What is a Sales Funnel? (& What You Should Make Instead)

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Over the past 50 years, companies lived or died by the efficiency of the sales funnel. It was simple to fill the top with prospects and turn them into customers when they reached the bottom.

However, here’s the problem -the sales landscape is always changing; however, the sales funnel isn’t. The buyer’s journey no more takes a straight road from awareness to buy. In actuality, buyers take many detours.

Read Also: What Is A Sales Pipeline And How Do You Build One?

Now, it’s the responsibility of sales executives to redesign the funnel or develop a different one. Let’s look closer at the sale funnel to see what differs from the Flywheel and then consider the best model for your company.

What is a Sales Funnel?

A sales funnel represents your potential customers’ steps to becoming a buyer. It outlines distinct stages of the customer’s journey, from the first contact to closing the sale.

A sales funnel is a process that begins with a huge number of buyers who could be at the highest. The pool of potential buyers will be reduced to fewer potential customers based on certain parameters.

At the midpoint of the customer journey, the number of potential customers decreases to just a handful of possibilities — and after the decision-making phase, the selling process concludes with a closed-won deal.


As every individual deal change through each phase, the probability of closing the sale will alter . The further along the sales funnel, the more information is exchanged, and the more apparent it becomes using the product will be benefit to the customer.

At this moment, there’s more chance that the deal to ultimately be successful until the deal is changed into a loss-to-close — and in that case, the likelihood decreases to zero.

In my career in sales, I’ve seen the sales funnel address several issues for sales leaders:

  1. It was a clearly-defined method to demonstrate how to make more deals.
  2. It was a way to quantify the value of future sales.
  3. It was a way for sales teams to develop statistics around the number of transactions needed to exceed the quota mathematically.
  4. The sales funnel was instrumental in defining the method to train salespeople to guide customers through a clear sales process and then into a closing sequence to increase reps’ efficiency and reduce costs per lead.

Keep this idea of the sale funnel in your mind; let’s walk through a few actual example sales funnels.

Examples of Sales Funnel



Audible is an Amazon-owned provider of audiobooks and spoken-word content. The platform draws potential customers to its sales funnels by offering a one-month free service trial. If users sign-up for the trial, they’re given 30 days to test the service before they are automatically registered for a subscription of a month.



HoneyBook provides software for business management to help entrepreneurs with a creative flair. Its personality test for business magnets can help business owners determine their strengths. The test requires participants to give their email addresses so that they can be notified of their results.

Based on their results from the assessment, they’re placed in a nurturing email program that offers a specific business strategy according to their personality and the option to start a trial on HoneyBook.

Let’s look at how you can build the sales funnel of your dreams and whether one is the best choice for your company.

How to Design a Sales Funnel

Determine the issue you wish to resolve with your customer.

To make your sales funnel effective, you must know your target audience. Which are their biggest issues? Expectations? Interests? The more information you can gather, the better you can place your product and make interesting deals.

Determine your goals

Now is the time to set your objectives. It could be additional leads, product demos, e-newsletter subscriptions, or making purchases. Goals allow you to determine what you’re looking for from every stage of your funnel. It is essential to determine if it’s working.

Make a proposal to get leads

It’s obvious, but before you can turn prospects into customers, you have to grab the attention of potential customers. Consider what offers could draw attention, such as a free trial or an ebook in exchange for their contact details.

Qualify leads are used to verify your interest in the product

There aren’t all leads created to be equal? Some leads may be interesting. However, they aren’t the best fit for your company or vice versa. For example, a potential customer might sign up for your email newsletter, but they’re not in your profile as a customer.

You’ll have to decide what a qualifier lead will look like and follow up with leads that satisfy your requirements.

Nurture your qualified leads.

Imagine this scenario: prospects visit your site. They browse around, perhaps taking out a form to provide their contact details. They then go silent. Do you recognize this? If yes, then you should be focusing on lead cultivation.

Although most lead nurturing involves the simple drip email campaign, You have several other options that you can use, like the social web or paid Retargeting.

Whatever vehicle you pick, providing something that will move people towards making an informed decision, like an extended trial or a discount, is essential. The aim is to reduce feasible friction and allow leads to go further down the funnel.

Complete the deal

At this moment in the funnel, the lead is either a client or chose not to make the purchase. In any case, keeping the lines of communication open is crucial.

To attract customers, you’ll need to shift your focus to the retention of customers and establishing loyalty. If they don’t convert, return to your nurturing approach and follow up every few months. While they may not be converted at the moment, it could happen in the future.

Keep track of the final results and analyze sales figures

Even the best leads may slip through the cracks of your funnel. The best way to stop this is to identify areas of weakness, opportunities that aren’t being taken advantage of, and areas that could be improved. Remember that the sales funnel you have created isn’t in stone. It has to be constantly optimized.

Sales Funnel Vs. Flywheel

The modern sales procedure has dramatically changed in the last few years, rendering the old sales funnel obsolete.

Today, consumers are in charge of the selling process. Modern buyers spend more time researching a purchase before engaging with a salesperson. It reduces the value of sharing data.

Read Also: What Does a Sales Analyst Do? We Break It Down.

With an abundance of online data , today’s buyers require different skills from a salesperson and often exhibit a different manner of behavior than buyers in the past. The modern buyer might get extremely excited about a purchase and invest a lot of time researching but then suddenly stop in the middle of the sale, often without any reason whatsoever.

It is why certain firms use an e-flywheel instead of a sales funnel.

flywheel funnel[Image: Source]

The Flywheel is a concept that HubSpot modified to explain the dynamism you achieve when you unite the entire business around providing an exceptional customer experience which results in happy customers, which generates referrals and repeat sales.

How does the flywheel function?

To get your flywheel spinning, you must add power to it. It is done by investing significant funds in strategies that help you attract and keep customers.

Once you’ve accumulated enough initial customers and you guarantee the happiness and satisfaction of them and they become a major force in your drive. It is because they purchase from you in the future or gain new customers by introducing your business to their networks. It is a key factor in keeping your Flywheel moving without putting all your effort into acquiring new customers.

Also, instead of having your sales staff explain the benefits of your product or service, use the energy of your satisfied customers to encourage referrals and repeat sales.

With a flywheel, you can create a community or a community of customers who can assist each other. To make a modern process of selling flywheels is better than a sales funnel since it uses the current customers to attract and entice new customers.

How to build the Flywheel

Know that your customers’ current preferences are more influential than other influences.

Customers trust the reviews and the experiences and opinions of your existing customers. In reality, 84% of people are influenced by online reviews more than an individual recommendations. Utilize this by ensuring you have plenty of use instances, customer testimonials, and references to your current clients describing the strengths of your product or service.

Your loyal customers should create social proof

Social proof refers to the psychological notion that people decide the truth by examining what others believe to be right. Reviews from customers are 12x more trustworthy than the descriptions you get from manufacturers. The social web is an effective tool for creating social proof. Let the experiences and stories of your happy customers create engaging and converting content for you.

Find the areas of friction and force

Force propels the sales process ahead. Force is a powerful tool that includes accurate and current information, a thorough comprehension of the problem, and your ability to hear and be responsive overall.

On the other hand, friction can slow down sales processes. In simple terms, when a customer has to go through hoops too many times or is confronted with obstacles or difficulties in the selling process, it creates friction that creates more work for you.

When you identify the areas of friction and force, You can focus on the actions that add more energy to the ability of your team to push the sale and eliminate unnecessary obstructions to provide a frictionless experience. It will keep the wheel going and keep your clients satisfied.

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