Sales Funnel

A Sales Funnel (often referred to as a “purchase funnel” or “conversion funnel“) is a step-by-step process that leads potential customers through when purchasing products or services.

It visually represents the buyer’s journey, from the initial awareness stage to the final purchase decision.1

Visual Representation:

Sales Funnel Visual Representation


The primary purpose of a sales funnel is to guide potential customers through the decision-making process, ensuring that they receive the right information at the right time to move them closer to making a purchase.

It also allows businesses to understand and predict the conversion path, helping them identify areas of improvement and optimize their marketing strategies.2

Stages of a Sales Funnel:

A typical sales funnel consists of four main stages:

  1. Awareness: This is the topmost stage of the funnel, where potential customers first become aware of a product or service. This could be through various channels such as advertising, social media, word-of-mouth, or search engine results.
  2. Interest: Once potential customers know the product, they move to the interest phase. Here, they seek more information about the product or service. They might sign up for newsletters, follow a brand on social media, or read reviews.
  3. Decision: At this stage, the potential customer is considering their options and is ready to decide. They might be comparing prices, looking at product features, or checking out testimonials. This is where businesses often offer deals, discounts, or bonuses to entice the customer to purchase.
  4. Action: This is the final stage where the potential customer becomes an actual customer by purchasing. However, the funnel doesn’t necessarily end here. Post-purchase engagement is crucial for customer retention and loyalty.3

Importance of a Sales Funnel:

  • Customer Journey Mapping: A sales funnel helps businesses understand and visualize the customer’s journey, allowing them to tailor their marketing and sales strategies accordingly.
  • Conversion Rate Optimization: By understanding where potential customers drop off in the funnel, businesses can identify areas of improvement and optimize for better conversions.
  • Resource Allocation: Knowing which funnel stages require more attention helps businesses allocate their resources more effectively.4


  1. Improved Customer Experience: By understanding the stages of the buying process, businesses can provide targeted information and support, enhancing the overall customer experience.
  2. Increased Sales: A well-optimized sales funnel can increase conversion rates, increasing sales and revenue.
  3. Efficient Marketing: A clear sales funnel allows businesses to allocate their marketing resources more effectively and ensure that they target potential customers at the right stages.
  4. Data-Driven Insights: Sales funnels, especially in the digital realm, can provide valuable data on customer behavior, helping businesses refine their strategies and offerings.


Sales funnels are used in various industries and for products and services.

They can be applied in B2B (business-to-business) and B2C (business-to-consumer) settings.5 The funnel structure might differ based on the industry, the complexity of the product or service, and the target audience.

For instance:

  • E-commerce Websites: Use sales funnels to move customers from browsing products to adding items to their cart and finally to checking out.6
  • Software as a Service (SaaS) Companies: Often use funnels to convert website visitors into trial users and then into paying customers.7
  • Real Estate Agents: Might use a funnel to guide potential buyers from initial property interest to property viewing and finally to making an offer.8


Here is an example of a sales funnel for an e-commerce business that sells shoes:

Awareness: A potential customer sees an ad for the shoe company on social media.

Interest: The potential customer clicks on the ad and visits the shoe company’s website. They browse the selection of shoes and read some reviews.

Decision: The potential customer adds a pair of shoes to their cart but doesn’t checkout immediately. They may visit other websites to compare prices and features.

Action: The potential customer receives an email discount code from the shoe company. They use the code and purchase the shoes they added to their cart.

In this example, the shoe company was able to move the potential customer through all four stages of the sales funnel and make a sale.

They did this by providing valuable content and experiences at each funnel stage.

For example, they provided social media ads to raise awareness of their brand, informative product pages to generate interest, and a discount code to encourage the customer to make a purchase.

You can increase your conversion rates and sales by understanding and optimizing your sales funnel.

Related Terms:


1. TechTarget. (2023, March 28). What is a sales funnel? Definition and examples. Retrieved October 11, 2023, from

2. Salesforce. (2023, January 25). What is a sales funnel? Retrieved October 11, 2023, from

3. Tursunova, D. B. (2020). The impact of sales funnels on customer experience. The Digital Journal of Business Management, 14(2), 1-10.

4. Iannarino, A. (2013). Lean for sales: How to shorten your sales cycle and maximize your profits. AMACOM.

5. The Sales Blog. (2023, January 26). The B2B sales funnel: A step-by-step guide. Retrieved October 11, 2023, from

6. Yieldify. (2023, January 31). The ecommerce sales funnel: A complete guide. Retrieved October 11, 2023, from

7. eleken. (2023, February 28). Designing a sales funnel for SaaS that delivers results for your business. Retrieved October 11, 2023, from

8. Di Gregorio, A., Gurioli, M., & Chiacchierini, C. (2017). Are social network useful for the real estate market?: a case study of an italian real estate agency. Are social network useful for the real estate market?: a case study of an italian real estate agency, 5-15.

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