Sales funnel: what is it, how to create and what are the steps?

Learn how to control the Sales Funnel to boost your team’s business process. Understand the differences for Shopping Journey.

Sales Funnel is a tool that helps sales and marketing teams guide a potential customer on their buying journey.

It is a structure created to accompany and guide a customer on their purchase journey, starting with the moment of discovery and brand awareness until the final purchase time.

The sales funnel is one of the most relevant marketing tools today. It is directly linked to content marketing and traditional inbound marketing.

So, answer: Would you like to be able to increase your profits with an automatic sales process?


It is the sales funnel that will support the personas’ buying journey. A tool structured around your business, your product or service.

Through a sales funnel, it is possible to calmly work each lead. Take care of him at his specific stage. In this way, it is possible to be agile and assertive at the same time.

As a result, sales conversion rates grow. Quite.

By the end of this article, you will have seen the sales funnel. You will understand how it is able to help convert leads into customers, based on the sales funnel.

Sales Funnel FAQ

Before we get started, let’s cover some frequently asked questions about sales funnels.

If you want to read the full explanation, just click at the end of each answer. OK?

How important is the sales funnel?

The sales funnel is responsible for taking the leads through all the stages necessary for them to effectively become your customer.

The mission is very clear: attract, delight, sell and retain consumers. And do this precisely, delivering value and showing at all times why your solution is ideal for him.


How does the sales funnel work?

Also called a pipeline, the sales funnel is a strategic model. It shows the customer’s journey from the first contact with the company to the actual closing of the deal.

The funnel is made up of a set of steps as well as triggers. They have a mission to support the journey, build trust and ensure the sale.


How is a sales funnel divided?

Typically, a sales funnel is divided into 3 stages: top, middle and bottom. However, to be able to deliver the value that the customer needs, these steps have been broken down.

On average, then, it is common for the sales funnel to have around 5-7 steps.


What is the first step of the sales funnel?

Generally speaking, the first step is called the “top of the sales funnel”.

But, within a more complex process, the first step is usually the prospecting or qualification of leads generated by marketing.

It is the first stage where your marketing team will contact the potential customer to gauge their interest and adherence to the solution sold.


How to create a sales funnel?

There are basically 4 steps to create a sales funnel.

They are: 1 – Build the personas ; 2 – Trace the Buying Journey ; 3 – Choose milestones and conversion steps; 4 – Automate the process in a Sales CRM.


What is a sales funnel? What is the concept of a sales funnel?

The sales funnel is a tool that helps sales and marketing teams. Its purpose is to guide a potential customer on their shopping journey.

It is a structure created to accompany and guide a customer on their purchase journey. Its beginning is in the moment of discovery about the problem that needs to be solved.

However, not all of them reach the end of the journey. Or at the end of the funnel. Therefore, the number of people entering this funnel is always much greater than the number leaving.

In other words, not everyone will buy. Sometimes very few buy. But, calm down, this is another conversation.

So the sales funnel represents this entire journey. It starts with the moment of discovery and awareness of the brand, until the moment of purchase.

It is called a “funnel” because of the way it operates. At the top are a large number of leads, segmented from the personas of a brand.

In it, most leads will not continue to make the purchase journey through the funnel. This is clear through the increasingly narrower middle and end of the funnel.

What problems can occur in the sales funnel?

Sales funnel: what is it, how to create and what are the steps?

They may be outside the control of the sales and marketing team. Also, you may have missed some crucial step in creating your funnel…

Planning and strategy. These two words are paramount to having a truly efficient sales funnel.

Only then is it possible to segment the audience and create content that interests them. As a result, the chances of converting a lead into sales grow. Very.

Knowing your personas, your buying journey and every moment of your product’s sales stage are part of this plan.

That way you can shorten the sales cycle or discover flaws in the process. If that happens, great! The chances of losing a customer will be reduced.

The purpose of the sales funnel is to indicate and ensure that the customer is at the correct sales stage. Furthermore, it is there to show if the investment made is reaching the right leads.

And each of the steps outlined in the funnel will aim to guide the customer to the correct trigger. This is what will take you to the next step within the journey.

A trigger would be an action on the part of the customer. Just as an example, the act of downloading an eBook. This action is something that brings value and guides you on the journey.

Sales funnel vs. customer journey: different but complementary

Vital in a digital marketing strategy, the sales funnel is a tool used to support customers’ buying journey.

When well established and scaled, it works very well. After all, it can efficiently direct content production and the techniques for dealing with customers at every step of the purchasing process.

Because they are connected terms, many people believe that the sales funnel and the purchase journey are the same thing.

However, this couldn’t be more wrong. Therefore, it is essential to understand the differences between them. For many reasons.

Either to avoid vocabulary confusion in the marketing strategy, or to clarify what each one represents.

The sales funnel is a method for understanding a reference for marketing and sales teams. In contrast, the buying journey is the process itself.

That starts with the customer discovering a need and goes on to the moment he decides to buy. Or decides to leave. 🙁

In addition, there are also some strategies that include the post-sales stages. They are part of the shopping journey.

Therefore, they determine stages corresponding to the funnel. The two terms complement each other. It’s important to understand the shopping journey to build an efficient sales funnel.

Only then can it be a reference tool for converting prospects and leads.

How does the sales funnel work?

The sales funnel uses as a working basis several known and traditional methodologies in the sales and marketing field.

Each company structures its sales funnel in the way it sees fit. Usually they comprise between 3 and 7 steps. It is common for them to be about:

  • prospection;
  • qualification;
  • presentation;
  • maturation;
  • negotiation;
  • closure.

It’s up to companies to understand the scenario. In other words, identify which of these steps each customer is.

Consequently, from there, determine the proper treatment for each of them.

In some companies, it is common for marketing to guide customers in the early stages of the funnel and pass them on to the sales team in the final stages.

In addition to the division into stages, the funnel can also be sectioned into top, middle and bottom. Each of these stages can have one or more stages.

It will all depend on the complexity of your sales. This type of fractioning is interesting for digital marketing.

He is directly responsible for producing more content for the steps at the top and middle of the funnel. After all, that’s where most people involved in the shopping journey are.

With this funnel, you can create triggers (automatic or manual) so that leads convert into customers.

Sales and marketing teams can predictably and timely manage the customer’s buying journey. This is extremely relevant.

After all, it’s what makes the process more efficient. More simply, the funnel is divided into 3 main parts:

  1. top of the funnel;
  2. middle of the funnel;
  3. Funnel bottom.

Sales funnel and its steps

Each of these steps has different lead characteristics. These characteristics serve to indicate the level and qualification of the customer, with respect to the sale.

Check out the sales funnel steps:

  1. top of the funnel

It is the phase of discovery and learning, by the customer, of the product, service or business offered.

At this stage, there are few qualified leads within the purchase journey.

  1. middle of the funnel

In this phase, the client understands and recognizes the problem that led him to become interested in the content presented.

As a result, he begins to recognize that he needs a solution to this problem. It is in the conversion between TOP and MIDDLE of the funnel that many leads get lost.

Here, potential leads begin to be filtered and qualified.

  1. funnel bottom

When the lead reaches the bottom of the funnel, it will already be taking your product into consideration and will start comparing it to similar products.

Soon after, he will be ready and willing to make the purchase, choosing the product that best meets his expectations.

How to Create a Killer Sales Funnel?

A killer sales funnel is one that best educates and guides the lead to the end of the journey, completing the last stage, which is the purchase.

Below are some essential tips for your sales funnel to reach the right audience for your brand.

Purchase and Sale Contract: Know more than 10 Essential Items

1 – Build the personas

We want to deliver value to our persona, through our products and services. It is the persona, created at the beginning of strategic planning, that we want to achieve.

The persona is not your target audience. A persona is the representation of your ideal customer. Based on real customers, the persona is developed based on their characteristics.

The persona serves to present to the digital strategy all the characteristics of the ideal customer for your business.

Through the persona, it is possible to segment your target audience, attracting consumers really interested in your products or services.

2 – Trace the Shopping Journey


Bottom of Form

A sales funnel starts with building your personas’ buying journey.

Based on the characteristics presented by your customers in previous purchases, it is possible to trace the path taken, from discovery to purchase.

This is where potential lead leaks will be identified and the triggers needed to make them continue on the buying journey and move through the funnel.

3 – Choose milestones and conversion steps

Milestones are landmarks, reference points within the shopping journey. They represent the lead’s transition from one stage to another.

Not only do you need to define these milestones, but you also need to answer a number of questions related to them: Can my lead advance to the next stage on its own?

What trigger is required to have a safe transition, qualifying my lead? Remembering that here, marketing and sales must work together.

After all, the milestones defined in the purchase journey and throughout the sales process must be the same.

Marketing and sales need to agree on what factors qualify a lead.

Especially to define when it will be ready for a possible intervention of the sales team or not.

4 – Automate the process in a Sales CRM

Sales funnel: what is it, how to create and what are the steps?

Like other processes within digital marketing, the sales funnel can deliver even better results if automated.

With funnel automation, you can keep track of activities, conversion steps and lead management.

CRM – Customer Relationship Management, or Customer Relationship Management – ​​is a tool for a sales funnel.

It brings this and all the other automations needed for this mission.

With prior planning and the structuring of the sales funnel strategy, with its conversion steps, purchase journey and defined personas, CRM can deliver consistent results.

On top of that, it facilitates the management of the entire process.

Why just have a sales funnel? See other funnel types for your process!

In addition to the sales funnel, within a good CRM Online , you have a tool for a sales funnel where you can build other funnels.

This is crucial to structuring your business process completely – with full integration with your company’s marketing.

This way, don’t limit yourself to just one funnel, do also:

Marketing funnel

The marketing funnel represents the journey people take from first contact to buying the solution you sell.

Through it, it is possible to map and plan the entire customer experience, from the moment he becomes a lead, to the moment of purchase.

A tool to be used in partnership and compliance between marketing and sales teams. This is the funnel, which brings much more security to the creation of content for the lead.

In addition, it shows which purchase stage the lead is in. This maximizes the chance of a successful sale as it shows marketers and salespeople the best way to talk to the potential customer.

Therefore, creating a marketing funnel allows you to create an even more assertive strategy, really aimed at that persona who is your ideal customer.

Through it, you get in touch with the lead and start to relate. You submit targeted content for the 3 steps, top, middle and bottom.

If there is interaction in all 3, this lead will evolve and can move to the next funnel.

In addition, to be successful in your customer acquisition strategy, some features are important, such as:

  • Follow up email templates ;
  • Automations: email, actions and activities;
  • Pipeline and portfolio of opportunities;
  • Products with features and grade;
  • Product catalog with photos;
  • Pre-configured proposals (PDF);
  • Between others.

Pre-sales funnel

To better organize your sales process, why not create a pre-sales funnel?

Qualifying leads before contacting them to sell is important for your company’s Customer Acquisition Cost of CAC to be lower.

Here is work for the SDR . I work for your pre-sales team. He is the one who needs to qualify this lead to the closer, the salesperson, show the solution and seal the sale.

There is not exactly a defined number of steps – this is up to the user.

Also, it will depend on the size of the commercial team and also on what you have to offer during this qualification.

Here, think of rich materials, videos explaining your product or service , among others.

To be successful in qualifying these leads, then, some features are important, such as:

  • Automatic card/campaign creation;
  • Customizable emails with variables;
  • Integration with What Sapp, email, chat and marketing platform;
  • Funnel step activities playbook;
  • Booking of sellers’ calendars;
  • Lead distribution – Round Robin;
  • Custom question fields;
  • Custom qualification forms;
  • Connection and activity metrics;
  • Between others.

Success funnel

Closed a sale? If the customer has made it to the last step of the sales funnel, then it’s time to ensure their success using what you’ve just sold.

For example, the success funnel is also important for those who sell insurance. Or any other service that needs to be renewed for a fixed period.

You’re not going to contact the customer just to remind them to renew the contract, are you? So relate to him.

For this, some features are important, such as:

  • Follow-up email templates;
  • Automations: email, actions and activities;
  • Pipeline and portfolio of opportunities;
  • Products with features and grade;
  • Product catalog with photos;
  • Pre-configured proposals (PDF);
  • Between others.

Keep reading these other posts from our blog to learn more:

    • Learn about SPIN selling sales methodology
    • Active prospecting for sponsors at events
    • How to be a good salesperson? Disciplined salespeople are above average

Have a CRM for your sales funnel

In order to manage all the specific activities of each step, without losing control over new leads and prospects, it is possible to use CRM, as mentioned above.

It serves to automate triggers and other actions within the sales funnel.

With the use of CRM for the sales funnel, the purchase journey and lead characteristics are presented in an accessible way, making contact with the customer more agile, assertive and punctual.

After all, having a sales funnel for CRM is essential to your business strategy. In other words, it changes game. It changes the way you handle your customers.

And that makes all the difference.

You show that you are an authority on the subject. That you understand the customer’s pain.

Above all, make it clear that your solution really makes sense and works. Does your company use the sales funnel? What results has CRM funnel management brought to your business?

So, how can we help you?

Enjoy and read two articles that will help you to sell more and better in your company.

The first talks about the importance of process automation within the sales sector.

The second addresses important issues and strategies of pipeline management in your business.

Good sales!