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Keywords: Diagramming, Diagrams in UML, Information visualization, Sales funnel 

Sales Funnel

A sales funnel (also known as purchase funnel, purchasing funnel, revenue funnel, buying funnel, earnings process, customer funnel, or simply 'funnel') is a marketing model that depicts the user journey or customer journey, which encompasses the stages that a customer expects to go through when buying a product or service. This concept is based on the assumption that all customers are led through similar stages when making a purchase. The first step in the traditional sales funnel is 'awareness' and the last step is the 'action.' Visualizing your sales funnel can transform your organization since it is versatile and customizable from company to company. 

Generic Sales funnel template source: for Confluence

AIDA Model

In 1898, E. St. Elmo Lewis, developed a model that mapped the customer journey from the moment a customer became aware of a product or service's existence to the point of action or purchase. In 1924, William W. Townsend, in Bond Salesmanship, first proposed the associated of the sales funnel with stages of the AIDA model. The AIDA model is an acronym, which stands for Awareness, Interest, Desire, and Action. 

  • Step 1: Awareness this step usually contains the largest amount of prospective customers, who are aware of a product's existence through content marketing, social media campaign, or other avenues. 
  • Step 2: Interest at this stage, the number of prospect customers decreases, but the possibility of sales increases. The customers express interest in the product and generally inquire for more information. 
  • Step 3: Desire/Decision the customers want the product or brand.
  • Step 4: Action all the previous stages funnel down into the final step. At this point customers take action towards purchasing the product. 

Marketing Funnel

Many people use the term "sales funnel" and "conversion funnel" or "marketing funnel" interchangeably. Both funnels represent the customer journey, but from different angles. While the sales funnel focus is to sell, the goal of the marketing funnel is to raise awareness. The main elements of the conversional or marketing funnel are represented in three acronyms: top of the funnel (TOFU), middle of the funnel (MOFU), and bottom of the funnel (BOFU).

  • TOFU - This coincides with the traditional awareness stage found in the sales funnel. The objective as this stage is to educate audience by creating relevant content and being seen. 
  • MOFU - This constitutes the traditional interest stage. The objective is to continue to create information content, but introduce your product or service as a potential solution to customer's pain points. This stage can be challenging as communication strategies have to be be meaningful for a vast audience with distinct wants and needs. 
  • BOFU - This includes desire and action stages. The objective is to focus on creating case studies, testimonials, and reviews as potential customers will be at their maximum level of interest. 

The modern marketing funnel has many entry points, meaning people can enter or exit at any stage. This is why a modern and effective online marketing strategy requires an omnichannel approach that unifies all channels (physical and digital) into one seamless customer experience that even leads to loyal customers or brand advocates.  

Leaks in the Funnel

Essentially a sales or marketing funnel can help optimize the sale or marketing process and make sure that no opportunities are being missed. The funnel allows its user to get a clearer understanding of the customer journey, and control over the entire process. Once you have created a sales or marketing funnel, it is important to consider where potential customers are being lost. Questions to consider include: 

  • Where are the bottlenecks in the process?
  • Where are potential customers being lost?
  • What are the positive trigger points that result in a sale? 

Leaks in the sales or marketing funnel has three basic causes this includes dismissing prospects too quickly, not following up on prospective customers, and slow response rate. Possible solutions could include automative processes. 

How to Create a Sales or Marketing Funnel

There are several ways to make a sales or marketing funnel. Today, funnels are created using diagramming tools such as app, a software tool sponsored by Seibert Media. Learn how to create a sales or marketing funnel using and find more information through the blog or youtube channel for helpful tips and tricks. 

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This content was last updated on 04/21/2021.

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