Everything is a funnel. When you are promoting your business or product you are out casting a net and bringing people that are interested or meet certain criteria into a funneling process.
I see a lot of small businesses fail because they are focused on building a better marketing funnel when they have not defined and refined their sales funnel yet.
Things that can be included in your sales funnel are:
CRM – I have used many CRM’s and they are critical to building a good sales funnel. There are free CRM systems and higher priced ones with more features.
Productize – Even if you are a service company, create products for your services. Give them names and definitions so you can talk about them and explain them in a way that is clear and easy in the sales process.
Templates – You have to have great templates, because once people are in the sales process they will start asking for more information on parts, and being able to quickly send them things is essential.
Case Studies – In many cases you want to have case studies you can use in your sales funnel.
There are more thing as well, but this is a good start. Think about the process of selling and everything you might need along that path. Find ways to illustrate your value and make the sale easier. Keep refining your sales funnel all the time.
Then, once you get your sales funnel fully defined and running well, that is the time to start building your marketing funnels. Internet marketing will be one marketing funnel, but you should look at where your ideal prospects are and build multiple marketing funnels and measure things like lead generation, revenue, profitability, cost per lead, etc. These will help you identify your best source of leads in your marketing funnels and focus on them, increasing profitability.
Too often the small business owner thinks of this as all one big funnel. You can never identify your best marketing funnels unless you define each one separately.