we actually do this stuff), sustainable (nothing "blackhat"), and personalized (based on where you are at today). We publish quality resources as well as paid training products to accelerate your success with sales funnels, increasing traffic with content, building your email list, or growing your client and product conversion rate.
Private communities: This is a great way to establish a closer and continuous channel of communication between yourself/your company and your leads, as well as allowing them to interact with each other. You can create private communities to start conversations, gather feedback, or share updates and news. By starting a community, you are committing to being active and monitoring it regularly for the medium/long term, which can be very time consuming in future—so keep that in mind if you decide to go with this tactic.  
The modern conversion funnel can have many entrance points, meaning people can enter at any stage of their life-cycle, they can leave and enter again. This is why an effective online marketing strategy requires an omnichannel approach which combines various traffic sources, campaigns and re-engagement paths, and makes them work as one in order to finalize the purchase and even lead to loyal customers or brand advocates.
Congrats! Someone has committed to buying your product! Some people combine this with the next step, “purchase,” but depending on your industry, this could be a different step entirely. Sometime people make a verbal commitment to buy, but then walk away and never come back to make a purchase. Once someone leaves, there’s a very good change that they’ll never be back. So, if someone says they intend to buy, it is your job to get that money right away. Don’t let them go talk to a spouse. Don’t let them come back next week. Do what you can to make the sale now.
The marketing funnel is a visualization for understanding the process of turning leads into customers, as understood from a marketing (and sales) perspective. The idea is that, like a funnel, marketers cast a broad net to capture as many leads as possible, and then slowly nurture prospective customers through the purchasing decision, narrowing down these candidates in each stage of the funnel.
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