What are the stages of the sales funnel?

The stages of the sales funnel are top, middle and bottom . It is very common to see these names in marketing and sales reports, but used in English:

  • Top of the funnel (ToFu):
  • Middle of the funnel (MoFu);
  • Bottom of the funnel (BoFu).

Each step is a phase within the buying process that the customer is in. At the top of the funnel is usually the customer who is still getting to know the brand, product or service.

In between, the customer who already considers closing a deal, having more contact with the brand and its offers, simulating purchases in its e-commerce, having had some kind of contact with customer service, etc.

At the bottom of the funnel, located at the end of the process, is the customer who is approaching the end of the journey to purchase the product or service.

In this way, if the company understands well which customers are at each stage, it can create more assertive strategies and initiatives for each of these groups, optimizing its investments.

Top of the Funnel: Discovery

The top of the funnel is the first stage of the sales or marketing funnel process and, not surprisingly, it is also the broadest.

This is because it covers a larger number of people, and naturally not all of them will follow until the end of the path to conversion — since, as the name of the model itself says, the path becomes narrower and the number of customers will decrease with each stage.

At the top of the funnel, the customer has the first contact with your brand and/or product, be it a service or a consumer good. This phase is known as the moment of awareness, discovery and learning or prospecting.

It’s time to show that you understand the subject by offering quality content to the consumer, positioning your brand as an expert and, above all, offering solutions.

In some cases, the customer was not even looking for a solution, but the product or service offered shows this demand and helps him to diagnose this problem, while providing the answer.

The main materials at the top of the funnel are ads aimed at awareness and reach, such as advertising on social media, banners, blog posts, newsletters, etc.

Middle of the Funnel: The Consideration

The middle of the funnel is known as the consideration or qualification stage, and it happens when the consumer is already aware of the problem and knowledge of the brand that can solve it (and begins to consider the purchase).

At this stage, it is important to make it clear how your product and/or service will meet that demand, offering tips, techniques and solutions more clearly.

In content marketing, it is an interesting time to be able to capture more information and further qualify the lead, creating a sales opportunity.

For this, the customer can be asked to fill in records with data such as email, telephone number, zip code, in order to access rich materials such as e-books, special discount coupons, etc.

Bottom of funnel: conversion

When the customer reaches the bottom of the funnel, they are already doing research and quotes, comparing different brands and options. Thus, it is time to show the differentials in relation to the competition.

This customer is already qualified and is now treated as an MQL (Marketing Qualified Leads), having gone through all the stages of the funnel and being ready to receive contact from a seller and close the purchase.

Now, you need to convince the customer that your product is the best option, offering an attractive solution, condition and price.

Afterwards, it is also important to pay special attention to after-sales , to ensure that your customer remains satisfied and becomes loyal, in addition to acting as a supporter of the brand, referring it to friends and family.

How important is having a sales funnel for your business?

If you are wondering why to use the sales funnel in your company, know that it is one of the most used tools to understand the moment of the consumer and how to win him over, being essential in marketing planning — in addition to helping the team work of sales.

The purchase journey must be thoroughly analyzed, from the first contact to the after-sales, so that the manager can identify how the customer experience was at each stage and how to improve it.

With a clear sales funnel, you can build customer loyalty and even win back leads that, at first, did not complete the purchase of your product or service. This is why it becomes so important to map the entire customer journey.

The sales funnel will offer more precision when planning marketing and sales initiatives and will also help to adjust these strategies midway if necessary, saving time and resources.

The sales team can use the learnings from the sales funnel analysis to see new contact opportunities. The marketing team, on the other hand, can create a specific ad for the customer who came to visit the brand’s website, but did not complete the purchase, offering a discount coupon or content clarifying the most frequently asked questions.

So the sales funnel:

  • Offers more clarity of results and assertiveness when planning new goals;
  • Optimize efforts and resources;
  • Improves the productivity of the commercial team;
  • It leaves management better equipped with data to make decisions and see new possibilities for launching products, campaigns, winning over new customers, retaining current customers, etc.