The 4 stages of the Sales Funnel

  • Date: 13 May 2019
  • reading time: 5 Minutes
  • Blogger: Francisca Zimmermann

What is a sales funnel

If you are running a business, you are most likely to have heard of a sales funnel before. The sales funnel is an essential piece of sales planning that can make or break the way you turn strangers into customers.

But what exactly is a sales funnel? Very simply put, it's a planned route that marketers because potential customers to take, from the first time they hear a company's name until the moment they turn into loyal fans.

sales funnel

Let's just give you an example. An e-commerce store is building a sales funnel. The ultimate goal for the store is to sell products. But how do they get there? The store starts with the promotion of simple style boards and tips on social media. This is where many people hear the store's name for the first time.

The funnel starts here, with the widest part. Then, through a social media ad, the company places an offer. 'Sign up for our newsletter now, to receive a discount'. A part of the total followers will sign up, which gives the store access to their e-mail addresses. This is the next step in the funnel, which becomes slightly narrower already.

The store now sends a reminder email to everyone who signed up, to give them an even better offer. Some people like the offer and buy a product. This is the end of the funnel. The funnel is narrow now, there are only a few people left; the ones who turned into customers. Or course, this is just a simple example, a funnel can be more complicated and can include stages completely different than the ones in this example.

Interesting enough, many business owners know that the funnel exists but don't know the exact stages of the funnel. And even worse, they have no idea how to plan and handle those internships in a way that benefits their business.

girl on laptop

In this blog, we will look at the main stages of the funnel. We will discuss the primary goal of each stage, and will clearly describe how you can use them to grow your business.

The awareness stage

The first stage is the awareness stage. In this stage, the goal is to reach as many people as possible and make them aware of your brand. How you do this depends on your business and your target market. In many cases, it's useful to define what you think your target market would need your help with. Why would they be interested in your product or service? And what could, in a very general way, get their attention?

Let's give an example. Imagine, you are a business coach. Your final goal is to have people sign up for your coaching program. However, in the awareness stage, you are not yet selling your product. You are just making sure the right people know your business and would consider signing up a later internship.

How would you, as a business coach, get the attention of the right people? This would be most likely through interesting content that is related to the target market's interest. You could think of a blog on 'productivity at work', 'how to start your own business' or 'how to find the right work-life balance'


The more people like your content, the more this content will be shared and reach a larger and larger audience. Of course social media is a great way to reach large numbers of people, but blogs, events and collaborations could contribute to your audience growth too.

The interest stage

But how do you get people actually interested in what you offer? How do you move them from the Awareness stage to the Interest stage?

The interest stage is the stage where people not only follow you, but also show some kind of interest in what you do. They sign up for a newsletter, download an e-book or contact you with a question or comment. This is often the stage where a company is to collect contact details from potential customers, which turns them into real leads.

There are many ways to move people towards the interest stage. A great strategy that we like to use at Social Media Guide is the creation of lead magnets . A lead magnet is a free and usually digital product that actually helps the target customer with something. It can be a nice ebook, a poster, an infographic, or anything that can be downloaded easily. To be able to download this product, the new leads will be asked to enter their name and email address. And there they go, from anonymous fan to active lead.

Mario Bro

Once the e-mail addresses have been collected, e-mail offers and newsletters can be a great way to retarget the group that showed interest already. Keep your email list up to date on company updates, send them new digital products, and make sure they will like and remember what you do.

The decision stage

The decision stage is a critical one. While, most probably, potential customers have been unsure about purchasing anything so far, the decision to buy is made in this stage. However, a decision to buy a product or service doesn't necessarily mean it will be bought from you. There are many companies around, and chances are that your leads are looking at other companies as well.

I this stage, the main goal is to make sure your company stands out.

You may be in touch with your leads and you can contact them on the phone or by email. Make sure you are under the attention of your leads, by offering content that is very specific. Your leads because to know why they should choose your product or service, so you need to give them the information they are looking for. Think of a blog on new developments within your field and why your business is fully up to date with the latest trends, or share a comparison between different products - including yours. Place yourself 'in the shoes' or someone who is comparing brands to make a purchase. What would you want to hear?

The action stage

The last stage is the action stage. This is the stage in which your leads take the action you want them to take. Although you may think there is no action required at this stage of the funnel, there is actually. Make sure the purchase that your new customer does goes as smooth as possible. Offer perfect customer service and make sure your customer would purchase from you again. The better his or her experience, the more likely he or she is to refer your business to a friend and buy from you again.


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  • Blogger: Francisca Zimmermann
  • E-mail: [email protected]
  • Social media manager & content creator at Social Media Gids
  • Francisca Zimmermann is a social media expert with a background in research and a love for learning new things. She travels the world looking for beautiful places and interesting cultures, while she dives into the world of her clients to be able to write about them and their interests as a real 'insider'.
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