An idiot’s guide to the sales funnel

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No, you’re not an idiot. Although, you might sound like one if you keep referring to ‘the sales funnel’ in team meetings.

So, rather than rely on terms you’ve heard but don’t quite understand in order to sound smart, let’s get under the hood of this vital part of modern-day sales.

Customers take complex journeys

What is a sales funnel?

Modern customers take curiously complex journeys towards their final purchase.

We all do it. If you think back to the last thing you bought, you’ll probably have darted between websites, online reviews, social media comments, chats with friends and many more digital and real-world rabbit holes before laying down your hard-earned.

Despite this, the weird journey you take is actually broken up into four stages of what we now call the ‘sales funnel’:

  1. Awareness (you’re learning about a product that might fix a problem you have).
  2. Interest (you’re actively looking for a solution to the problem and have accepted you’ll probably spend money on something).
  3. Decision (you’re ready to make a decision on the right solution and are consequently paying more attention to the offers on the table).
  4. Action (you finalise your purchase with the lucky vendor).

Beyond those four stages, the customer enters a stage known as ‘retention’, which is all about keeping hold of them in order to encourage repeat purchases. But that’s for another blog.

How content will help you interact with each sales funnel stage

The great thing about the digital age is that you can rely on a number of different forms of content to interact with customers at each stage of the sales funnel.

Here’s some ideas.

Sales funnel awareness


At the awareness stage, you can generate awareness of your product and brand by writing about the product itself or simply giving away free, invaluable advice.

By doing so, you’ll draw in an audience and keep them engaged (providing you keep blogging, that is).

Lead magnets

A lead magnet is something (often some form of download like an eBook) that people can sign-up to receive during the interest stage of the sales funnel.

The key thing here is to offer something that contains enough value for people to hand over personal details. And that’s not easy in this GDPR-ified world.

It is possible, though, and if you include a call-to-action to check out your product within that lead magnet, you’ll stand a far greater chance of ushering people onto the next stage of the funnel.

Engaging video webinar


This is the exciting bit, because if prospective customers have made it this far, they’ve probably engaged enough with the brand and built a layer of trust that puts them at the decision stage.

However you tackle this stage – be it with an engaging product video, webinar masterclass or remote demo – it’s your chance to convince that customer to take action.

Your goal at this stage is to educate the customer about your product but also provide them with enough of a reason to pay you for the pleasure of receiving it.

Wrapping up

If you’ve ever scoffed at the mere mention of a sales funnel and its importance to your business, we’ve hopefully started the process of convincing you otherwise.

The sales funnel is a vital part of modern commerce – not just business BS. And in future blogs, we’ll delve into it’s benefits even more wholesomely.

As always, if there is anything you wish to add to the conversation please comment below.

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