Sales funnel vs. Marketing Funnel: What’s the Difference?

Imagine having a “magic” engine that collects traffic from multiple online channels that turns it into cash directly into your business’s cash flow.

Did you know that this is possible? A well-designed sales funnel allows you to easily drive traffic, generate leads, and nurture them based on where they are in the buyer’s journey.

As a result, you get ultra hot leads that are ready to buy.

After reading this article, you will learn how your business can benefit from building sales funnels, know which stages to include, and get free funnel templates for various marketing and sales strategies.

What are a sales funnel?

A  sales funnel also called a  conversion funnel, is a series of steps your prospects go through before they reach the point of completing their purchase.

It was first developed in the late 19th century by St. Elmo Lewis and followed the AIDA model, which stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action. These four steps can be explained as follows:

  • Attention:  the stage where the customer learns about the product.
  • Interest: the stage at which the customer is interested in the product.
  • Desire: the stage where the customer demonstrates preferences in terms of products and brands and develops a desire to buy the chosen solution.
  • Action: the stage where the customer wants to try the product (they initiate a review or make a purchase).

Currently, this model has been reconsidered and expanded.

Let’s look at the basic structure of a modern B2B sales funnel.

The basic structure of a B2B sales funnel

The basic funnel structure has three levels: the upper, middle, and lower funnel.

Top of the Funnel (TOFU)

It is the widest section of the funnel, as it contains leads who have not yet interacted with your company, as well as those who have had some kind of contact with your brand, product, or service.

This phase is based on raising awareness about your product. In other words, there is still no demand or interest. Your mission is to create both!

When you reach your audience, you start to pique the customer’s interest. From now on, the challenge is to nurture that potential customer and get them to the middle of the funnel.

Middle of the Funnel (MOFU)

This is a  consideration stage when leads are evaluating how your product or service might meet their needs.

Some of them may become your  Marketing Qualified Leads  (MQL — people who have shown interest in your marketing efforts) but are not yet ready for your sales pitch.

Some can turn into sales-qualified leads (SQL—  those who actively want to make a purchase and should be sought after to convert into paying customers).

Bottom of the funnel (BOFU)

You’ve worked hard to get potential customers to the bottom of the funnel, helping them choose your company as the best fit for their demands. Now they have become your opportunities or qualified leads with the highest potential to buy your solution.

At this stage, they will make a  purchase decision. It’s time for you to prove your worth and build trust for them to become your customers .

As you read more on this topic, you will find more versions of the funnel with different stages of sales.

For example, some experts add the fifth loyalty stage which refers to post-purchase customer satisfaction and focuses on maintaining a  loyal and lasting relationship with their customers.

Sales funnel vs. Marketing Funnel: What’s the Difference?

The term sales funnel is often mixed up with another similar term —  marketing funnel.

Traditionally, B2B sales were a linear process, which assumed that the buyer was first introduced to the company by marketers. A marketing funnel was intended to help leads become familiar with the brand.

Once they were well educated and ready to consider the solution, the sales reps would spring into action, so the sales funnel was just a continuation of the marketing funnel.

Today, the linear sales process is obsolete. Buyers have become more educated, often entering the sales game with some baggage of knowledge about the company and its product. This made the process of drawing a line between marketing and sales funnels difficult.

The business world was quick to find a new approach called marketing that proposed another form of collaboration — both marketing and sales teams began to align their efforts to ensure the sales process ended in a closed deal.

And to make things easier, in this post, we’re going to talk about a sales funnel from a sales and marketing alignment point of view. Outbound Prospecting in the Sales Funnel

Why are sales funnels important?

Experts claim that of all the leads you collect, only  10-15%  become customers. Therefore, building an effective sales funnel is necessary to increase this percentage.

Let’s take a look at some of the key benefits you’ll get from having a funnel for your sales process:

  • Higher productivity: When you know how many potential customers aren’t ready to buy your offer and what’s stopping them from buying from you, you’ll better understand your ideal customer and stop wasting your time on unqualified leads, increasing your overall productivity.
  • Better forecast: Tracking the results of the lead’s actions at each stage of the funnel allows you to predict sales success. Say, you can start to understand how many leads you need to attract to generate sales, for example.
  • Stronger customer relationships: With a sales funnel in place, you can see what prevents leads from moving to the next stage, understand their needs, and find ways to strengthen your relationships.
  • Insights for product development: Knowing what prospects expect at every stage of the sales funnel gives you a better view of how to improve your service or product.
  • Higher ROI: Crowning all the above-mentioned benefits, sales funnels help you to sell your product and increase your ROI since by building them once you can run many processes automatically.

With so many advantages, there is no doubt that you need to focus your attention on creating funnels to drive your sales.

And the best of all is that we will show you in practice.

Top funnel templates for your marketing and sales campaigns

We’ve collected 10 templates for your sales and marketing campaigns, so don’t hesitate to use them as a trusted source to build your sales funnels.

1. Product promotion sales funnel template

This funnel template is useful when you 1) want to encourage potential customers who have not yet expressed interest in your product; 2) you want your current customers to buy more.

You can start the funnel with a low-ticket item to get their attention. This could be a  free trial, a free demo, a cheap monthly subscription plan, etc.

After customers make that first small purchase or use your product sample, you qualify them and follow up with upselling.

Here you must offer them an irrefutable offer, for example, a discounted price, and explain how much they are saving and what added value they can gain.

If you are a start-up with a limited budget that cannot run paid ads to promote products, you can opt for alternatives like a product landing page or social media.

2. Lead magnet sales funnel template

Generating leads is not an easy task. If your company uses an inbound approach, a lead magnet sales funnel template will be of great help. Let’s take a look at the step-by-step.

First, you need to create something that you can offer your website visitors for free. This could be, for example, a case study, whitepaper, ebook, or in-depth industry report — in exchange for your contact details.

After your visitors submit their email addresses, send them a “Thank you” email with a promised freebie.

You now have a list of leads that you can nurture with relevant content and compelling offers.

3. Product launch sales funnel template

You can also use lead magnets for product launches!

For example, this template below starts with an opt-in form that ensures your prospects receive high-quality promotional content, such as an email with a sales video attached, in exchange for their contact details.

The next step will be to upload 3-4 educational videos with useful and practical information about your product, how it works and how a customer can benefit from it. Just keep in mind that these videos must provide real value to the potential customer.

This will help you build rapport with your potential customers and grow your relationships to the level where they will be most apt to buy your newly launched product or service.

4. Webinar Sales Funnel Template

Serving as a good means of generating high-quality leads, webinars are a goldmine for sales and marketing experts!

First, your website visitors provide their contact details when they register for your webinar. You then immediately send a confirmation email in which you thank them for their interest.

Then you run a webinar and send a recorded version to everyone who signed up. And here’s where your CTA comes into play: mention your product in your follow-up email, inviting webinar attendees to check it out.

If they can solve their pain points with it — they won’t be able to resist buying it.

5. Live Demo Sales Funnel Template

This funnel template helps you sell by adding live demo videos of how your product works to your website.

All you need to do is create a live demo page with the live (recorded) Q&A videos and link it to the subscription page, where you can offer a limited-time offer to leads who watched the videos. of questions and answers until the end.

6. High Income Sales Funnel Model

Selling high-income products like premium software or a consulting service can seem like a daunting task. The price of a deal is too high for a customer to make an impulse decision.

In this scenario, it would help if you build a sales funnel that consists of several well-thought-out steps.

First, create an online event page (by the way, the aforementioned webinar might be a good solution!) where visitors can register and leave their email addresses.

Then, send your visitors a follow-up email with a “thank you” message, providing them with a link to the online event.

The online event should be well-prepared to highlight the real value and benefits of your product and encourage visitors to take it to the next level.

At the end of the online event, redirect visitors to the call-to-action page, where you won’t necessarily pressure them to buy a product right away. Instead, you can ask them to pay a small deposit for the product if they’ve already decided to buy it. SQL vs MQL: What are the Differences between MQL and SQL

7. Tripwire sales funnel model

Unlike high-ticket deals, a tripwire is a low-price deal. The main objective here is to turn a prospect into a customer and prepare them for a bigger, more expensive proposal.

As a general rule, this should be a valuable product that you are selling at an attractive price.

But there’s another good thing about doing a tripwire sales funnel – even if it doesn’t result in you selling a more expensive product, it will enrich your email list with new leads because when ordering a tripwire product, your target customers will have to leave your email addresses.

8. Social Media + Email Sales Funnel Template

You can dramatically boost sales if you combine the power of your social media and email marketing strategies.

For example, you can start with a social media post where you invite your followers to an online event. In addition to a social media post, send an invite email to your subscriber list to generate more interest in your event.

At the end of the event, redirect visitors to the call-to-action page where you will offer them your main product.

9. Custom Pricing Plan Sales Funnel Template

This funnel model suits SaaS companies that provide services to small businesses that cannot afford large-scale solutions.

Start your sales funnel on a product landing page, where prospects can choose between two CTAs: whether they start using your product by providing their contact details (and automatically joining your list of prospects) or they are redirected to the pricing plan page.

On the pricing plan page, you can highlight various options to compare and offer users a custom plan based on the number of their contacts.

This way, you will provide them with an option to save costs, thus increasing your chances of converting them into customers.

10. Cancellation Sales Funnel Template

This funnel template is used as a lifeboat when a user wants to unsubscribe.

To retain them, start with a survey page designed to find out the reasons for cancellation. Then you must make an irresistible offer for them to stay. For example, a discount on their plan for the next month. TOP 15 Marketing Tips on WhatsApp

Sales funnel elements

As you may have noticed, most sales and marketing funnel templates consist of similar small elements that create sales funnel patterns.

Let’s take a closer look at the most common of them:

Ads: Paid ads bring in leads through Google or social media platforms (like LinkedIn or Facebook). This is the crucial step for every sale funnel as it feeds your system with leads. But if your business cannot afford paid advertising, there are other ways to build brand awareness, for example, email marketing, video advertising, audio channels, etc.

Lead magnet: Your leads are usually brought from ads to the landing page. Most of the time, the page contains a lead magnet that offers some value for free (coupon, webinar, ebook, etc.) in exchange for your lead’s contact information. That way, you can get the prospect’s email address to continue moving them through the sales funnel.

Thank You (TY) / Congratulations Page: As soon as your prospect downloads a lead magnet (eBook, presentation, etc.), they will be forwarded to a TY page or Congratulations page, which works well to increase the leads’ enthusiasm to continue moving towards the purchase.

Long sales page: The TY page should take your prospect to a Sales Lead Gen/Long-Form page that contains all the best elements of a standard sales page. That way, there’s no need to worry that leads might fall out of your sales funnel.

Checkout page: After the long sales page, potential customers interested in your offer will be redirected to a checkout page to complete their purchase.

Post-checkout email follow-up: After a person schedules a call or purchases your product, they should receive a follow-up email sequence. Your goal is to keep nurturing your customers even after the purchase has been made. That way, your offer can bring even more value to them and help them turn existing customers into repeat buyers and brand ambassadors.

How to create a high converting sales funnel: practical tips to consider

Now that you’ve received some useful sales funnel templates, let’s cap off the post with effective tips on how to build your sales funnel like a pro.

Keeping these little rules in mind, you’ll be more confident when creating funnels for your sales and marketing campaigns. B2B Sales for Startups: A Simple Guide to Getting Started Selling

Know your ideal customer

Analyze your prospects and create an ideal customer profile to ensure you are building your sales funnel around people who have a high probability of buying your product or service.

Consider their buying behavior and filmography so you understand what your prospect needs, what communication channels they prefer, what the best source of their leads is, etc.

Customize your customer journey

Moving from stage to stage of your sales cycle, always remember that at each stage your customers expect a positive experience with your brand. Personalization allows you to build connections with potential customers in the best way.

Drive traffic to your website

Start-up companies that don’t have large sums of money to invest in advertising should focus on how to draw their potential customer’s attention to their website.

Otherwise, lead magnets and perfectly designed product pages will remain invisible.

You can drive more traffic to your website through  SEO, blogging and guest posting, email marketing campaigns, and everything in between. Remember that you will not make a horse drink the water unless you take it to the water. Lead Prospecting: What is it and How to Do It

Engage your customers

Lighting a fire is one thing; another thing is to keep the fire burning. The same with your customers. Never ever settle into your relationship with them from the first stage of the sales funnel.

You can do this in several ways, for example:

  • Write engaging blog articles that will spark your customer’s interest and feedback.
  • Create educational content, especially videos that will tell your customers about your product or service in an interactive way.
  • Use social media where you can promote your product and interact with your customers.

Use sales automation tools

As your customer base grows, things will get crazier, so you’ll feel a strong need to better control your sales funnels.

Entering leads into the sales funnel, moving from stage to stage, turning and converting, can become a real mess that you will find difficult to manage manually.

So whatever complex your sales cycle is, you should find a reliable marketing and sales automation tool.

And this is where the Free sales funnel Tool can become your best friend. It offers a free CRM, is an ideal choice for startups, and boasts an advanced toolkit for lead generation and sales outreach.


Having a well-structured sales funnel in front of your eyes alleviates all the pain you might have when organizing your sales routine. We hope that the sales funnel templates we have provided in this post will help you create your own powerful sales funnels for any occasion. What is customer retention? How to build a customer retention strategy?

And when it comes to automating your tasks, remember to choose a reliable sales automation tool like the Free sales funnel Tool and take the opportunity to see how well your sales funnels work in practice.

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