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What is a Sales Funnel? How is it different from a Marketing Funnel?

A sales funnel describes the systematized journey for your customers. It’s a type of strategy that routes prospects into making sales. Sales funnels are designed to draw in new visitors, keep them coming back and, eventually, turn them into paying customers.

What is a sales funnel?

Acquiring new customers, in a nutshell, is a long, winding route to the top of your sales funnel. It’s where people “go” to buy your products or services. They might begin the process on the journey by interacting with you and your content through the marketing funnel. Then they continue with more information about your services and products. They may also visit your website’s landing page, use an offer, take a sales call, or apply for a free trial. This information comes from your sales materials. These materials need to be highly targeted and resonate with your audience. If your content does not resonate with your buyer personae /ICP, avatar etc - the sales funnel will have low conversion rates.

Basic sales funnel framework
Basic sales funnel framework

What’s the difference between a sales funnel and a marketing funnel?

While both are part of the process to market your product or service, they aren’t the same. The marketing funnel is a process that helps you to move prospects from awareness to consideration, you are moving them into the sales funnel. The sales funnel, however, is a much more focused part of the consumer's journey designed to make a sale. With a sales funnel, you focus your energy on generating new leads and selling more products. A sales funnel is often referred to as a funnel because it consists of a number of different elements that work together to funnel your prospects through the core steps of their decision-making process, with the goal to maximize the number of conversions.

What’s a sales funnel made up of?

Sales funnels are comprised of your sales activities after your prospects become aware of your business and starting to engage with your content. They include things like email campaigns, content marketing, special offers, drip marketing, retargeting utilizing paid media campaigns and more. In short, a sales funnel is a systematic method for capturing leads, converting them into customers and growing your business. Sales funnels are the skeleton that any business needs to grow and build a lead pipeline.

What is the goal of a sales funnel?

As the term suggests, a sales funnel is used to guide your customers through your product offerings so you can convert them into paying customers. By following the basic steps of the sales funnel, you’ll design a system that motivates visitors to take the right steps to close the deal.

How to build a sales funnel?

To understand what it takes to build a sales funnel, consider what’s involved in building a campaign once you have a prospect's attention. They have identified their problem and have identified your product or services as a possible solution. As a prospect enters the period of consideration you have the opportunity to strengthen your relationship. They are open to learning more about your products and services, and how they can benefit them. In turn, you will be able to get more information about them, enabling you to determine the quality of the lead and provide targeted content that explains exactly what your company and your products could do for them. It is critical to address all issues and FAQs on your website. Product “how to” guides, case studies covering common “pain points” can be used to provide your prospects with the information they need to know and to guide their purchase decision. The final phase might be to convert the most lucrative customers and retain them for a lifetime of service. The ideal set-up is different from business to business.

The idea behind sales funnels is fairly straightforward.

You’re helping your customers go through the buying process to maximize your revenue.

There is no “silver bullet”, but if you pay attention to the stages that your prospects are moving through, and you are empathetic about their needs during each stage of the buying process, you’ll be able to create a successful funnel for your business.


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