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Sales | 6 min read

Difference between sales funnels & marketing funnels you must know about


We get it. You have arrived at that point in your business where you have understood that developing a funnel instead of a website is THE most crucial modern-age fundamental trick to GROW & SCALE your online course. Having said that, the next question that must’ve come to your mind is what are the different types of funnels & which funnel should I choose for my online academy? The simple answer is - all funnels are important & the better you optimize them for your business, the higher your landing page will perform.

However, it is not as easy as it looks. But it doesn't need to be that complicated to understand. That’s why this article will try and simplify everything for you.


The 2 major types of funnels are - a Sales Funnel & a Marketing Funnel. Although closely related, they serve very different yet interrelated purposes. So, what are the differences between sales funnels & marketing funnel.

What is a Marketing Funnel?

A marketing funnel is a high-level strategy that you will build for your business as a visitor’s guide to transcend their entire journey from people who absolutely don’t know about your brand towards first interacting with your brand & then finally becoming LOYAL, PAYING customers.



Well-built marketing funnels help your prospective customers get to know your brand by enabling your business to visualize their buying journey from start to end in a systematic & orderly manner.


A typical marketing funnel

For this to happen in a streamlined way, a marketing funnel has 3 stages

  • Lead Generation
  • Lead Nurture
  • Sales
The modern-day marketing funnel formula has been derived & evolved from the original AIDA (Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action) formula.

Now, the typical marketing funnel is bifurcated into:
Awareness → Interest → Consideration → Intent → Evaluation → Purchase. See how it works:

  1. This marketing funnel generally starts with the lead generation stage at the top making the consumer aware of your business.
  2. Subsequent stages of the funnel nurture the generated awareness in the visitor by making them interested in the product/service offered.
  3. As they move further down the funnel, techniques such as providing incentives are used to create an intent to take an action.
  4. As the funnel ends at the bottom, the sales funnel stage starts where the visitor finally makes the purchase and converts from a lead to a customer.

What is a Sales Funnel?

The sales funnel, on the other hand, is another process of your visitor’s journey in which you plan to get them to take a very specific intention like BUYING YOUR COURSE, ATTENDING YOUR LIVE WEBINAR or subscribing to your weekly newsletter.

If you take a look at the diagram above, you will see that the sales stage lies at the bottom of the marketing funnel that marks the ending of the user’s journey on your page.


And that is why you need to switch your strategy and move to a sales funnel. A sales funnel is built ONLY for 1 specific purpose - that you want the visitor to take any action on a particular subject without getting lost in other things on the page.


As the prospective customers reach the end of the marketing funnel, they are now being aimed at converting into paying customers via standard stages.

A typical sales funnel includes the following stages that direct the visitor to buy/take action:

AIDA Sales Funnel

The differences between the two funnels

Even though both categories of funnels go hand-in-hand and, at times, are used interchangeably - splitting them up is quite hard but there still is a fine line of difference as they serve different purposes:

  Marketing Funnel Sales Funnel
Focuses on presenting your brand to multiple audiences & capturing prospective buyers

Focuses on bringing these prospective buyers from the point where they develop an interest in the product or service to the point where they make a sale
Outcome The visitors become prospective customers & start developing an interest in your product/ service offering
The prospective customers buy your product/service offering or make the desired action
Funnel Wider, high-level funnel. Includes the sales funnel Lies at the bottom, narrow end of the marketing funnel

BUT which one should you use?

The biggest difference, in the end, however, lies between the nature of the two functions. The marketing funnel should be the go-to source when you have to inform the world about your business & its services/offerings as a whole.

At the same time, the sales funnel should be adapted & combined at every stage of your marketing funnel so that the prospective customers are driven to the next step and ultimately make a decision WITHOUT LOSING FOCUS.

You see, the answer is - combining the sales funnel with the marketing funnel is the key to make a big positive impact on your business! 




Many businesses are going smart now and merging these 2 very important functions so that they optimize the maximum utility out of them for their business. You too can build your online presence, increase your sales and make the best out of your current service offering by optimizing your funnels.

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