Inbound Marketing: What is the Sales Funnel?

icon-set_15What is the sales funnel

The sales funnel visually describes the sales process from initial contact
to final sale.

The stages of a sales process refer to a potential customer’s degree of readiness to commit to a deal (from the seller’s perspective). Or put in a different way, readiness may be seen as the probability of the sale taking place.

As a sales opportunity moves down the funnel, time to closing decreases and the probability of the sale occurring increases. The sales funnel metaphor enables you to analyze and manage a portfolio of sales opportunities.

Mechanics of the sales funnel

In the process of pursuing a sales opportunity, you essentially work to remove barriers to the sale. When you remove a barrier, the opportunity moves to the next stage. Barriers include uncertainty about your product’s fit and value, lack of budget or the customer’s buying process.

You can manage the sales funnel by developing sales metrics appropriate for your business.

As you gain experience in working with customers and sales processes, you can create your own version of the sales funnel, complete with specific steps and actions to move prospects from stage to stage. What we have described here can act as a starting point or template.

Stages in the sales funnel

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