Sales funnel vs Marketing funnel: Know The Difference

Gabriel Ryan
August 11, 2023
December 12, 2022

What is the Difference Between Marketing and Sales?

Marketing focuses on increasing brand awareness and product promotion. Effective marketing will provide outreach and find potential customers.

Essentially great marketing acts as lead generation. Sales, however, convert the increased viewership and qualified leads from effective marketing into profit.

What are Marketing Funnels?

A marketing funnel helps prospects through the customer journey. The steps are:

  1. Awareness
  2. Interest
  3. Desire
  4. Action

While the prospective customer travels through the marketing funnel, each step must be achieved before the customer can move on to the next one.

Through the marketing funnel, marketing strategies will help potential customers by creating lead-generation tools. Moreover, marketing teams will find pain points and develop better methods to attract, engage and convert leads into paying customers.

Marketing teams help a sales prospect through the marketing funnel by creating many sources to drive engagement and attract leads. Examples of touch points in a marketing funnel are landing pages, viral content marketing, advertisements and email marketing.

Benefits of a Marketing Funnel


Key metrics such as Google Analytics or social media metrics can be used to determine whether you are reaching your target audience and if they are engaging with the marketing content.

Helps Build Trust

Informational materials in particular, help establish legitimacy for a brand. Moreover, content helps the customer view your company as an industry expert.

Additionally, case studies and customer testimonials help the sales prospect see your product or service as worth of their attention.

Improves Marketing Strategy

By addressing each point along a customer journey, a prospective customer is more likely to convert through the funnel successfully, which will streamline sales and marketing efforts.

Creates Assets for your Sales Team

A marketing funnel helps potential customers become educated about a product before interacting with sales teams. This allows sales reps to focus on closing the sale and creates opportunities for the marketing materials to be used as sales tools.

Stages of a Marketing Funnel

Top-of-funnel marketing (TOFU) focuses on generating customer awareness. This is the first time a customer will interact with your brand, so the content must be attractive. Creating an excellent landing page, viral campaigns, and Google and social media ads are examples of TOFU marketing.

Middle-of-funnel marketing is aimed at customers who have engaged with your brand previously by subscribing to an email list or following the brand on social media. Middle-of-funnel marketing focuses on nurturing qualified leads by providing value beyond a purchase. This can include offering solutions, opening web chat channels and communicating technology or information that sets your brand apart as an industry expert.

Bottom-of-funnel marketing focuses on converting a qualified lead into a loyal customer. This marketing stage is focused on conversions and creating loyal customers. Offering a free trial, sharing customer testimonials or creating a price comparison chart can help generate sales.

Measuring the Success of a Marketing Funnel

There are several metrics to look at to determine the success of a marketing funnel.

Cost per acquisition (CPA) determines how much each customer cost to gain. Marketing teams generally obtain this data by viewing how much each ad cost and how many sales were generated within that time.

Customer lifetime value determines the loyalty of the new leads. Essentially, this metric observes the level of customer retention and the number of additional purchases through upsells.

Conversion rates focus on how well a customer moves through the marketing funnel. However, conversion rate per channel can break this metric down to determine which avenue is most valuable to your company. For instance, Facebook ads may drive a lot of traffic to your webpage versus YouTube. Therefore, Facebook has a higher conversion rate.

Marketing Funnel Tools

Using the right technology tools is essential to improve your marketing technique and move potential customers through the marketing stages.


Canva is a design tool that helps create checklists and infographics that convey information quickly.


Typeform can create interactive content such as quizzes and surveys. The information gathered can help divide customers into different subsets and allow you to market to them better.


Leadpages helps a marketing team build an engaging website, landing page, pop-ups and online ads. Moreover, Leadpages offers users the opportunity to optimize content continually.


Funnelflows help a marketing team visualize each step of the marketing funnel. This allows marketers to view pain points and keep track of different branches of the funnel to create a sales support marketing strategy.


SendinBlue allows marketing teams to send emails at the right time using machine learning to determine which times gather the most engagement for emails.

Marketing Funnel Examples

NYX: NYX has stellar photos on their Pinterest page with different photos of its beauty products. Once customers click on a picture, they are directed toward a specialized portion of the website designated for that particular beauty product. The website will give the viewer several options to choose from. Afterwards, the customer will hopefully purchase a beauty product.

Snaptravel: Snaptravel begins its marketing funnel on its Facebook page. A potential customer is encouraged to interact with a chatbot immediately. After gathering information about where the prospect would like to visit, the chatbot presents the customer with a brief travel plan. This allows the customer to move through the sales funnel in minutes.

Wix: Wix appears first on many Google Searches through SEO searches about website creation. Their many blogs inform prospects about how to create landing pages. Wix then offers prospects a free trial and the opportunity to begin building a website immediately.

Bannersnack: Bannersnack uses Facebook pay per click ads to pique interest and inform prospects about potential benefits and unique video advertisements. After a prospect clicks on an ad, they are directed to the landing page where a customer is offered basic tools with the option to unlock premium advertising tools through purchase.

What Are Sales Funnels?

A sales funnel or sales pipeline is the process that you send your qualified leads through at the bottom of the funnel for them to become paying customers. Moreover, the sales funnel focuses on creating brand loyalty and brand advocates, along side the bottom of the marketing funnel. 

The main difference between a sales funnel vs marketing funnel is that sales funnels are often conversion funnels. A conversion funnel is focused on the bottom line and generating as much money as possible.

Many businesses simplify the marketing funnel into a simple conversion funnel that calculates how many customer interactions lead to sales.

Benefits of a Sales Funnel

Sales funnels increase productivity because revenue allows for a directly observable metric to determine the success of marketing activities.

Moreover, the sales funnel is highly predictable and easy to track. Instead of a marketing funnel which has many branches in the lead generation process, a sales funnel has sequential steps.

By observing each step, many businesses are able to optimize their management and determine which step is unnecessary or very popular to customers.

Because a sales funnel vs marketing funnel is so predictable, you are better able to monitor the movement of paying customers.

A sales representative will know which products are the most popular and which to promote. Moreover, many businesses use the data from a sales funnel to create better products.

Stages of a Sales Funnel

A sales funnel and marketing funnel each have stages. However, the sales funnel is the customer journey after potential customers become paying customers.

  1. Awareness
  2. Interest
  3. Decision
  4. Action

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Measuring Success of a Sales Funnel

Entry points

Entry points are all the different points from which your sales funnel starts. From an ad to an email, there are many different entry points in each sales process.

Measure which entry point is the most successful by adding up the number of leads reached per entry point within a specified timeframe.

Conversion rates

Conversion rates are simple paying customers divided by the number of leads reached. The average sales conversion on a landing page is 2.5%. Essentially, of every 1000 people to visit a webpage, only 25 will purchase a product.

Average sales

Average sales are the average amount paid by each customer. In order to calculate average sales, add up the gross revenue and divide it by the number of customers.

Sales Funnel Software

Avada Email Marketing

Avada email marketing helps create qualified leads through lead nurturing. Moreover, Avada helps follow up with customers to build trust and loyalty.


Leadpages helps both the sales and marketing funnel by creating stunning landing pages.


Kartra helps with customer acquisition and retention through many different sales and marketing tools such as CRM, landing page builders and email marketing.


BigContacts helps to create workflows that funnel leads through different portions of the sales funnel. By increasing touchpoints, brands are able to manage customer interactions and utilize robust communication tools to outpace others within competitive markets.


Moosend is another automation workflow that removes pressure and increases speed by providing pre-built templates. Moosend is great for many companies creating their first sales funnel.

Sales Funnel Examples

Groupon: Groupon gains traffic through ads and direct traffic as well as SEO. Once prospects reach their site, they are prompted to enter their information through an email opt in pop-up on their website. gets traffic through emotional video content with products placed throughout to gather customer trust. Once a prospect clicks on the video they are directed to a stunning website with social proof. gets traffic through newsletters and articles. Once a potential customer enters the website, AutoGrow presents them with a call to action through a demo video. Then, customers are given a price chart which gives all the information and offers prospects autonomy to make an informed decision.

Basecamp gathers traffic mainly through organic searches and blogs. The Homepage shows a product demo and visitors are offered a 30-day free trial to test the product without entering credit card information.

Difference Between Sales and Marketing Funnels

Sales and marketing funnels share many similarities. However, Marketing funnels focus on advertising a product, promoting awareness and generating leads. On the other hand, a sales funnel deals with the qualified lead from the marketing funnel.

After a lead has been converted, the sales funnel focuses on customer loyalty and gaining as much revenue from each paying customer.

Coordinating Your Sales Funnel vs Marketing Funnel

Since sales funnels and marketing funnels share so many similarities, you can optimize your marketing campaigns by creating content that addresses both the sales funnel and the marketing funnel. For instance, price charts are great mid-funnel marketing tools. At the same time, they are a great tool to get a paying customer to purchase more products or update a subscription.

Importance of Coordinated Marketing and Sales Funnels

A marketing funnel helps nurture leads and promote customer loyalty. A customer who has gone through the marketing funnel is educated and excited to engage with your brand.

More engaged and motivated customers translate into loyalty, advocacy and conversions.

Creating a coordinated inbound marketing and sales funnel with many touch points and an organized workflow helps sales and marketing teams visualize the customer journey and increase sales.

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