Marketing Funnel Vs Sales Funnel: The Difference

Marketing and sales funnels are tools that take complicated lead generation systems, simplify them into visual strategies to show where our leads come from, how they progress through content marketing processes, and which ones turn into paying customers. But is there a difference between marketing and sales funnel?

Depends on who you ask. Lets get to know the difference between marketing funnel vs sales funnel.


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LeadFuze gives you all the data you need to find ideal leads, including full contact information.

Go through a variety of filters to zero in on the leads you want to reach. This is crazy specific, but you could find all the people that match the following: 

  • A company in the Financial Services or Banking industry
  • Who have more than 10 employees
  • That spend money on Adwords
  • Who use Hubspot
  • Who currently have job openings for marketing help
  • With the role of HR Manager
  • That has only been in this role for less than 1 year
Just to give you an idea. 😀

Marketing Funnel

A marketing funnel is a plan that goes from the top of your potential market to the bottom. The goal is to take prospects and guide them through three stages: awareness, consideration, conversion. This way you are able with personalize data for each prospect in order make sure they know about your brand.

Sales Funnel

What is sales funnel in marketing? A sales funnel in marketing is a process of coordinated and specific actions. Marketing leads are being passed from the beginning to the end, meaning that this contact has chosen to opt-in for an email or attend an event before purchasing your product.

Marketing funnel vs sales funnel prospects have been traditionally viewed as two separate entities, but the truth is that their roles are overlapping. In order to optimize efficiency in a business context, some companies do away with this distinction by focusing on just one funnel: the customer’s experience.

The term smarketing has emerged in recent years to describe how sales and marketing are similar. This new approach helps generate more revenue for companies, as well as reduces conflict between departments.

In order to understand the smarketing concept, it is important first to learn about marketing funnel vs sales funnel stages.


Need Help Automating Your Sales Prospecting Process?

LeadFuze gives you all the data you need to find ideal leads, including full contact information.

Go through a variety of filters to zero in on the leads you want to reach. This is crazy specific, but you could find all the people that match the following: 

  • A company in the Financial Services or Banking industry
  • Who have more than 10 employees
  • That spend money on Adwords
  • Who use Hubspot
  • Who currently have job openings for marketing help
  • With the role of HR Manager
  • That has only been in this role for less than 1 year
Just to give you an idea. 😀

What are The Stages of the Marketing Funnel?

A marketing funnel always includes three stages: top-of-funnel, middle-of-funnel, and bottom of the funnel. These are all different ways to connect with customers.

Top of the Funnel (ToFu) awareness

The top of the funnel is where every single person who has an interest in your content enters into their journey. The goal at this stage for marketers is to educate readers, create brand awareness, differentiate themselves from competitors and offer helpful information without asking anything back.

It is possible that the data collected by these tools does not include an individual’s name or email address. If they fill out a form and consent to be contacted, then they move onto another stage of your funnel.

Middle of the Funnel (MoFu) consideration

Now, youre talking about the problem that your product is solving. This can include testimonials from other companies who have used it successfully or reviews of how well-built your company’s products are.

As prospects move from the top of the funnel to its middle, they are introduced to content like white papers and case studies. The SDR is actively engaged in this stage with lead responsibility for communicating.

Bottom of the Funnel (BoFu) conversion

Once the salesperson has done their homework, they should be able to confidently present a deal that can close in this stage. This content includes demos and customer testimonials.

With leads that have reached this stage, funnel system marketing can now determine the buyer journey and what messages are effective at catching their attention. They even create personas to better target customers with similar interests.

The Sales Funnel’s Stages

The marketing sales funnel is a component of the marketing funnel. By looking at the bottom, we can see that it consists of prospects who have already said yes to learning more about purchasing our product.

The term sales pipeline is also used to describe the flow of prospects through a sale. A funnel can represent how many people in your team have an open opportunity and what percentage converted from one stage to another.

The sales pipeline is divided into stages that are distinguished by the kind of deal. Salesforce has built their business around these steps and specific actions to move a customer through each stage.

All companies segment their sales pipeline differently, but they always include these four stages: prospecting, evaluation and commitment (if the company is interested in a sale), and closed-wonclosed-lost. The chart below outlines how successful marketing activities are based on those different stages.

Marketing qualified leads (MQL)

A prospect must provide their contact information before they are considered qualified. They can do this by filling out a form, downloading content or providing some other way of communicating with them.

Sales accepted lead (SAL)

Here is where the sales team comes in and decides if a lead is qualified for their product. Many leads are disqualified at this stage, but thats just because there needs to be better communication between marketing and sales.

Sales qualified leads (SQL)

Here, a sales rep will have spoken with the customer about fit including deal size, timeline and urgency. The most successful reps are those who work more closely with their customers.

Closed-won or closed-lost

If a lead is not converted into a customer, the sales team will either close it as lost or place them back in marketing. The prospect can choose to go with another company, take more time on their decision-making process (either because they are satisfied or dissatisfied), andor object to pricing.

Evolving the Marketing Funnel vs Sales Funnel

In the marketing funnel vs sales funnel world, there is a constant battle of who has responsibility for what. The result is that each department tracks its own progress, but they do not always have the same goal in mind or use one system to measure success. Daniel Barber points out that 80% of work done leads nowhere because both departments are happy with a 20% close rate.

The article talks about how only 3% of the market is actively looking to purchase and this has created a trap for sales teams. They focus on bottom-of-the-funnel leads which include 3% of potential customers but there are only so many times that prospects can say no.

No matter how you structure your sales funnel, the marketing team needs to be working together with reps and other departments. They need to agree on what qualifies as a good lead, why leads are disqualified from consideration of being contacted by reps, address concerns that people have consistently brought up about their product or service so they can better understand it themselves.

In the past, selling was a one-time event. You would have your first sale and then be done with it. Nowadays marketing is much more involved in educating customers on something new so that they will buy from you rather than someone else.

In a RevOps model, the operations team for sales and marketing is centralized. Strategies are made to help these teams work together with different goals in mind: achieving revenue objectives through various strategies that span across both departments. And that’s it for the marketing funnel vs sales funnel article.


Need Help Automating Your Sales Prospecting Process?

LeadFuze gives you all the data you need to find ideal leads, including full contact information.

Go through a variety of filters to zero in on the leads you want to reach. This is crazy specific, but you could find all the people that match the following: 

  • A company in the Financial Services or Banking industry
  • Who have more than 10 employees
  • That spend money on Adwords
  • Who use Hubspot
  • Who currently have job openings for marketing help
  • With the role of HR Manager
  • That has only been in this role for less than 1 year
Just to give you an idea. 😀
Editors Note:

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Justin McGill
About Author: Justin McGill
Justin McGill is the Founder of LeadFuze - a lead generation platform that discovers new leads for you automatically. Get 25 leads free.