What is a sales funnel?

September 30, 2020 |
By Sotiris Sotiriadis

The Sales funnel

It’s the only way to survive in today’s very competitive marketplace.

A sales funnel is the marketing term used for a series of steps designed to guide prospects toward a buying decision.

A sales funnel is simply like a real-world funnel where you can see the top, the middle and the bottom tip. At the top of it, you pour some substance, then, this substance filters down towards one defined end or destination.

It becomes the steps of a process that your potential buyer has to take and go through in order for them to become your customer.

In brick-and-mortar world, a sales funnel can be represented in your website – social media channels – retail store – email – personal consultation – your sales team or any other marketing channel you may have. A sales funnel can be spread across several channels.

Similarly to the real funnel, a similar process takes place. At the top of the sales funnel, you see lots of potential buyers who arrive and may enter your funnel. But, there’s one difference here: not all the potential buyers entering your sales funnel will be lead out from the other end.

The high-level stages that prospective clients and customers move through (your funnel) are awareness, interest, decision making and action.

The why and how prospects move down the funnel depends mostly on your own sales and marketing abilities.

In these high-level stages, you have to pay the most attention to prospects in the middle and lower stages of the sales funnel: they’ve moved beyond awareness and are heading into interest.

The prospects at the top of the sales funnel see your store. Some of them take a decision to walk in, that’s the middle of the funnel.

Two of the prospects see a rack of jackets on sale. They start looking for their size and now they are at then next step of the funnel. Then one customer selects two jackets and walks to the check-out. He/she is at the last step. He/she finishes the purchase and gets to the bottom of the funnel or the end of sales operation.

If you are a business owner, you already know how painful it is to just miss a sale.

You may spend days and weeks of pitches, charm, chatter and negotiation and then the potential buyer drops out of the sales funnel with zero sales.

But adopting and managing your own sales funnel is one of the most powerful marketing tools you may have for the success of your business.

In the online world, a sales funnel is all about engaging visitors and getting them to opt-in to your free offers and click that button.

The question to figure out becomes “how”?

Sales funnel became one of the core concepts in the world of digital marketing.

This core concept can take your business from unknown to a mass saturation money-making machine seemingly fast.

And skilled professionals have built a career around implementing this core concept in their business.

Each of the sales funnel stages has an important impact on the prospects behavior. Therefore, you need to learn them deeply.

By thoroughly understanding each step, you can use the right strategies and tactics to increase the number of potential buyers that go from one step to the next.

Much of those tactics lean on buyers’ psychology. And the world’s most experienced marketers know that there’s a psychological process behind each buying process.

This understanding can have a huge positive impact on your business.

Why is a Sales Funnel important?

a man pinpointing the bottom of a sales funnel with his pen

The sales funnel helps you imagine the road potential buyers take while making their buying decision.

When you start understanding your funnel, you will better equipped to find the cracks where prospects leak out in the funnel and why/where some prospects (or all prospects?) never convert and leave before reaching the bottom of the funnel.

And without understanding your sales funnel, you can’t fix those cracks or those holes in the funnel. But, by understanding your funnel, you will be better positioned to optimize it and influence your visitors/prospects path through the funnel and eventually impact their decision.

It takes a lot of time and hard work to create and optimize a successful sales funnel.

How to create a sales funnel?

If you want to improve your sales and increase your customers’ base, you need to start thinking sales funnel.

We put some points to help you start creating and managing your own online sales funnel:

  1. Get acquainted with buyers’ psychology. You don’t have to become a psychologist yourself to improve your business sales or to create a sales funnel. But, understanding your prospects buyers will allow you to better serve them. Remember! Your product/service/pitch was not created to serve everybody.
  2. Grab your prospects’ attention. When you understanding the behavior of your prospects you will be better equipped to grab their attention. You can use your social media channels to capture your audience’s attention.
  3. Create a landing page. Your content and ads need to take your prospects somewhere where they can learn more about your business.
  4. Create an email campaign. Use your email market to bring interesting content to your leads. This will help you keep their interest, educating your audience and build up to the sale.
  5. Maintain the relationship. Thank your customers for their purchase and offer to them additional opportunities. Stay in touch!


  • Understand your audience
  • Pay attention to all aspects of your sales funnel and use them to impact your customers conversion.


  • Ask people to buy from you right away or you will only chase them away.
  • Overlook details as small as font choice.

Examples of successful sales funnels:

You cannot improve your marketing strategy without learning from these leaders:

  1. Clickfunnels
  2. Netflix
  3. Mailchimp
  4. Coursera
  5. Crazyegg
  6. Netflix


Creating and optimizing a sales funnel is crucial for your business in today’s competitive world.