Sales Funnel: what it is, what it is for and how to put it together

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sales funnel is a reprentação of the steps that a potential customer goes from the first contact with the company until the close of the sale. Normally a sales funnel (or pipeline) is divided into three steps: funnel top (tofu), through funnel (Mofu) and funnel bottom (Bofu).

In this post, we’ll talk all about the sales funnel , from concept to construction.

Prefer to watch a video on the subject? Here it is!

Your company already has a sales funnel? What are your steps and triggers? The funnel is lined with buying journey?

In companies that work with Inbound Marketing, as the Digital results, this strategic model is usually shared between marketing and sales, with each of the areas responsible for specific steps.

We are always monitoring and reviewing the funnel so that it is as effective as possible in Leads conversion customers .

It is this important tool that we now turn.

Get a Marketing and Sales Diagnostics and find out how to sell more in 2018

now schedule your free diagnosis with a specialist, understand the main points of improvement of the marketing and sales funnel and draw solution actions.

This diagnosis is valid only for companies that:

  • Have an active site with at least 300 unique visitors per month.
  • Already market products and services.
  • There are clients of Digital results. (If you are a customer: contact the manager of your account by clicking here ).

1. Sales Funnel: Concept

Also called pipeline, the sales funnel is a strategic model that shows the customer journey, from his first contact with the company until the closing.

It consists of a set of steps and triggers whose goal is to support the buying journey of personas of a particular organization.

In other words, the stages of the sales funnel are directly linked to the phases of the buying journey. We will detail them below:

Sales Funnel

Representation of a sales funnel model

funnel top is for learning and discovery

In this phase, also known as tofu ( top of the funnel ), visitors discover they have a need or problem to be solved, hitherto unknown. This is the stage of consciousness, awakened after coming into contact with your company.

Its role is to educate them: offer rich content, such as graphics and eBooks, which can be accessed after completing a form. By providing data such as name, email and profession, the visitor becomes a Lead and advances in the sales funnel.

funnel means is to recognize the problem and consideration of the solution

In step known for Mofu ( middle of the funnel ), we are dealing with Leads. They are looking to solve your needs, but not know how to do this well: it can be with a specific spreadsheet , or even with the purchase of a software. Its function is to help them with tips and techniques.

Far from wanting to sell a solution at any cost, work to mature and qualify Leads, leaving them ready to take another step in the sales funnel.

Hopper fund is to purchase decision

In Bofu ( bottom of the funnel ), the Qualified leads become opportunities: they are almost ready to be covered by the sales team. More than aware of the problem and seek solutions.

The trust established between you and each of them makes you be seen as a reference on the subject and someone with whom they can negotiate. Show that you are the perfect partner for them.

The sales funnel closes when prospects make their purchase and become customers.

And buying journey?

We speak before the sales funnel is responsible for supporting the day of purchase of personas. But what is this concept?

Buying journey consists of four steps (learning and discovery, problem recognition, consideration and solution purchase decision) and is intended to represent the steps the customer goes through to the acquisition of certain product.

How to understand it is critical to understanding the concept of the sales funnel, we pause to address it in more detail.

Buying journey aims to represent the steps the customer goes through to the acquisition of certain product. In general, it consists of four steps:

Step 1: Learning and Discovery

In this phase the buyer still does not know very well you have a problem or business opportunity. The aim at this stage is to arouse his interest in a subject and do you know it you have a problem or a good business opportunity.

Step 2: Problem Recognition

The buyer identifies who has a problem / business opportunity and starts to find out more about this problem and possible solutions;

Step 3: Solution Consideration

The buyer already knows some possible solutions to solve that problem and begin to evaluate alternatives to solve it. At this stage, it is important to be able to create a great sense of urgency. Otherwise, the buyer will identify who has a solution to his problem, but will not engage much in solving it.

Step 4: Purchase Decision

The buyer is comparing the available options and researching which one is best for your context. It is important at this stage to highlight the competitive advantages of each solution.

Practical example to understand the purchase journey

Probably lifelong, we have already covered the journey of purchasing a social shoe. The next time we need one, we will start the route directly on the problem of recognition step (not what I use to work on Monday). Then we will go through a quick consideration process (really have the need? I have money?) Back until the decision to buy or not the footwear.

In addition to family, this journey has low risk and impact: if I do not like the shoe can give away, buy another or even go to the store and exchange the model.

Now, we will increase the complexity of the example: imagine we need a running shoes to participate in an ultramarathon for the first time. Buying journey will probably be different, agree?

Although we thought that you must purchase a specific tennis, still do not know what problems would be caused if optássemos by a conventional model, which his influence on our performance in the race or even what are the shoes that we can choose.

Connecting the Dots: purchase journey and sales funnel

Knowing the customer purchase journey and what are the milestones it allows you to plan sales stages covering bottlenecks, qualify the customer and reduce the sales cycle.

Generally, the classification is translated triggers passage between the funnel steps . These passages can be automatic (Lead began a trial in the software) or manual (checklist completed by the seller during the sale).

Working with a sales funnel enables the areas of customer acquisition and scalability in the process.

The outputs of a good sales funnel is a clear commercialization process, a conversion rate between manageable steps and creating a forecast (forecast) new business.

The steps of the sales process is the way in which the company delivers value to its Leads and whose individual goal to reach the triggers that represent the next milestone buying journey.

2. Step by step for building the funnel sales

For you to build your own sales funnel, we recommend that you follow the four steps below. Come on:

2.1 Map the shopping spree

The first step in creating a sales funnel is to identify what is the buying journey made by the organization’s personas.

To discover it, responsible for the commercial area should contact the largest possible number of potential customers in order to understand what are the desires and difficulties encountered along the way.

Bonus Tip: Perform this contact even when your sales process is automated. The work will identify bottlenecks and optimize steps that are not always clear.

2.2 Define the milestones in the sales process

Done this first mapping of the purchasing journey, it’s time to set the milestones that represent the stage of face.

For example: at what time my Lead learns that need to implement a solution to the problem? He can get to that stage alone? How can we ensure that it reaches this stage?

By answering these questions, we will have milestones buying journey and the sales process, which should be the same.

2.3 Defining steps

The definition of the stages of the sales funnel should be planned in order to give the greatest possible support to the buying journey, delivering the value required for the potential customer to advance.

In implementing the sales process should be observed clear triggers passage between the steps, causing them to mean the same thing for different actors and to implement the goal of bringing predictability of the funnel.

Overall Inbound Sales funnel is divided into four major steps:

Sales Funnel

Above, an example of a sales funnel with all 4 steps. Make here the simulation of the sales funnel for your business .


First stage of the funnel, it is a group of people very heterogeneous, composed of curious and users in stages, accessing the pricing page looking for a specific solution.

People come to this stage by various ways, called traffic sources in Digital Marketing . Sponsored media, organic search and social networks are some of the examples.

So visitors advance the funnel and become Leads, you need to convert them through some form or Landing Page . In exchange of user data such as name, email and segment, it offers up some kind of offer.

The content to be offered will vary according to each type of business and can be direct or indirect. Direct offers are related to the product or service: discount coupons or budget requests are among the examples. As for the indirect address issues related to the product more broadly through eBooks, webinars and more.


After converting the Leads, it’s time to establish a relationship with these contacts. The goal is to get them to move in the purchase journey and reach ripe for the sales team.

This process is known as Leads nutrition . Mainly consists of automated delivery of targeted content to the interests of each contact, supporting the next step of their buying journey.

A good practice that should be developed at this stage is the Lead qualification , segmenting them according to their profile and interest to determine whether they are ready to be sent to the sales team or whether they should continue to be nourished.


When the marketing team signals that the Leads have had meaningful relationship and are ready to be addressed, they become opportunities to the sales team.

Overall, the consultants address these Leads to understand the situation and the stage of the buying journey they meet.

most advanced companies in Inbound Sales continue using generated content marketing to shorten the sales cycle and keep the hot opportunities throughout the negotiations.


When performing the first sale to the opportunity it becomes a client. This transition is a sign that along the journey were understood the main “pain” Lead and the solution presented was in line with expectations.

The focus at this stage should be the retention incentive to purchase new products or new customer recommendation. This should be an ongoing work between sales, customer success and marketing.

2.4 Optimizing and climbing the sales funnel

After building the sales funnel, you need to think about how to scale the operation and make the team follow the process for client conversion. To do this successfully it is advisable to divide the process into two fronts: optimization and scale.

The optimization of the funnel depends initially setting performance indicators of activity (productivity) and the conversion rates between steps (efficiency).

Managing funnel productivity, you can determine the required level of activities to achieve the set targets and thus make the scalable process. Monitoring conversion rates it can work efficiently and especially the need to process revisions or new training for the team.

The scale of the sales funnel is based on making people able to perform the activities related to the process designed by the construction of playbooks, learning tools, training and certification.

It is also possible to divide the scale hopper into two parts: onboarding and ongoing. The processes should focus on the development of core competencies for process performance.

The onboarding process aims to convey the knowledge and minimum and initial skills to the seller to achieve its objectives in rampeamento period, from day 1 until the full target. But the ongoing development process aims to ensure the continued performance, the team’s adaptation to changes in the process and the sale of new products or services.

To learn even more about the process, read the post “The secret ingredient of an optimized sales funnel” .

3. Tools for managing a sales funnel – CRM

During the structuring of the sales funnel is normal already start thinking about how to control the flow of visitors, Leads, opportunities and customers, recording activities, contacts and planning activities. This is where the picture sales funnel management tools.

The famous CRM is the acronym for Customer Relationship Management, which can be understood in free translation as Relationship Management Customers, not necessarily involving a tool (this is such a good topic that deserves a blog post just for that!) .

Despite seem a little abstract, understand the difference between tools and concept it is essential to determine the best platform to optimize the strategy and not simply implement a robust tool thinking it will solve the problems.

The best way to manage your funnel is to conduct a preliminary mapping of the process, as seen above, and understand what are the functions that could be automated or accompanied by broadly (activity management). Set it, then yes it is time to seek a tool that meets these requirements.

The definition and understanding of the sales funnel is essential for you to determine the health of your customer acquisition machine and then trace focused strategies to achieve the goals.

The very process of creation or revision funnel enhances the understanding of the customer purchase journey and indicates what actions your company can do to optimize sales.

Without having a clear funnel it is very common for companies to invest in stocks with little performance. If you are starting to think about your sales process suggest know our How to sell more using Digital Marketing and Lead Generation .

If you already have a sales funnel, but needs some help to optimize it, talk to our experts and get a free diagnosis !

Get a Marketing and Sales Diagnostics and find out how to sell more in 2018

now schedule your free diagnosis with a specialist, understand the main points of improvement of the marketing and sales funnel and draw solution actions.

This diagnosis is valid only for companies that:

  • Have an active site with at least 300 unique visitors per month.
  • Already market products and services.
  • There are clients of Digital results. (If you are a customer: contact the manager of your account by clicking here ).