Sales Funnels — The 3 Stages Of A Successful Customer Journey

Sales funnels are symbolic of the stages people go through — noticing your offer, investigating further, then engaging, connecting, and committing.

Sales Funnels Marketing Funnels Sales Pipeline Top Middle Bottom Of Funnel

From the first point of contact — to every;

  • follow-up message,
  • educational content,
  • sales experience,
  • satisfying service,
  • after-care,
  • and glowing review.

At each touch-point, prospects are judging you.

Here we’ll learn about the customer, client, or contact journey:

  • Why should they pay attention? (attention has an opportunity-cost)
  • Why should they learn more? (information-overload filtering)
  • Who can truly help? (point-of-no-return anxiety)

We go through three stages of discovery for any sales journey: Awareness, Research, Qualifying.

Also known as the Top, Middle and Bottom of the Sales Funnel.

The 3 stages of the sales funnel

The sales funnel or marketing funnel stages are your customer, client, or partner journey — from stranger to ally, and brand champion.

1. Awareness

At this stage, we don’t know if we want or need anything.

The sales and marketing team’s role at this point is demand generation — broadcasting messages and imagery far and wide, to our total addressable market (TAM) of ideal client or contact profiles (IPCs).

Here, messages are all about showing relatable experiences and benefits — often showcasing those already enjoying them — inspiring the imagination to consider how life could be with what we have to offer.

People are asking themselves; do I want this in my life?

Your job here is to show the benefits.

2. Research

Prospects, at the research stage, are actively looking for solutions like ours — comparing options for features, risks, gotchas, and pricing.

People are asking themselves; what do I really need?

Now it’s time to detail the features.

3. Qualifying

Prospects, at the qualifying stage, are actively looking for people like us — seeking assurances to make sure we do as we say.

People are asking themselves; can you deliver?

Finally, you have to convince; why you? And, why now?

The offer

The value of your offer is proportional to the logistical weight it carries.

We must provide significantly more valuable than someone doing something themselves, or just doing nothing.

People are weighing up the opportunity-cost of; seeking alternatives, over-commitment, or moving on to other interests.

Landing pages

This is a landing page.

The home page is a landing page.

Every page that could be our first-impression is a landing page.

They all need to have a clear purpose, explain everything, and pre-empt your good visitor’s potential needs, at each stage of their journey.

The perfect landing page is self-contained. A person can find all the information they need on one page, to decide if now’s the time, and you’re the right brand, to take their next steps with.

It’s incredible how many businesses assume they can trade on their historic brand recognition, alone — or that have a designer box-ticking website, without consideration for the modern user’s expectations.

What you think is “good enough” prospects are comparing to those designing a more satisfying journey, with higher-converting results.

If you don’t know where to start, building a library of bookmarks from websites you do like and use is a good way to improve by example.

This is a great video from Exposure Ninja on the subtleties that all add up to a good or bad landing-page design:

If it’s not clear what you’re asking your audience to do next, their default habit it to continue their scrolling or browsing, as they remain at the top of the funnel, exploring the market.

Lead magnets

These are a free taster of what you have to offer — your best effort in giving significant and tangible value.

Usually, lead magnets are offered in exchange for permission to subscribe or connect, with an email address or social media follow.

The social understanding being that the contact details can later be used for the opportunity to continue offering value.

Then, for those deciding when they want more, to seek a deal.

  • Discounts for newsletter subscribers? They’re lead magnets.
  • Free download? That’s a lead magnet.
  • Tasting trays. Lead magnets.
  • Trade shows and conferences. Should be treated as lead magnets (not just a corporate holiday).
  • Education events. Lead magnets. Gather attendee contact details!
  • Show window. Lead magnet.
  • Social media and online platform profiles. Lead magnets! Optimise them accordingly.
  • Press releases. Lead magnets.
  • Interviews, podcasts, and webinars. Hot lead magnets.
  • Whitepapers, studies, research, and statistics. Viral lead magnets!
  • Opinion pieces in the press. Lead magnets.

Are you getting the idea?

Your brand assets are your accumulation and broadcasting of a variety of lead magnets — projecting your topical authority to the world, attracting them to the broadening top of your sales and marketing funnel.

Every consumer of our content is a potential brand champion — whether for themselves, or in recommending us.

So, every connection must get extraordinary value, regardless of paying in money — because, at-first, they are paying with their time.

Lead magnets are your chance to show your goodwill, competence, and the successes you share with your audience.

Those seeking further value, with a direct relationship, then become closer connections — as they now know how the benefits pay for the costs.

Lead magnets reduce people’s costs, risks, and uncertainties — and improve them as clients — by being better informed, and showing their willingness to take action for the right opportunity.

Decisions are more difficult when uninformed — and we usually like to make them once-and-for-all, when possible.

People don’t have difficulties making decisions, if they have all the experience and information needed to be confident that it’s the right decision. Your priority, therefore, is making access to your information, and experience of your being, as accessible and digestible as possible.

Lead magnets should give so much value that if the receiver is in the market for our offer, there can be no better option.

These, of course, are our lead magnets from the home page…

They cost your audience nothing other than a minimal amount of time and contact information.

They give quick and substantial value, and help qualify your expertise and integrity for proving your worth.

What are your best performing lead magnets?

Calls to action

If you don’t ask, you don’t get!

And, the first thing we should always do is… ask for permission to ask.

What do we mean by this?

Not quite so fast — manners and etiquette apply more-so online.

Some people want to talk straight away, others need a good reason to.

It’s a basic courtesy to ask if we can offer anything, first, than skipping straight to requesting subscriptions, enquiries or calls, without having offered abundant value or incentive to qualify our expertise.

When we are asking for action, that invariably means attention, and the opportunity to promote our wares.

Attention has an opportunity-cost for our visitor or correspondent.

We should pay for that attention with some complimentary value — typically with education, in the form of our branded marketing assets.

Hence, calls to action without lead magnets are less effective.

And how does anyone know what the next steps are if you don’t tell them?

Or what to expect if they do take the next step?

Again, Exposure Ninja has a great explainer on this…

Remember; every step and ask of your audience, needs a call to action.

Your prompts aren’t straight to “Buy Now” or “Sign Here”, they are the breadcrumb trail for the entire buyer journey:

  • The email subject or page title is a call-to-action to read the first line.
  • The first line is selling the time investment of reading the next.
  • The calls to action throughout, sell the options.
  • The last line sells the reply, connection, or to buy now.
  • The booking or checkout, sells the waiting time.
  • The engagement or delivery, sells the trial period.
  • The trial period and after sales, sells the long-term use.
  • The continued use and benefits, sells the review or testimonial.
  • The reviews, sell the recommendations.
  • And so-on…

The buyer journey takes many steps, and each step needs to be sold with a clear call-to-action — to accept the benefits offered by the next step.

Reading on, is a next step. The next heading, image, video, list, or table, is also a call to action to keep learning more…

Everything is a sales funnel

This page is part of a sales funnel, too.

You’re likely at the top or middle of the funnel in discovering our services.

Perhaps you’re checking us out as a friend, potential colleague, or prospective partner — or comparing our sales journey to your own, as a client candidate or curious competitor.

Regarding competition; we’re not competing with other marketing agencies — there’s far more need and demand for our work than there are people dedicated to it.

We’re competing with complacency, and doing all we can to encourage more people to do what we do — for the sake of growing genuine value for our good brands and teams, and wealth for all of our shared society.

What’s the next step in the sales funnel?

Ideally, booking a call gets you to the bottom of the funnel — to take the journey through our sales pipeline, and improve your own.

It’s a risk-free discovery, too, as you can exit now, or at any time you feel you have better things to focus on.

And, yes, all links within text are calls-to-action, too. The more time a person spends with your website, and then your voice, the more comfortable they are in starting and maintaining a relationship to create more value than either of you could alone.

If you’re still not sure that you’re ready for a call, or to buy, the FAQs are a series of answers to common concerns or “objections”, as we say in sales & marketing speak. The solutions you gave other happy customers.

The more objections you can reassure before you speak, the sooner your prospects can decide if a call is worth their time — or checkout if you’re in ecommerce — and be sure you answered all they need to do a deal.

Sales Funnel FAQs

Unless it’s really bad, probably not.

The majority of our work is on your content, and is all transportable.

The larger your existing brand, the longer a rebrand would take.

We’ll make the most of your existing branding — perhaps refining it in ways you’d not imagined.

Our priority is generating funding from our initiatives, first!

Then you can decide how you wish to reinvest further in your growth journey.

Yes! We don’t take on clients unless we can.

For businesses under £50k net profit in the last 12 months, we offer free advice to get you growing above that.

Until then you might not have the capacity for the attention needed to bring us in for further growth. You need to be in a position where you’re not all-consumed working in the business.

There’s plenty you can already do for free — once you know a few high-value tactics — and we’ll still be here for check-ins as you see results.

Our clients make many times more than we do from our work.

Our greatest reward is the freedom to keep doing the same for many more in our share community.

For direct clients, we only work with one industry sector or product type at a time, per target region.

For training courses, just as in sports leagues, you may be sharing a room with some local or industry competitors.

We see competition as a good thing. There’s a bigger goal and opportunity for us all to achieve; increasing exports, a positive balance of trade, industry, and genuine societal wealth creation.

Free markets are efficiency generators.

Wealth is attracted to value-creation — it is destroyed by value-capture, and uncompetitive incumbancy.

We’re free-market capital creationists, foremost — through skill, fair competition, and freedom to innovate.

If you want to eliminate competition, you’ll ultimately eliminate the incentives to do better.

Let’s focus on creating, innovating, and inspiring for all to follow.

Lead Generation and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) rely on an amount of mature sales funnels already existing, to be able to convert leads and traffic into sales.

We often start with one service, and expand to the others as we go. We won’t micro-bill you for general refinements.

We’ll know up-front roughly how much work it’s going to take to achieve your targets, to recommend a budget and timescale, accordingly.

The best way to improve your sales funnels, is to learn by example, by attracting more people to grow their’s and your experience of an enjoyable customer journey.

No, sorry. We tend to work on multiple clients in parallel.

Often our work is similar, overlapping, and has waiting periods between actions, analysis, feedback, and reactions.

This gives you the benefit of broader market and systems experience — without the significant costs of recruiting and managing a full-time specialist team.

All our clients benefit from the experience refined with each.


We do what we do to upskill everyone we work with.

It’s important your key influencers and decisions makers understand; what we’re doing, how it works, and how they can ensure maximum results in collaboration.

No. We don’t replace web design and general purpose marketing agencies. They are often happier and better suited to the full range of branding and multimedia advertising.

We’re a niche direct marketing agency — offering specific revenue generation services, to ensure the full attention needed.

Our focus is specific to maximising monetisation of your existing brand assets — and generating financial growth for you to then decide what you want to do next.

Yes. Financial growth, sustainability, and efficiency is important for all sectors to deliver on their targets.

You may otherwise know sales funnels as customer, client, supplier, or partner journeys.

Having external broader-market commercial experience is essential to avoid stagnation and complecency, in the absense of immediate or apparent competition.

We’ll bring some excitement to your routines, too. Everyone enjoys understanding how their roles can be secured and enabling — when they can see tangible regular improvements.

We only work where we can ensure measurable results.

If you don’t yet have the tools to measure in actionable ways, we’ll advise on those, first.

Typically, we’ll show results in the 1 to 3 months — with a target return on investment in 3 to 12 months — depending on what stage you’re already at in your sale processes.

We typically work for cost-plus performance.

We won’t incur costs on anything that isn’t necessary for the results.

Our paid-on-performance model ensures our interests and mutual success is aligned, sustained, and scalable.

Your guarantee is our need for you to be profitable and growing.

Our average onboarding time is 1 month.

Much depends on your existing team’s availability, experience, and our earning their trust.

Please share the link to our website with them — and invite all relevant decision makers to join your discover call.

Time is precious, there’s a fair amount to get through — and we’ll try to save you from needing to repeat our pitch by covering the interests of all stakeholders.

Now, our turn to ask you just one question…

How much more business do you think is out there?

We’re live, direct, and strictly ethical — so let’s get straight to work.

You should know your market better than most. Tell us what you think the potential is, and make it our job to figure out how to get there…

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What regions or countries would you like to attract more business connections from?
What level of sales or contact growth do you think you could *comfortably* handle in the next 12 months?

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