Deep Look At The Sales Funnel: Stages, Definition, Process & Examples

Zurab Samushia
Aug 31, 2021

Imagine that: there is an apparel store. People walk by it, some enter. An entered client sees something of her interest: nice jeans. She approaches the cloth rack and looks at jeans, defining, whether these fit and look good. Then she picks several sizes and goes to a fitting room, where she eventually chooses two best-sitting models. But as she only has money for one, she makes a final choice and goes to a counter, where she pays with a card. The purchase is packed and a discount card for future sales is presented along. She happily leaves the store.

Here, you see the process of a purchase, which has undergone all the stages – from entering the store to exiting it with a purchase. This is the best possible event flow since the client has completely filtered through all stages of the sales funnel, successfully reaching the very end of it. It does not always happen in reality. And that is where you shall see at the sales funnels given the provided example – for the best understanding of the notion.

Sales funnel definition and why it is important

What is a sales funnel? It is a marketing notion used to describe the stages of work with a person or company before they buy a product or service, considering that clients will fall off the stages of the funnel while getting through them. It was named a funnel exactly because it narrows from top to bottom, the same as client flows do.

In the above-given example, there visible clear steps of the sales funnel also called marketing funnel stages:

  1. Of all those 100% of clients passing by the store, only some percentage walks in.
  2. Of those people who went in, some never approach the apparel racks.
  3. Of those approached ones, some don’t find the model or size they’re interested in.
  4. Of those who found a model/size, some think the price is too high.
  5. Of those who took a pair or two to the fitting rooms, some don’t find themselves pretty in these pieces of apparel or they don’t fit.
  6. Of those who have done well in a fitting room, some reconsider making the purchase. For whatever reason.
  7. Of those who have taken the apparel to the cash desk, some might have a current shortage of cash, so they don’t buy.
  8. Finally, some percentage of people buy apparel.

But that’s not the end of the funnel – many sales processes have various superstructures above the sell per se. Advancing the familiar example, there could be the return of apparel back to the store (with money back) or even filing a court case because the bought apparel made the host choke. As well as there are pleasant examples of continuation: she used a discount card in the next purchase and she told her peers about a great store, now coming back to you for more purchases with a hot audience.

So, after you sell, the work with a client does not stop. You could turn 1 sale into 10 by various discounts, promos, special offers and events, lotteries, and email campaigns with new products.

Sales funnel stages

Depending on the exact business you have, the sales funnel template would change, as well as the exact steps, as well as the percentage of leads and prospects that fall off every stage, never getting to the point of becoming a client by purchasing. Eventually, you are left with anything between 100% and 0% of potential buyers willing to buy from you. However, there exists the AIDA model, which offers 4 steps, workable in most funnels.

Awareness, Interest, Decision, Action.

Awareness is the first point of contact of a person/company with your brand or offer. It’s like, “Hey, they exist!”

Interest is about expressing a potential desire to buy anything from you. At this stage, contact data may be left to some “Contact Me” form. Here, you receive a lead. It’s like, “Hey, I want to know more about you!”

A decision is when a client finds out about a product and brand. This stage can include seeing promos, presentations, catalogs, visiting events, and otherwise being pushed towards knowledge. Finally, he or she decides. It’s like, “Hey, I want to buy from you!”

Finally, Action is when a client buys a product from you. This stage would also include work with objections. It’s like, “Hey, here is my money!”

The funnel of sales is not JUST about seeing how many people fall off – it is about doing something. Actions you undertake to lower the refusal rate on each stage will improve your conversion on those funnel steps. Thus, by simply doubling clients filtered through 2 steps on the 8-step shown funnel in the retail apparel store above, you’ll make 4 times more clients getting to the cash desk!

What is a click funnel

Funnel in the online sale business uses the same approach. Only as there is little to no personal interaction, most actions and client decisions are recognized by the mouse clicks. The funnel is as such: from all website visitors, how many clicked on the offer, studied it, left their data or contacts, subscribed, or bought from you. The wise analysis makes it possible to determine, what improvements could be made to convert clicks into sales.

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