Streamlining Sales Process for E-commerce Businesses

Streamlining Sales Process for E-commerce Businesses

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. The Formation of Nicely Built
  3. Challenges with Client Platforms
  4. The Shift to Shopify
  5. Growth and Expansion
  6. Increasing Lead Volume
  7. The Inefficiencies of Manual Sales Process
  8. Exploring CRM Solutions
  9. Implementing Active Campaign
  10. Setting Up an Automated Sales Funnel
  11. Addressing Pain Points in the Sales Process
  12. Improving the Sales Funnel
  13. Conclusion


Improving the Sales Funnel: A Guide for E-commerce Businesses


Running an e-commerce business involves many challenges, especially when it comes to managing the sales process. As the owner of your company, you understand that handling the sales yourself is crucial to ensure that your clients' needs are met effectively. However, as your business grows and more leads come in, it becomes increasingly difficult to keep up with the communication and follow-up required. This article aims to provide insights and solutions to improve the sales funnel for e-commerce businesses. By implementing an automated sales process and addressing pain points along the way, you can streamline your efforts and increase conversions.

The Formation of Nicely Built

Nicely Built, an e-commerce company headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, was founded in 2012 by Natasha Murphy. After working as a developer for an agency, Natasha became frustrated with clients choosing platforms that didn't align with their goals. Determined to work with more streamlined platforms, she established Nicely Built as a Shopify and WordPress-focused company. The initial success of building a Shopify store for a children's store in Georgia motivated Natasha to continue working with leaner platforms. Since joining the Shopify experts program in 2013, Nicely Built has grown its team to seven members and successfully built numerous e-commerce stores.

Challenges with Client Platforms

One of the key challenges faced by Nicely Built was the dissatisfaction with clients choosing their own platforms. Many clients were investing significant amounts of money and time into complex websites that didn't serve their needs. This prompted Natasha to create a company that prioritized leaner platforms like Shopify and WordPress. By aligning with clients who understood the limitations and benefits of these platforms, Nicely Built was able to provide more effective solutions.


  • Enhanced client satisfaction by leveraging more suitable platforms
  • Focus on streamlining development process with leaner platforms


  • Limited client base due to specialization in specific platforms
  • Potential difficulty in convincing clients to embrace alternative platforms

The Shift to Shopify

After experiencing the limitations of clients' chosen platforms, Natasha made the decision to focus primarily on Shopify. This shift allowed Nicely Built to take advantage of Shopify's robust e-commerce capabilities and growing popularity. While some non-e-commerce projects still involved WordPress, the majority of the company's efforts were concentrated on Shopify. This strategic decision enabled Nicely Built to establish expertise and gain recognition as a Shopify expert.

Growth and Expansion

Since joining the Shopify experts program, Nicely Built has experienced significant growth. Referrals, leads from the experts directory, and an increased online presence all contributed to expanding the client base. However, with the growth came new challenges, particularly in managing the influx of leads. At the initial stages, Nicely Built could handle one to two leads per week. However, this number quickly grew to about 10 to 15 leads per week, overwhelming the team.


  • Increased brand visibility and recognition as a Shopify expert
  • Expansion of client base through referrals and directory leads


  • Difficulty in managing the growing number of leads efficiently
  • Potential strain on team resources and capacity

Increasing Lead Volume

As the number of leads continued to rise, Nicely Built struggled to effectively qualify and manage them. Previously, Natasha had personally handled the sales process, believing that no one knew the company's product as well as she did. However, with the increasing volume of leads, it became evident that a more streamlined and automated approach was necessary. Experimenting with various contact relationship management (CRM) solutions such as Salesforce and Insightly proved to be either overly complex or time-consuming. It became evident that a dedicated CRM system alone wasn't sufficient for Nicely Built's sales needs.


  • Exponential growth in lead volume, indicating increased brand awareness
  • Opportunity for enhancing the sales process through automation


  • Difficulty in finding a suitable CRM solution to handle the increasing lead volume
  • Increased time investment in experimenting with CRM solutions

Implementing Active Campaign

To address the challenges faced with managing leads, Nicely Built opted to implement an automated sales funnel using Active Campaign. This service allowed the team to set up a systematic sales process that could handle a large number of leads while ensuring effective communication and follow-up. By using Active Campaign's automation features, Nicely Built could tailor email sequences to guide leads through the sales funnel while nurturing a relationship with potential clients.


  • Streamlined sales process through automation
  • Efficient communication and follow-up with leads
  • Customized email sequences for lead nurturing


  • Potential learning curve in implementing the Active Campaign system
  • Requires ongoing management and monitoring of email sequences

Setting Up an Automated Sales Funnel

With Active Campaign in place, Nicely Built set up an automated sales funnel to manage leads effectively. The initial stage of the funnel captures leads from various sources, including the website and the Shopify experts directory. A simple automation is triggered, sending an email requesting a phone call to discuss the services Nicely Built offers. Collecting minimal information upfront, such as the lead's name, website, and a brief message, proved more effective than using a complex form.


  • Efficient lead capture through minimal upfront information collection
  • Prompt email response requesting a phone call to discuss services
  • Web-to-lead integration for seamless lead management


  • Possibility of missing out on valuable lead information due to minimal upfront collection

Addressing Pain Points in the Sales Process

Throughout the sales process, Nicely Built encountered pain points that hindered conversions. Two significant pain points were identifying clients who were not a good fit and dealing with unresponsive leads. To address these issues, Nicely Built devised a go/no-go list during the initial call with potential clients. Signs of rudeness, excessive emphasis on time or cost, or a lack of understanding about the platform were red flags that indicated the client might not be a good fit. By identifying these signs early on, Nicely Built reduced the likelihood of entering into an unproductive or unsatisfactory working relationship.

Another pain point was sending proposals and not receiving any response from leads. To combat this, Nicely Built shifted to discussing proposals during a video call, rather than sending them directly. This ensured that potential clients couldn't ignore the proposal and allowed for immediate clarification or negotiation. Additionally, implementing an onboarding series enabled leads to become more educated about Nicely Built, Shopify, and available services before the first call.


  • Improved efficiency in identifying and filtering potential clients
  • Reduction in unresponsive leads through video call proposal reviews
  • Educating leads through onboarding series for better client understanding


  • Possibility of losing potential clients due to more stringent filtering process
  • Additional time investment required for video call proposal reviews

Improving the Sales Funnel

Recognizing the areas that can be further optimized, Nicely Built intends to make ongoing improvements to its sales process. One of the planned improvements is implementing an onboarding series triggered by the initial email requesting a meeting. This series aims to educate potential clients about Nicely Built, reinforcing the company's expertise while providing valuable insights into the Shopify platform.

Additionally, Nicely Built plans to return to a packaged approach for a more streamlined process. By offering predefined service tiers with transparent pricing, potential clients can quickly assess the options and make informed decisions. This approach allows Nicely Built to efficiently handle proposals while maintaining consistency and pricing transparency across the board.


  • Enhanced lead education through an onboarding series
  • Streamlined sales process through predefined service tiers


  • Potential challenges in determining suitable predefined service tiers
  • Balancing customization options within a packaged approach


The sales process for e-commerce businesses presents various challenges, especially as the number of leads increases. By addressing pain points and implementing an automated sales funnel, businesses like Nicely Built can streamline their efforts and maximize conversions. Utilizing automation solutions like Active Campaign allows for efficient lead capture, nurturing, and qualification. Continual improvement and addressing specific pain points can significantly enhance the sales process while maintaining a focus on client satisfaction and business growth. With a well-optimized sales funnel in place, e-commerce businesses can effectively manage their leads and focus on providing exceptional solutions to their clients.

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