What is a Sales Funnel: A Guide with Examples


Did you know that your sales funnel has a significant impact on your overall marketing efforts? Yes. You heard it right. Even if you use the most intricate or best-performing digital marketing strategies, all of it will be in vain if you do not have a well-built sales funnel.

Businesses worldwide acknowledge the importance of creating a sales funnel and understand how it impacts their business sales. It can be the ultimate difference that can make your business sales jump to the next level this year. 

Sales funnels are all about trials, testing, and choosing the best as per your business needs. Hence, today, we have discussed the complete stages of a sales funnel. Some amazing examples of popular businesses that leverage sales funnels, and the process of creating one for your business! Let’s dive deep into it!

What is a Sales Funnel?

As the name indicates, a sales funnel is simply a visual representation of the complete journey of your prospect right from the first contact with your brand to the final purchase. It determines the customer’s journey phases. 

Defining your sales funnel helps your sales team understand the right elements that can help prospects in each stage of the funnel. It helps to address the customer’s needs and demands while delivering the right message at the right stage of the funnel. It also helps in sales forecasting and revenue, resulting in quicker deliverability and meeting the sales objectives quicker!

For example, imagine a brick-and-mortar sales funnel. You can find multiple customers walking by your store and a few opt in to walk in and check out your products. When the customers check out the clearance products, they are probably contemplating buying them, which is the next stage of the sales funnel. Now when the customer walks for the billing, they’re at the last step of the funnel.

The process is similar for other businesses, such as a retail stores, sales teams, websites, etc.

The 4 Sales Funnel Stages Explained

As we said, a sales funnel represents the different stages of a customer’s buying cycle. You can name the four stages by the acronym AIDA: Awareness, Interest, Decision, and Action. Each step represents a prospect’s mindset in the journey. Let’s break down each stage in this journey.


Here your business catches the consumer’s attention via any marketing methods such as a tweet, Facebook post, referral from a friend, Google search, etc. They become aware of your business and the solutions you offer to their requirements. 

In ideal cases, the customer directly opts for the purchase right away after this step which brings us directly to the last step of the funnel. It means that the customer has already done their research and trusts your brand for their requirements. 

However, if that is not the case, this is the stage wherein you need to woo the prospect into returning back to your website and engaging with your business via different methods.


At the interest stage, the prospect or customer likely has your brand as one of their options. They are doing their research into knowing more about other brands, too, i.e., your competitors. They often compare the solutions, pricing, experience, and many more while thinking about the options to find the best deal. This is precisely where good content does the magic. 

Here your content helps in promoting your services to your prospects who are currently in their research stage. You can also establish your expertise in your niche by assisting such customers in their research phase by sharing content that helps make informed decisions. 


In the decision stage of the sales funnel, the customer is done with their research and is finally ready to purchase with a few options in mind. However, this doesn’t end the funnel. 

In this stage, you need to outshine your competitors by bringing irresistible deals which compel them to choose your business. You can include a few offers, discounts, bonus products, freebies, and so much more at this stage. To sum up, you need to provide customers more value for their purchase by offering better deals than your competitors.


This is the bottom stage of the sales funnel, wherein the customer finally makes the purchase and becomes a part of your customers. However, this doesn’t imply the end of your efforts. You need to make immense efforts to turn the first purchase into continuous, never-ending purchases year over year. 

In short, you need to focus on customer retention in this stage. Express gratitude for choosing your business, ask for their valuable feedback and offer extensive customer support whenever required. This is how you can make sure that they can rely on your brand the next time too!

Effective Sales Funnel Examples

If you are still confused about the breakdown of the sales funnel stages and how it helps businesses, here are a few effective sales funnel examples that can give you a better understanding of how businesses worldwide are focusing on building an effective sales funnel for maximizing their conversions. Let’s check them out.


Mailshake is a platform that helps in maximizing sales for businesses. They offer free demos to potential prospects before they invest a minimum of $60 on the products. This is a smart move since the company now can get away with a single demo instead of doing multiple free trials. 


Once the potential customer knows about Mailshake, via different methods such as blog posts, affiliates, webinars, etc., they are likely to visit the Mailshake landing page or homepage and book the demo. 

After the book, the demo, Mailshake will prompt the lead to set the right date and time for the 30-minute session.


Once the demo season is finalized, Mailshake shall send the confirmation email to the customer. They now need the details. Needless to say, apart from the confirmation, when the customer adds their details, they are also signing up for frequent reminders and alerts on their email, which can also serve the customer retention process. This also gives them a chance for better customer satisfaction since they can also resolve queries through email assistance. 


This sales funnel example works best for expensive brands that offer personalized services such as an outreach effort. You can also find the same example of sales funnels in law firms such as Roman & Gaynor, Allen Law firm, etc., which offer expensive consultations instead of multiple free services.

The main focus here is to build a relationship with the customer by offering one-time consultations, demos, and live chats. This will convince them to make the bigger investment without any hesitation.


Twilio offers communication APIs, which help developers embed voice calling and text messaging into the software application and products. The potential customer starts by finding their brand via simple keyword research since Twilio did their SEO well and is at the top ranks in the Google SERPs. Apart from keyword searches, customers can also discover them via social media, blog posts, or a game made by Twilio to attract more customers. 

Twilio offers them to either sign up for the Twilio account or talk to an expert. Either way, they will be brought to the second stage of the funnel.


Now that the prospects have offered their contact details, the sales rep can focus on getting more details about the customer. The details could be the company name, job title, or the product they are interested in. These details can help provide the relevant services. 

Once a website visitor has become a lead, the sales rep can leverage the information collected in the opt-in form. They can get the company name, job title, and even the product that the lead is interested in to drive more sales conversations and ask the right questions.


Such questions will help the sales reps understand more about the customer’s needs and problems and answer most of the queries of the lead. 

Lastly, when the consultation is done, Twilio has a convincing solution for the customer’s problems. They may have queries regarding the pricing, implementation, ROI, returns, refunds, etc. In such cases, hyper-specific pages such as customer stories, case studies, and other smiler documentation help in clearing all such doubts.

If the sales reps confidently address all their doubts, the conversion is definitely finalized now!


Tricentis is an automated software testing tool specifically designed to test out different software and tools via automation, integration, and optimization. The target customers can easily discover their brand via simple keyword research since they are also in the top ranks in the Google SERPs. 

As the customer lands on the website, they can avail of different options such as free trials, webinars, or product demos. 


When the potential customer chooses the one as per their requirements, they are asked to fill in their details which will serve for customer retention in the later stages. It also helps lay a stronger foundation about the customer’s needs and what they expect to form the software. 


Next, to address customer queries and help them with their doubts, they have a massive collection of ebooks, webinars, datasheets, guides, reports, and so much more under the Resources section. 


Once the customer has all the details they need, they reach the bottom of the sales funnel. This is the stage where the Tricentis sales reps direct them towards the ROI calculator. Finally, the sales reps can seal the deal (of course, if they see a profit in the ROI calculator for their investment).

Anchor Fabrication

Anchor Fabrication is a contract metal fabrications partner with a very distinct sales funnel for its target audience. Starting from website optimization for higher discoverability, they attract the targeted audience to the website.

They also have a section as “Why fabricate with us,” which explains the processes and benefits of their services. This is a great lead magnet for attracting potential first-time customers. They also have an option for Talk to Sales for a consultation to address the customer’s requirements. 


Next, Anchor Fabrication has an extensive library full of resources that help answer the queries and doubts of their potential customers. This helps in building confidence and trust within the customers. 


To close the deal, they offer many industry-specific case studies and testimonials that help build more confidence in the decision, which marks the end of the sales funnel. 


Netflix is a popular video streaming service that doesn’t really need much effort for brand discoverability. We all know that it already has a good name in the market. Their homepage has multiple elements such as search prompt, adding an email address, anytime cancellation, etc., that compels the user to move forward and explore the website. 


To help resolve their potential queries and bring them to the decision stage, they have a FAQ section that addresses a few common queries and offers resolutions. Below comes a simple CTA asking for the email address to persuade them to act on their newfound confidence. 


How to Build a Sales Funnel

Now that you have all the information and some proven examples of a sales funnel, you might be wondering about the process of creating a sales funnel for your business! Worry not since we have listed the entire procedure right below. Let’s check it out.

Step 1: Analyse audience behavior

The better you know about your audience, the more personalized your sales funnel becomes. Your sales funnel should be focused on the people who need your services. Start by using curtains software or tools that help analyze user behavior reports. It can help to monitor your website activity to understand how people engage with your website, such as the clicks, and time spent on scrolling.

Step 2: Capture your targeted audience’s attention

Content is one of the best ways to lure customers into buying your services. Start with the organic route and post multiple contents across different platforms. Do not stick to a single type. Rather, go for the approach of diversifying your content type and include infographics, videos, etc., in your content plan. 

To maximize the efforts, invest in paid ads on different platforms depending on the buyer persona. For example, LinkedIn is the best place to advertise if you have a B2B company. 

Step 3: Build a landing page for your visitors

All the content and ads you post need to be directed to a specific location. Ideally your homepage or landing page. If you are directing them to your landing page, it could be the golden opportunity to convert them right there instead of further pushing the sale. 

An effective landing page should be captivating and persuasive such as a prompt to download a free ebook or watch a demonstration video of your video. 

Step 4: Create an email marketing campaign

Apart from sharing diversified content across different platforms, focus on sharing valuable content across emails regularly. However, don’t be too frequent since this can lead to spamming. 

Share content that educates them! It can be about the market, objectives, obstacles, and other valuable information that could be relevant to their requirements. 

Do not forget to add an offer that is irresistible and compelling enough. Make them click on the link and get directed to the landing page you just created before.

Step 5: Focus on customer retention

Like we said, your sales funnel doesn’t just end with converting the prospects into final customers. It is also about customer retention and making them choose your business every time. Reach out to your existing audience regularly. Thank them for choosing your services by offering them coupon codes, discounts, and other irresistible offers for their next purchase!

How to Measure the success of a Sales Funnel

Like every other strategy, once your sales funnel is up and running, you need to measure its success. As your business grows, you need to keep optimizing your sales funnel accordingly to maximize the results. You learn more about your potential customers, diversity in your product line, and so much more. Hence, in such cases, you need to track your conversion rates. 

Your conversion rates give you insight into:

  • Number of people signing up for your email list from different sources
  • How many purchases you got
  • Number of returning buyers
  • How many secured customers from the email campaigns
  • Number of customers engaging with your content

Knowing all such answers will help tweak your sales funnel and optimize it as per your customers’ changing needs.

Why Do You Need to Optimize Your Sales Funnel?

If you are wondering why you even need to optimize your sales funnel post creating a fresh one not long ago, you need to understand that your potential customers have many options. They can easily reject your business and choose your competitors over your business, resulting in a loss of sales!

Hence, to keep your funnels flowing, you need to optimize them. Do the optimization according to the right data and metrics instead of relying on outdated or guesswork funnels. This is particularly important for landing pages since if they are not effective enough, customers can click away from your website within a fraction of seconds!

How to Optimize Your Sales Funnel?

You can optimize your sales funnel in multiple ways. However, the key here is to focus only on the areas designed to push the customers to the next stage of the funnel. 

For example,

If you are running Facebook ads, don’t just run one ad. Instead, run 10 or 20 ads but focus on optimizing the ads as per the buyer persona. You can make your ads optimized by using Facebook’s targeting features that help to bring better results to your ads.

You can also carry out A/B testing for your ads, email campaigns, and landing pages. This will help in understanding which one works best for your business. Switch to a different language, imagery, offers, layouts, sections, etc., to figure out the one that brings the maximum engagement.

You can start with the top of the sales funnel. Here you are creating content both paid and organic. Analyze whether the CTAs in the content is compelling enough to make your viewers click and visit your website or not. If not, change your CTA!

Next, for your landing page, again analyze the CTA here and understand whether it helps customers go to the checkout page or not. Understand whether the free shipping offer works better than the free demo or the other way! You can understand all of this via A/B testing!

Lastly, track your customer retention rate and the process they follow to refer to their friends and colleagues about your business. Understand whether it makes a difference in your customer growth rate and revenue. 

The goal here is to make your business stand out! If your business is attractive enough to lock the deal with every customer that visits your website, it can eliminate any chances of even considering your competitors.


Your sales funnel has a massive impact on consumer behavior. It can make an abandoned sale into a finalized one with the right steps. Once you create a sales funnel and optimize it as per your business needs and audience, there is no going back. You can witness a crazy impact on your business in terms of traffic, sales, and conversions. Thus, start with your audience research today and define the sales funnel for your business for maximum conversions.

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