6-part sales funnel drawing showing how a potential client goes from Awareness, to interest, desire, action, Loyalty, and then advocacy

The 6 part sales funnel

Biz 101, Growth, Strategy

Recently I’ve had many discussions with business owners and managers about the sales funnel. 

I’ve studied this idea for a good while and have been surprised at how many people have indicated that this is a new concept.

 It makes so much sense to them and it’s a great piece to understanding the journey that each of our customers go through. Understanding is half of the battle of having a would-be customer turn into a real life customers. 

I’ve studied several forms of the sales funnel and have blended my own cocktail. It starts with the AIDA sales funnel and tags on 2 more steps, resulting is AIDALA. 

6 part sales funnel, awareness, interest, desire, action, loyalty, advocacy

Most people drop the funnel after Action, at which step the sale happens, however adding the last two steps at the end of the sales funnel is extremely important for every single business alive.

At the Awareness step, customers are hearing about or seeing your brand for the first time. This is the first step in the customer journey. At this level of the funnel you will have the greatest drop off. 

At the Interest step, a customer has determined that you may be able to fill a need in their lives. They will investigate you and your competitors. This is where having exceptional marketing material becomes extremely important. A content strategy that shows you understand the customer and have a fair market price and they get great value is key if you want to keep them. At this stage there will be more drop off, however it should not be as great as in the previous step.

Desire. The customer has emotionally committed to your product or service. This is when we need to make it as easy as possible to buy from you. Depending on your product, the customer journey may be short (I want new a burger) to very long (I want to build a new house). Understanding this journey is important to make the transition from desire to Action as short and smooth as possible. The larger the purchase, the longer it will take for the customer to justify and research. 

Action is when the customer buys. All of the effort in marketing for most businesses goes into the lead up the this step. Most of the time this is where the sales funnel ends. However, intention and attention needs to be given to customers after the sales.

Loyalty is what we want. Restaurants live and die by regular customers, vehicle dealerships can see many customers upgrading their vehicles every few years, hotel chains benefit greatly from business travellers, and it goes on and on. There’s a reason an entire industry exists to promote loyalty to businesses. Loyalty breeds repeat business, and the next step. 

Advocacy is the best form of marketing. This is word of mouth and often customers to a certain brand are loyal beyond reason. They will be emotionally invested in a brand and fight tooth and nail for that brand and always recommending it to friends or family that have a need your brand can fill.

Allocating funds and resources to those last two steps is what can really set you apart from competitors. A great example of a company that has done wonders for loyalty and advocacy is Harley-Davidson. The culture that has been created is not an accident and the Harley Owners Group is a stellar example of purposefully generating loyalty and advocacy. There are many other examples if we simply look around a bit. Reflect on some conversations you’ve had recently where you advocated for a particular clothing or shoe brand, a vehicle manufacturer, a restaurant, and the list goes on. Most of us take part in brand advocacy in one way or another. Let’s get loyal customers to advocate for your company.