media update’s Taylor Goodman unpacks the sales funnel and the different stages of the customer journey. 

To understand the sales funnel, we must first define the purpose of this device. According to MailMunch, the primary aim of the sales funnel is to “move people from one stage to another until they are ready to purchase.” 

Now, you may be wondering why the analogy of a funnel is used. Well, this is because you often start off with a large pool of potential customers, which whittles down as you progress through the funnel. 

At the end of the funnel, you are left with a smaller group of customers with stronger purchasing intent; a crucial component for someone who is looking to make a sale.

Without further ado, let’s get into the different phases of the sales funnel:


It’s called this for two reasons. Firstly, during this phase, a consumer may become aware of any problems they are currently facing and ways they can solve it. Secondly, this is when potential customers first become aware of your brand, product or service.  

Awareness is a key part of the sales funnel because without consumers being aware of your brand, you will not be able to make any sales as nobody will know you exist.

This phase is best illustrated with a simple example. If the customer realises they are hungry (problem) they will start looking for ways that they can mend this issue, like ordering food. Following this, they may browse a food delivery app where they have access to multiple restaurants. In this scenario, they discover your restaurant through ‘search’. 

Other ways a consumer can discover your brand is by
  • visiting your website for the first time 
  • seeing an ad for your business/product, and
  • seeing a social media post from your brand. 
During the awareness stage, it is crucial that marketers target this large pool of prospective customers with eye-catching and engaging content. 

Brands can build brand awareness during this stage with content marketing, which helps to build awareness because it humanises your brand. Engaging forms of content, like video, are a huge success with consumers as it is easy to consume and entertaining. 

If your brand wants to take things a bit further, you can also drum up awareness via paid ads or word-of-mouth marketing. 


Here, the consumer wants to know more about your brand, but they are not ready to make a purchase ... yet

During this phase, the consumer has identified the problem they learned about in the awareness phase and is looking for solutions in your products or services

It is important to note that, at this middle point in the purchasing journey, consumers are considering their options. They want to know all the possible solutions at their disposal. 

Your goal, as a marketer, is to keep your lead interested and show them why your brand is worth spending money on. 

This level is all about building a solid relationship with the prospective customer. It is important that you build trust with them and assert your brand as an authority in your industry. This makes the consumer feel secure in spending money on your brand.

As the consumer is likely doing more research into your brand during this stage, it is important to ensure that your brand messaging is consistent and informative. You can do this by keeping your website and social media pages up to date. 

Brands can nurture leads with:
  • insightful blogs or guides
  • email marketing campaigns like newsletters, or 
  • social media posts. 


At this stage of the funnel, you have sparked the consumer’s interest in your brand and they are strongly considering making a purchase. However, they have not yet come to a decision, as they contemplate whether they need your brand’s product/services or not. 

Here, the consumer is actively looking for ways to solve their problem and the research they were doing in the interest phase gets more in-depth. They are looking into the purchasing options available to them when shopping from your brand. 

As their ‘evaluation’ of your brand becomes more serious, the lead may look for information to back their purchase, like product reviews or referrals. Brand’s can subtly nudge the consumer along by leveraging positive reviews and displaying them on your company’s website. 

Additionally, informational resources like whitepapers or free demonstrations may be useful at this point as they help the consumer learn more about your business.

What makes the evaluation phase different from other stages of the funnel is that it is best to give your leads space during this phase. Doing this will allow them to conduct their own research, making them feel like they are in control of their purchase and not being bombarded by marketers. 


This is where the action happens. During this stage of the sales funnel, you turn your qualified leads into paying customers. This is where you make sales proposals or give the consumer price estimates. 

What the consumer needs from you at this stage are the assurance that your brand is the right choice for them. 

You can solidify your brands in your prospect’s eyes with the use of informative materials like:
  • Comparison sheets: This helps the consumer see where your brand stands in comparison to your competitors, reassuring them that they have considered all of their options and are making the right choice choosing you.
  • Discount codes or coupons: This incentive gives consumers the push they need to feel like they’re getting something out of the sales exchange. 
  • Testimonials: Customer testimonials will reassure the buyer that others have had a positive experience with your brand, giving them the security they need to follow through. 
  • Free trials: Product trails are another incentive that gives clients a chance to try your products without commitment. If they enjoy this experience, they may feel more inclined to make a purchase after the free trial expires. 
It is crucial that you keep the consumer happy during this time to ensure that they have a positive experience with your brand. This will help you retain customers going forward, helping you build a loyal following. 

Which stage of the sales funnel do you think is crucial for securing that sale? Be sure to let us know in the comments section below.

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If you want to learn more about purchasing behaviour, then be sure to check out The power of herd mentality in marketing.
*Image courtesy of Vecteezy