sales funnel stages

The 5 Most Common Sales Funnel Stages and How To Use Them

Elena Hudgens
By Elena Hudgens 9 Min Read

The marketing term describes buyers’ potential journey to purchase a sales funnel. A sales funnel has multiple steps, i.e., The top, middle, and bottom of the funnel. However, these stages might vary depending on a company’s sales model. 

Any business owner understands the agony of missing a sale. After weeks of pitches and demos, banter, and charm, the prospect leaves the sales to funnel without purchasing.

It happens all the time. It happens less frequently when you have the right sales funnel management help. Many small business sales funnels have holes due to dishevelled spreadsheets, sticky notes, missed appointments, and forgotten follow-ups.

A sales funnel provides a relationship-focused framework for you to follow, preventing you from pitching too soon. Rather than persuading potential clients to buy your products or services, the sales funnel allows you to educate them to make an informed decision.

Sales Funnel Stages

Prospects go through numerous sales funnel stages from the minute they learn about your product or service until they make a purchase (or don’t). The path through your funnel may differ from one prospect to the next, but at the end of the day, they’ll judge it depending on their level of interest. They’ll consider the problem they seek to solve and undertake competitive research to ensure that your answer is the best.

stages of a sales funnel.

You need to provide detailed information, content, or solutions at each level of the sales funnel stages to help your prospects get closer to making a buy.

Let’s look at what happens at each level of the funnel and how you can improve each step to appeal to your target audience more effectively.

Research and preparation: Stage 0


Although research and preparation aren’t technically a stage in the sales funnel stages, the first step is critical to future success. Get to know who you’re attempting to attract and who you are as a company before starting.

Begin by determining your brand values. What do you want your organization to be known for? As a salesperson, what do you stand for? What are the qualities, characteristics, or skills that your team values? What is the personality of your company?

Understanding the foundation of your business allows you to build stronger, more valuable customer relationships.

Patagonia’s aim, for example, isn’t to sell jackets or hiking gear. Their goal is to save the world. This more significant “cause for being” fosters a sense of common interest between the company and potential customers, enabling consumers to form long-term relationships with the brand.

It would be best to know your target customer for reasons other than a potential profit. Making a buyer persona gives you an overview of your ideal customer, what challenges they’re dealing with, and what solutions you can offer to make their lives simpler.

Awareness: Stage 1

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The awareness stage is at the very top of the sales funnel stages. This stage’s principal purpose is to increase your brand’s visibility and begin gathering leads. While you want to make sure you’re targeting the correct folks, you can also cast a wide net at this point.

You want to draw attention to your brand at the awareness stage, but you don’t have to push any specific product or service. Instead, concentrate on exchanging ideas, solutions, or recommendations.

Here are a few ideas for increasing brand awareness:

Content should be educational and entertaining at this point in the sales funnel stages. It must stand out in a congested environment. Don’t be frightened to use your imagination.

Evaluation and interest: Stage 2

After converting from the awareness stage, a lead enters the sales funnel’s interest and assessment stage. You’ve piqued a lead’s interest, and they’d like to learn more about a particular concept, worry, or inquiry. They are, however, still unwilling to consider a purchase.

At this point, your primary goal is to establish a relationship with your new lead to figure out what their final goals are. Create a consistent brand voice and message that your target audience can relate to, and share it across several content platforms to accomplish this:

Here are some content ideas for the sales funnel’s interest stage:

  • Email marketing campaigns
  • Posts on the blog
  • Lead Magnets 
  • Chatbots
  • Use of social media
  • Retargeting campaigns
  • Free trials 

Desires: Stage 3

Your lead is now a full-fledged prospect at this point in the sales funnel stages. You’ve not only piqued their interest and piqued their interest in your company, but they’re also considering making a purchase.

You’re not quite ready to seal the deal, though.

Your prospects are still unsure if your solution is the best fit for their requirements. They’ll be looking to see if your offer fits into their budget, current business strategy, and what kind of results they may expect.

Taking Action: Step 4

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This is where all of the Action takes place. You’re ready to close the deal and convert your prospect after properly nurturing your lead.

However, your aim at this point isn’t simply to persuade your almost-customer to buy. You should also provide them with the tools they need to succeed with your product or service. This entails providing them with educational resources that will aid in the introduction — and, more crucially, the integration — of the new solution into their daily life.

At the action step of the sales funnel stages, there are a few types of content to include:

  • Customer or insider success advice
  • Unique offers
  • Webinars for product implementation or training
  • Packages that are bundled
  • Email follow-up campaigns

Re-engagement: Step 5 

Customers loyal to a brand can be the best thing for it. A 5% improvement in client retention rate might result in a profit increase of 25 percent to 95 percent. And satisfied consumers aren’t just more likely to buy more; they’re also more likely to recommend you to their friends.

Re-engaging with customers who have had a positive experience with your brand might motivate them to make a second purchase and provide you with referrals that lead to new conversions and customers.

Here are a few suggestions for re-engaging customers:

  • Programs for referring others
  • Campaigns to upsell
  • Email campaigns to re-engage customers
  • Webinars and lessons focused on specific products
  • Live demonstrations

To put it another way, your customers should never be bored with your material. Even if they’ve previously purchased and are happy with the service you’re giving, you’ll want to keep them interested by delivering deals, information, and developments.

Focus on maintaining your long-term relationship at this point in the sales funnel stages. This could be accomplished by introducing new features and goods that customers would find appealing or encouraging customers to become brand ambassadors.

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Posted by Elena Hudgens
Elena Hudgens is an entrepreneur with 10+ years of experience. She started her journey by building her own e-commerce website on Shopify and turned her $1000 savings to millions in just 2 years. Soon she started different ventures in which she failed and succeeded. And now, she's on a mission to help other entrepreneurs with her life and business lessons.
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