What are sales funnels?

Luke Antrobus
5 min read

Do you truly know how to utilise sales funnels?

I am sure by now you will have heard the term ‘sales funnel’ being banded around, and how important these funnels are for your business - but have you ever had anyone explain a sales funnel to you before? Do you truly know how to utilise them in your business?

Funnels are all around us, and for the majority of the time, they are set up unknowingly and work naturally to push the sale further along the pipeline and allow prospects to become customers.

One of the reasons these are called ‘funnels’ is because you will notice a lot of people taking the first steps in the process (or the wider part of the funnel). At each step, some people will naturally drop out and will reduce in number (towards the thinner part of the funnel).

Put simply; a sales funnel is a metaphor used to portray how your potential customers react to your business, and how they become paying customers eventually.

A basic sales funnel

So, if we were to say to you; “you need to widen your funnel”, that will lead on to the fact you need to advertise and market your product or service more or to different customers to attract more people into your funnel.

On your website, for example, you want your visitors to take a number of steps before becoming a customer. Maybe you want them to make a purchase, sign up, or fill out a form. When someone does something you want them to do, it’s known as a conversion. The visitor converts from browsing to taking the action you want them to take.

On a standard eCommerce store, the steps would look very similar to this:

  • Your customer visits your website.
  • They search for and find a product they like.
  • They add that product to the cart.
  • They make the purchase.

Your business will attract a lot of customers on the wider side of the funnel. Step by step, you may notice some customers drop off throughout the funnel until eventually, a smaller number of them come out the other side. The customers who make it all the way through, become your paying customers.

How to get more conversions

If you're getting lots of customers enter your funnel but not many make it all the way through you will need to take these steps to increase your conversion rate.


Funnel tracking tools work well to track visitors through your website and to see how they reacted to your site. You can track customers using tracked links, landing pages and heat maps as well as lots of premium tools. Setting up your funnel in Google analytics is an excellent place to start.


The idea of this is to analyse in depth your customers' pathway from first prospect and those first contacts with your site to the final conversion. Using this data you can pinpoint where your customers drop off, and this gives you ideas on how to improve your conversion rate.


Once you have analysed the data, you’ll be able to see where roadblocks are and where your customers drop off. Then you can optimise your site, products or pages to grow the number of conversions.

These improvements to increase your conversion rate could be complex such as redesigning the whole layout of your website. Alternatively, They could be simple by just as just adding another payment gateway or making the call to action buttons bigger.


So remember; a sales funnel is not necessarily a hard term to understand, especially when broken down. A funnel is merely the roadmap that describes how a prospective customer becomes a paying customer.

If you need more customers entering your funnel, you may need to widen your funnel, through advertising and other marketing methods.

You can discover where customers are dropping out, using data & analytics this can then be used to optimise your site and increase your conversion rate.

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