Is there any difference between sales and marketing funnel?
Yes, there is a big difference. In online marketing, a funnel is a clearly defined set of stages the customer is supposed to pass, through which they become more passionate and informed buyers, spending more money, and doing other things to benefit the business. In other words, it is a crafted, business-desired journey of a customer.
A marketing funnel is basically what I just described. It’s a very basic, broad concept that you go wide with your initial customer journey stages (awareness, education) and narrow down those people into buyers. Basically, you can’t just find your perfect buyer and get them to buy your most expensive product immediately, you need to draw in a mass of potentially good customers and narrow down from there. For our purposes, it’s not particularly important, just a business school term.
A sales funnel, on the other hand, is a specific type of marketing funnel, typically associated with online marketing. A sales funnel comes in different types, but basically amounts to getting a lot of leads through either paid or organic means, converting them into buyers, and then upselling and cross-selling them more and more to find the biggest buyers, willing to spend the most money on premium offerings, ascending a ladder of offers through the process.
I tend to consider a marketing funnel as a passive concept, something a business just develops over time after figuring things out. But a sales funnel is a specific, deliberately crafted system of landing pages, offers, etc.
I wouldn’t focus too much on marketing funnels, as they are really just general business acumen.Get lots of people knowing about your business -> convert some of them into buyers. There, that’s a marketing funnel. That said, here’s a little more to help clear it up.
There is no single model for a marketing funnel as it’s about as generic of a business term as “marketing strategy”. The main elements of marketing funnels are awareness building, interest creation, and evaluation by customers, then leading on into sales and repeat sales or customer service.
Sales funnels are much more specific. Here’s an example of how one might work:
1: Use paid ads to draw traffic to a landing page offering a free gift.
2: For those who get the gift via email, they become email subscribers who get an autoresponder welcome series, giving important information and priming the lead into becoming a customer soon.
3: At the end of the welcome series, the customer gets moved to a daily email list and gets sold on a set of products regularly.
4: Whenever a customer clicks the link in one of those and buys one of the products, they are offered an upsell that links with it and helps them get better results, a more complete experience, or whatever. Some will buy this upsell. Usually, multiple upsells are offered, back to back. A person who only intended to spend say $20 can then end up spending over $100 due to attractive upsells.
5: Anyone who bought the product goes onto a new, more exclusive list, so they get messages more personalized to them. Anyone who bought all of the upsells will stop getting emails about them, so there is no incongruent marketing.
6: Those who bought all of the upsells are probably ideal customers for a VIP product, such as a mastermind event at $5,000 per ticket. They can be sold gradually, over time, through email, getting told about this event, and how they will meet more dedicated people like them and learn a lot. As a result, some of the upsell buyers will also buy this VIP product, which is what makes the business the most money.
This is a very rough and basic example. While marketing funnels are a broad concept like “get customers here, upsell them on this, etc.” sales funnels are super-clear and their power at converting customers can vary massively depending on the slightest little change. I’ve seen cases where simply changing the color of the buy button on a landing page increased sales by 30%.
A marketing funnel is a general, broad plan, but a sales funnel is how you really put that plan together, especially via online methods, where you have massive amounts of control over everything, from how the pages look to who gets to see your advertising. That level of control is important, and utilizing it correctly makes all the difference between a profitable or unprofitable sales funnel.
For a better understanding of sales funnels, I have a recommendation. Russell Brunson, the author of the famous book “Dotcom Secrets” explains sales funnels and how to design them very well. He is the creator of ClickFunnels, so the guy definitely has a passion for this element of online business. I’d recommend the book for anyone who is trying to make more money with an online business.
In conclusion, there is a difference between both of these funnels, and sales funnels are what really matter. They involve painstaking web design, careful planning, and testing for maximum performance.
Put really simply: marketing funnels are just generally good business. A sales funnel is the proven, best way to implement a marketing funnel online for maximum return on investment. If marketing is art then sales funnels make a science out of that art.
Please feel free to reply to me if you have any questions.