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What Is A Sales Funnel? Everything You Should Know

what is a sales funnel
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The ultimate guide of any marketing campaign is to find potential customers and turn them into buyers. Luckily, a sales funnel can help you achieve this goal. 

A customer path is long and goes through the sales funnel stage. While tracking this path, businesses can adjust their plans to adapt to prospects’ requirements. 

So what is a sales funnel? How does it work to boost your sales? The questions won’t bother you anymore because this guide has everything you need. 

Let’s scroll down until the end and discover every nook and cranny of the funnel!

What Is A Sales Funnel?

A sales funnel is a marketing technique to guide prospects through various stages to eventually become loyal customers. It goes like this: 

Prospects -> Lead Qualification -> Intent -> Close (Won or Lost)

sales funnel process

First, you have many potential customers. This group of purchasers decreases to a smaller number based on specific criteria.

After the decision-making phase, the sales process finishes with a closed-lose or closed-won deal. By the midpoint of the customer journey, the number of prospects has dropped to a small number of chances.

The likelihood of a deal settling will fluctuate as it progresses through each step. As a buyer goes through the sales funnel, there is more information, and it becomes clearer how using the product can benefit them.

Using a marketing funnel can aid in understanding how your potential consumers think and behave at different points during the purchase process.

You can invest in effective promotional campaigns and channels thanks to these insights. Once you have done so, you can develop the most suitable content for each stage and convert more leads into genuine paying clients.

Why Is Sales Funnel Important?

People who visit your site are not equal. They have different knowledge, ideas, and goals. Most marketers have the biggest mistake of using the same sales message, offer, and funnel structure for all people, hoping it works effectively.

prospects journey

In fact, when prospects come with your brand, products, or services will go through the following processes:

UnAware => Problem Aware => Solution Aware => Product Aware => Most Aware

This is why your sales funnel has different stages that look like this!

online sales funnel stages

But it’s just a surfer of the iceberg. 

Your profitability does not come from the front-end funnel, so this is the reason why you should create the value ladder. Then, we have the whole picture.

Online Sales funnel strategy mapping

Because each step of the value ladder has different goals, you will use different funnels and scripts to achieve each step’s goal.

Benefits Of Sales Funnel For Businesses

Why is a sales funnel important in promoting your business? Using this tool, you will achieve these purposes:

1. Attract more leads

If you build your sales funnel effectively, it will definitely attract more leads to your landing page. But the problem is how to do it right.

A sales funnel may be different because it has to work for your specific business target and which prospects you want to draw. 

Consider your expertise and the issues you support customers with. Your material should benefit your target demographic and address a concern that they may be experiencing. It might appear as a quiz, a downloadable guidebook.

2. Build trust and relationships

Often, customers don’t buy your products immediately. They need to conduct competitive research. Hence, conversions depend on a sales funnel with different points of contact spread out over a certain time. 

The objective is to continuously share information with your potential customers, strengthening your relationship with them over time until they are ultimately ready for purchase.

3. Turn leads into interested prospects and then into buyers.

If a prospect doesn’t know who you are, they may not respond favorably to sales calls or emails, which might affect your image and prospects of winning the deal. You can learn what the customers’ wants are by connecting with them.

You may use marketing funnels to refer to any action you define as a conversion because they are a part of the decision-making processes that your customers make. Calls, social media activities, and email subscriptions fall under this category.

The sales team will confirm what the marketing teams say and reach a deal after the lead knows everything about the product and intends to make a purchase. If the content is clear enough, the sales team will not have to work much.

4. Increase your conversion rate

After building a sales funnel, you should develop your marketing efforts using potent lead magnets. They should consist of high-quality content and the value of your leads, all of which will ultimately lead to the final stage of sales.

A well-designed sales funnel can boost conversion for your company. You may identify your target market and focus entirely on your leads to turn them into paying customers.

Understanding your customer’s experience and your company’s pain points can help you understand them better. Then, you will be more confident about your sales strategies.

5. Automate the entire sales process

Marketing automation is vital. To complete all the tasks required to run your online business, employ a streamlined sales funnel. Once established, it will continue to sell your products and services for you indefinitely.

You may set up the funnel on your own without any technical knowledge, saving you from having to handle many staff, freelancers, or agencies.

All you have to do is direct traffic to the sales funnel after launching it. Then, the system will lead any visitor who reaches your funnel through each sales stage.

The Disadvantage Of Sales Funnel

Despite impressive benefits, this tool needs improvement in some terms. For example:

1. Extra Costs

You should be aware that deploying a sales funnel inside your company has a cost. What system and software you choose to use determines how much it is.

2. Steep Learning Curve

The learning curve may have various inclinations depending on where your company is in the buying process. You will require extra time to master a new system if you are just starting your company.

3. Follow-Up Can Suffer

Some believe that a lead has finished the sales funnel stages after buying their products. The sales funnel, however, is different. 

It costs far more to find new prospects and convert them than to keep an old one. Also, existing customers tend to return and buy your products more often.

4. Single Product Promotion

When you use a webpage, you can showcase many products to your audience simultaneously. But that was not the case when using a sales funnel. 

The Sales Funnel Explained: How Does It Work?

There are so many sales funnel concepts and stages you can find on the internet. After all, they have 3 core sales funnel frameworks. Each of them includes multiple stages and involves numerous tools to work on.

  1. Traditional sales funnel based on the AIDA model (AIDA sales funnel)
  2. Sandler funnel
  3. Online sales funnel 

1. AIDA Sales Funnel

AIDA marketing funnel

The AIDA model refers to four stages that a prospect goes through a sales funnel: Awareness, Interest, Desire, and Action.

Preferably, your content will do all four of these things during these four sales funnel stages:

  • Draw attention to your product.
  • Raise interest in the product.
  • Pique desire for it.
  • Drive action to try and buy it.

We will give you an in-depth explanation of the sales funnel stages in the next section.

2. Sandler Sales Funnel

sandler pain funnel

The Sandler Pain Funnel is a set of statements and questions with open-ended responses. Through emotional comprehension, you can use it to identify the prospects’ issues.

With this tool, you may establish a stronger bond with prospects, learn what they need from the service, and eventually get the deal.

There are seven steps when executing a Sandler selling system:

Bonding and rapport

This step involves multiple marketing tools, like matching and active listening. It would be best to start with questions to interest the prospects at this stage.

Up-front contracts

An up-front contract (UFC) refers to setting expectations. It’s about building ground rules and setting a positive space for your business.

In the Sandler method, UFC always includes five components: Objective, Rep agenda, Buyer agenda, Time, and Outcome.

Pain points

The goal of this step is to identify pain points by using the right questions. You can try the following:

  • Can you tell me about…?
  • Can you please be more specific?
  • How long have you been suffering from that problem?
  • What have you tried to do to solve it?

Discuss budget

Now, you are trying to get your prospect to determine a definitive budget in the sales process. Once you know how much it is, you can combine a customized solution with the most bang for the budget.


To assess whether your offer makes sense for your client, you should look over the information you obtained throughout steps 1-4.


The goal of the solution phase is to close the deal. Ensure all parties are satisfied with the suggested solution before making an announcement.


Your goal in this stage is to ensure that the customer is happy with their purchase and is content moving forward. This phase covers updates, cross-sells, and subscriptions to follow up for an onboarding session.

3. The Online Sales Funnel

The online sales funnel ( or digital marketing funnel ) was developed based on the AIDA sales funnel. It is visible as the landing page link with each other and follows the stage as an image below.

online sales funnel stages

A sales funnel similar to the best salesperson and guiding your potential customer through the entire sales process until they reach your desired destination.

There are so many online sales funnel types. But the process in a funnel is the same.

sales funnel process
Sales Funnel Mapping

We take someone to a page with only one goal: Get their name, email, and contact information. From there, we take those people who became leads in the sales process for selling products or services.

After they purchase, we will drive them to the One time offer (OTO page), then Upsell /down sell page to give customers more value also help you increase revenue online.

And the goal of Funnel Secrets is to help you understand how to build an online sales funnel.

Understand The Sales Funnel Stages

There are four sales funnel stages. Each stage has its own requirements, ensuring you can send your prospects what they need at the right time.

1. Awareness

The “awareness” stage is where customers first know about your service. 

They might also figure out the issues they need to address and potential solutions. 

Your potential clients may know your business from different sources, such as word of mouth, Google search, ads, or any other traffic source.

2. Interest

After learning about your business, a potential client will assess it based on their level of engagement and the services you offer.

In the “Interest” phase, the prospective buyer actively seeks answers to their problems and tactics for achieving their objectives. 

Customers often use Google to look for solutions. They’ll consider the issue they’re trying to address and conduct marketplace research to ensure that your service is the best answer.

3. Desire

The prospect will explore further now that they know your brand and its solutions for their issues.

The potential client will discover details like price and packaging options. To help your prospects decide on this level, sales sites, webinars, and chats are pretty helpful.

4. Action

The “Action” stage is the most important, regardless of whether the prospect buys anything. The deal is not always lost even if they choose not to buy from your company immediately. 

You can develop nurture programs to ensure that you remain on top of their thoughts for any specific requirements.

4 Types Of Sales Funnel

There are four main types of sales funnels, each serving specific purposes: 

  • Lead generation funnel: These funnels produce your potential clients’ leads, applications, and contact details.
  • Buyer funnel: You can receive payment from a customer inside the funnel. Incorporated shopping carts, downsells, one-click upsells, and other features are available.
  • High-ticket funnel: These funnels hold events such as live and recorded webinars.
  • Other funnels: Some interesting funnels exist, but they don’t really fit into any of the cases, as mentioned earlier.

How To Create A Sales Funnel? Don’t Start From Scratch

Do It Yourself, Done With You, Done For You

You can see every sales funnel stage in the value ladder above. We might even claim that there is a mini funnel within each stage.

But how does it happen? The six steps of building a sales funnel below can tell.

Step 1: Analyze Your Audience’s Behavior

To create a sales funnel, you must understand your audience. Do not advertise your products to everyone—instead, target customers who will be interested in what you have to offer.

Understanding user behavior lets you track website activity and identify how users interact with your website. It will help you know where the prospect clicks, when they scroll, and how much time they spend on a page.

Step 2: Funnel Hacking

what is funnel hacking

Funnel hacking is about reverse engineering another company’s funnel to collect valuable information and incorporate it into your own marketing efforts.

  • Find the right businesses to learn from

Not all businesses have a good funnel system. So, start by listing competitors and find high-performing funnels. ClickBank is a good place to study affiliate programs from others. 

  • Buy their products

Why don’t you experience your competitor’s products? It’s a great way to explore their secrets to having top-performing campaigns.

  • Learn from their traffic sources

A successful funnel is the one that can drive traffic. Try Ahref, Moz, or SpyFu to research your competitors.

  • Register their email membership

Email marketing is a powerful tool to promote your brand. After joining their email list, take note of how long the email sequences are and if your competitors deliver daily emails about particular stuff.

Step 3: Create a Bait

Prospects use the lead magnet, also known as bait, as a stepping stone to determine whether or not to choose your service. 

Ideally, your bait should be something free. An ebook, manual, handbook, webinar, video pointers, short instructional videos, etc., are all examples of baits. 

Feel free to choose the bait, but it should meet these requirements:

  • Catchy: Avoid overwhelming your prospect with too much information. A good bait is something they feel like reading and can do it quickly. 
  • Easy to digest: Make the bait simple to follow. 
  • Valuable: Your prospects should want it more when you introduce the bait.
99 instagram secrets opt in page

Step 4: Build Funnel Pages

Your funnel pages should include a squeeze page or landing page with some other pages, such as payment, offer, or thank-you pages. Decide how you want to sell your products and choose to build the necessary pages. 

You can build the pages with three methods:

  • Create them from scratch
  • Hire a professional to build them for you
  • Use pre-built templates to create your landing page and adjust them to your demands.
clickfunnels review buyer funnel templates

Step 5: Create an Email Marketing Campaign

By sending compelling content to your prospects via email, you can market your products to them. Perform this job frequently but not excessively. You only need to send one or two emails a week. 

Step 6: Drive Traffic and A/B Testing

The most important and last stage is to attract website visitors. The sales teams can’t create sales just by having a solid funnel. The chances of generating high-quality leads and more revenue increase with the traffic you obtain.

A/B test the landing page as well. Although it takes time, you’ll eventually reach a wider audience and more consistently convert prospects.

Email campaign A/B testing is another good approach. Change your wording, graphics, offers, and designs to see what works with your audience.

Real-Life Example Of Sales Funnel

To help you visualize and understand the sales funnel better and how people are using it in online marketing, I will share three sales funnel examples below.

1. eCommerce Sale Funnel


The spread shirt is a website that sells T-shirts. I like this website because I can design & customize my shirts and create designs to sell them in their marketplace. Let’s see how they increase the card value.

First is the sale page. Here, customers can pick the color of the shirt and customize the design if they want.

spreadshirt page - sales funnel for ecommerce
eCommerce Sales funnel: Sales Page

Because customers already like this, they will probably buy another product with the same design. If you are a couple, you could buy one more for your friend by clicking on the Men / Women button.

ecommerce sales funnel crossell page
ecommerce sales funnel: Crossell

And finally, “Customers also liked.” At this point, Spreadshirt will introduce more best-selling models to attract customers. 

The customer can view more popular designs and put them into their shopping carts.

Spreadshirt – upsell page

Look, with a simple tactic, there is an opportunity to sell more and promote other products. 90% of e-commerce sites use this method, so let’s do it now if you haven’t applied it to your business.

2. Book Funnel (Or Free & Shipping Funnel​)


Million Dollar Ads book created by Peng Joon. Inside the book, he going to revealing to you the different framework for writing his best performing ads, and thought process behind each and every one of them so that you can model, swipe, and implement them immediately.


Before we go deep into, let me mapping the Million Dollar Ads funnel first to help you understand.


The Free & Shipping funnel starts by promoting low-price products but high-value. This funnel has two advantages:

  • Free products can attract many potential customers.
  • Customers still have to pay for shipping.

Many people will complain that $14.95 for shipping is relatively high and unreasonable. Why not give away free 100%? Here is the reason:

  • You still need the money to pay for advertising, printing, and shipping. Therefore, in this case, the high rate is that you will lose money or break even (if you are lucky.)
  • We have a list of buying customers (high-quality leads)
Sales page of the Million Dollar Ads book

Next, to recoup costs, after customers fill in the information, a special offer will appear for $37. Some people will buy it, and it will help you offset the advertising costs. 

Besides, this is also why they can spend more than $20 to acquire a customer (pay more than competitors.)

Million Dollar Ads: The Order Bump

The book gives you the best Facebook ads content formula and example. However, that is not enough for you to make money. Here, they will introduce you to the course “Million Dollar Ads Masterclass” for $297. 

Because customers have already bought from you once, chances are they will buy more.

Now, Peng Joon is starting to has profitable. Remember, the profit from the sales funnel doesn’t come from this book. It from upsell and the product he promotes later.

Million Dollar Ads: The OTO page

After you know how to create an effective campaign, you already know how to market on Facebook, and you will encounter a new problem – SCALE.

When you start to make a profit, you feel excited. However, when you begin to scale ads, you lose money. You try:

  • Changing out image
  • Duplicating Ad set
  • Chatbot follow-ups
  • New Audience
  • Changing campaign Objectives
  • And more

and it’s still doesn’t work.

Right now, Peng Joon introduces you to the “Facebook Ads Secrets” course that will help you scale more effortlessly and more effectively. This course’s price is $ 347 – another opportunity to introduce other products and get more profits.

Million Dollar Ads Book Funnel: #2 OTO page

Finally, the thank you page. In this case, they will give you a link to create an account to login into the membership and receive the bonus.

Million Dollar Ads Book Funnel: The Thank You Page

Inside the membership area, you will see two things:

  1. Bonus they promised
  2. Promote the upsell products again to increase conversion rates, get more profits, and increase customer value.
Million Dollar Ads Book funnel
Million Dollar Ads Book funnel: membership page

The Free & shipping funnel is a popular sales funnel used by many marketers and companies to grow their business online. (Russell Brunson, Dean Graziosi, Tony Robbins, Grant Cardone, etc.)

3. Webinar Funnel

Webinar Funnel is often used to promote products valued at $ 400- $ 1997. Here is an example.


Kathryn Jones creates the website; she is an expert in creating high-converting funnels and web pages without code, photoshop, or design skills. 

Before going deep into her funnel, let me show you the map first.

CF Design Funnel: Squeeze page
CF Design Funnel: Squeeze page (or webinar register page)

CF Design doesn’t list as many benefits as other sites. They only focus on three core elements. These are the problems and false beliefs that many people have and solutions.

  • Your website is ugly.
  • Spend more budget to design your website/funnel
  • How to use a “design facelift” to explode your sales, even if you suck at selling
CF Design Funnel the 3 secrets
CF Design Funnel the 3 core secrets

CF Design doesn’t list as many benefits as other sites. They only focus on three core elements. These are the problems and false beliefs that many people have and solutions.

  • Your website is ugly.
  • Spend more budget to design your website/funnel
  • How to use a “design facelift” to explode your sales, even if you suck at selling
CF design webinar funnel
CF Design sales funnel: The OTO page

Next is the OTO page promoting “Design Hacker Tool Box” for $ 37. Some customers will buy this product here.

It helps Kathryn offset advertising costs to get people to attend the webinar, filter out high-quality leads list, and increase competitive advantage.

cf design school webinar live
CF Design School Funnel: Webinar page

It would be best if you create a live webinar when you make the webinar funnel. In this case, you can see Kathryn using the video uploaded and played on Youtube.

This means she has done many videos before, then picks the best video which high conversion rates and sets it automated on the webinar funnel.

cf design shool sales page

The live training content will teach what is promised on the register page, and it is a step by step to introduce and direct people to the product. It was a special offer, high value, and priced at $ 997.

At the end of the video, she links to the sales page.

To help increase conversion rates better, she came up with three option payment plans to help people quickly buy. Most people have a hard decision to buy a product for $ 997. Have multiple payment options:

  • Three payments of $ 397 
  • and seven payments of $ 197 

Will make it much easier for customers to make decisions. Of course, most people would expect their customers to pay one time for $ 997. However consider:

  • 3 payments of $ 397 = 3 * 397 = $ 1197
  • 7 payments of $ 197 = 7 * 197 = $ 1397

Not bad, right! Webinar Funnel is the best way to promote products from $400 – $1997, so if your business has similar products or services, let’s try it.

Want to see more examples of the sales funnel? Please read my Top 8 Best Sales Funnel Examples That You Want To Model here

Measuring The Success Of A Sales Funnel

After following the steps above, you have finally built your own sales funnel. But how can you know if it is effective? The metrics below can help you answer this question.

Conversion rate

Your conversion rate depends on several factors. One crucial element is the quality of lead generation. The sales reps will probably convert more of your leads into consumers if you can produce high-quality leads.

Your sales funnel’s design and layout are other marketing efforts. Make sure you don’t include unnecessary delays between processes and that each step in the channel is simple to follow.

Cost Per Click

Cost Per Click shows the price you pay to get a lead from your funnel. You can use it to assess your overall marketing campaign’s success and lead-generating activities.

For example, if it takes you $15 for a lead from the campaign but requires two clicks for the lead to convert into a sale, find ways to shorten this conversion process.

Sales Funnel Optimization

You can only infer what your prospects need without a well-structured, effective sales funnel. If it’s wrong, you will lose the sale. 

There are several strategies to optimize your sales funnel. But learning the outcomes is the best approach.

Start with the funnel’s upper section. Whether it’s paid or unpaid, you’re producing content to advertise your company and get users to click on the CTA. Try a different content if the first one doesn’t work.

Go to the landing page next.

Add the deal and CTA into your blog post, ad, or other resources that serve as a traffic-generating tool.

A/B test you offer before asking customers in the Action step to buying anything from you. For example, you have tested and realized that a 5% discount works better than free shipping. Although this difference is minor, it significantly affects your campaign’s effectiveness. 

Finally, check the customer retention rate. Your goal is to maintain your business top-of-mind. Your consumers won’t have any reason to find elsewhere if you never let them down.

Learn more: Sales Funnel Optimization guide: The strategy to optimize your sales funnel converts better

Sales Funnel Course

Building an effective sales funnel will be a huge help for your business. However, it’s not easy to establish a successful campaign. If you want to master this skill, the One Funnel Away Challenge course must be what you are looking for. 

The trainer of this course is Russell Bruson, the co-founder, and CEO of ClickFunnels. With his years of experience in the industry, Bruson will lead you to the right path. 

His 30-day training program called the One Funnel Away Challenge guides you through the steps of designing and deploying a funnel.

The Facebook Group and One Funnel Away Membership Area are essential parts of the training because they offer videos, articles, and bonuses gained from the challenge’s purchase.

This video will tell you more about the course:

YouTube video


sales funnel is what you need to draw more leads and turn them into your customers. Hence, do not mind spending time and effort mastering this tool.

Please let us know if you have any difficulty in your learning path. We are always ready to give you a hand to overcome challenges. 

Thank you for reading!

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Key Nguyen

Key is the brainchild behind You'll often find him analyzing conversion rates, tweaking landing pages, and exploring new marketing automation software. He loves to write about sales funnel building and is always tinkering with the latest conversion optimization techniques!

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