What Does a Sales Funnel Look Like?

A sales funnel is an essential management tools for visualizing the status of sales and marketing operations.

Sales Funnel

The funnel is an apt visual metaphor for virtually every sales process. Many inquiries will enter the top of the funnel. Along the way, some prospective customers abandon your solution while others engage more deeply. In the end, a precious few exit the funnel as paying customers.

But because buyer behavior and sales processes vary greatly across industries, companies and product lines, generic funnel diagrams are of limited use. Think about it: are you satisfied by a picture showing that 1,000 inquiries eventually convert into $199 of revenue? Of course not. The funnel needs to begin with assumptions about your business. From there it needs to be validated, optimized and improved against the reality of buyer behavior and the competitive marketplace. It longs to be a beacon of competitive advantage for your business. It needs to be both predictive and believable.

Eventually, you’ll be able to use your funnel as a model for sales and marketing investments such as sales staffing, lead generation and product roadmaps. It can also become an early warning system for changes in the competitive marketplace, buyer behavior or operational effectiveness.

So what does a sales funnel look like? It looks like your business.