What Is the Difference Between Marketing Funnel and Sales Funnel?

What is the difference between a Marketing Funnel and a Sales Funnel banner



If you’re into marketing or sales, you’ve likely heard about funnels. But what is the difference between a marketing funnel and a sales funnel?

This article will go through the main differences between the two and help you gain insights into the best practices for both types of a funnel. This knowledge will help your SaaS business get more leads, sales, and conversions in the long-run.


All About Marketing Funnels


It’s easy to see why there is confusion between marketing and sales funnels. Marketing and sales are closely related, and they are the same for some people. Marketing is the broader term, and some consider sales a part of it.

To get things started, let’s try to define marketing.

According to Investopedia, marketing refers to promoting the sales of the services or products of a business. That means marketing includes different brand awareness activities that may or not be connected. For example, sales and advertising fall under marketing. Those working on marketing aim to catch the attention of a business’s target audience.

Marketing makes use of the four Ps:

  • Product
  • Place
  • Price
  • Promotion

The ideal marketing process is taking a product or a service, identifying the audience and market for it, and attracting the audience’s attention to that product. Networking with existing and potential customers is also a significant part of marketing. To understand marketing further, we need to look at the four Ps.




The product refers to an actual product or a service that a business offers to its customers. Ideally, the product should fulfill an existing demand in the market. Before a successful marketing campaign can be created, the marketers must know the product thoroughly.




Place refers to how the business will distribute the product. Will the product be sold online? Will there be a storefront? What kind of display will be available if there is a storefront?




Price is self-explanatory. The price at which the product will be sold is things like unit cost, marketing cost, and distribution cost. You should also consider the cost of other similar products available in the market.




The promotion covers all of the marketing campaigns that the company runs. Promotion includes all the advertising, promotional, and sales efforts.

The immediate goal of marketing is to drive up the sales of a product or a service. Another crucial goal is to drive up the growth of the company. Different strategies can be used to achieve that. Matching products with potential customer needs, for example, is a good strategy.

There’s no need to dig deep into the meaning of sales. In simple terms, a sale is a transaction in which a buyer will receive goods or services in exchange for money.

A marketing funnel describes a customer journey with your brand or business. It covers the first time a consumer becomes aware of your brand or product up to the point that they make a purchase. A marketing funnel aims to guide an existing customer through the whole journey.

The funnel will tell a customer what a brand and product are all about and what they can bring. Perhaps the primary use of the marketing funnel for a business is that it helps them visualize their buyer’s journey, allowing them to design campaigns that are more suited to the needs of their market.

A marketing funnel can be divided into two main sections; lead generation and lead nurturing.


Lead Generation


Lead generation is the “awareness” stage where you need to introduce your brand to your target audience. The primary way to achieve that is by building campaigns that can go viral. Lead generation can be done through content marketing, lead magnets, online ads, etc.


Lead Nurturing


Lead nurturing is the next marketing funnel stage. Once a lead develops an interest in a brand, the next step is to take care of that lead. You need to establish a relationship with your leads and eventually convince them to purchase.

Once a lead shows interest in purchasing your SaaS product or service, that lead enters the sales funnel.


All About Sales Funnels


As mentioned, the marketing funnel aims to present a product to consumers. Those are the consumers who are meant to be converted into paying customers. The moment the leads show an interest in purchasing a product, they move into the sales funnel. The saas sales funnel helps guide the consumer from the marketing to being converted.


What Makes a Marketing Funnel Different from a Sales Funnel?


The truth is that it’s hard to draw the line between a marketing funnel and a sales funnel. The two are connected and are interdependent. Marketing creates interest, and sales finish with the conversion. Many businesses are now merging these two processes.

So, the difference between a marketing funnel and a sales funnel is that the former creates interest, and the latter aims to convert. Hence, a sales funnel may also be referred to as a conversion funnel. When you think about it, the difference between the two doesn’t matter because each is dependent on the other.


What Are the Benefits of a Marketing Funnel?


Having a digital marketing funnel is essential for a SaaS business like yours. If companies that sell physical products need a funnel, you can benefit from having one. Here are some of the distinct advantages of having a marketing funnel:

A planned content marketing, which is part of a marketing funnel, appeals better to audiences, making them easier to approach with future offers.

Social proof can be built through a nurturing campaign to help consumers compare you against competitors.

It provides a unique insight into the behavior and habits of leads, allowing you to target them more effectively with campaigns.

It can help to build loyalty among your subscribers.

These are just some of the benefits of having a marketing funnel for your SaaS business.

It’s now time to take a closer look at the other form of the system: the sales funnel.


What You Need to Know about the Sales Funnel


Sales funnels are more common than you might have realized. In 2021, the total number of sites that utilized some form of sales funnel technology was over 570,000.

ClickFunnels is by far the most popular tool for building sales funnels today, getting more than 50% of the market share.

Still, there are a lot of companies that are not taking advantage of the benefits that a sales funnel can offer. Around 68% of companies have not even identified their sales funnel.

Don’t be part of that number.


Benefits of a Sales Funnel for your SaaS Business


When studying something like a sales funnel, the most obvious question is “what are its benefits?”

The benefits are what will drive you to try building a sales funnel. To help guide you, here are some of the benefits that you can derive from having a saas sales funnel:


A SaaS Sales Funnel Can Help You Get New Leads


A well-designed sales will attract new leads. It needs to have the right kind of content. Another big question is, “what is the right content?”

Of course, that would depend on the type of SaaS product or business model. Since you are in the SaaS industry, your content should be informative and provide solutions to the problems encountered by your audience. You need to give them details about the features of your SaaS product that will benefit them. If you do that, you’re sure to get new leads.


A SaaS Sales Funnel Streamlines Your Marketing Efforts


Marketing can be an overwhelming activity. It’s so easy to get lost when there are so many tasks that you have to do. With a customized sales funnel for your SaaS business, you can streamline your marketing efforts. All of your activities can be focused on so that you will not be wasting efforts on tasks that will not give you enough returns.


A SaaS Sales Funnel Lets You Focus on the Best Leads


The truth is that not all leads that you get will be turned into paying customers. That’s a reality that you have to factor in when you have to factor when running your marketing. With a strong sales funnel, you can focus on the right leads for you, and this means you can focus on the leads that have strong potential for being converted.

A way to classify your leads is to include a survey during the first contact with the potential lead. That way, you can focus on the ones that have the potential to be converted. The survey can help reveal what their intentions are.


SaaS Sales Funnels Help You to Sort Your Leads


This point is still related to the last one that we have mentioned. Since funnels allow you to determine the intent of your leads, you can also sort them in different ways. You can sort them according to how soon you need to contact them.


Build Trust and Relationship


Your sales funnel can also help when it comes to building your relationship with your leads. You should share content that can help them, and it’s not necessary that the content is aimed to drive them to buy your product.


A SaaS Sales Funnel Boosts Your Conversion Rate


The aim of a sales funnel is to turn your leads into paying customers. With a well-designed sales funnel, you can boost your conversion. The average conversion rate for a sales funnel is around 3%. It might not seem high, but the difference is significant when you compare it to the conversion rate with no sales funnel.


More Accurate Prediction of Your Sales


If you’re running a SaaS business, you need to conduct some kind of saas sales forecasting. You should accurately predict the number of sales you will be getting to have better plans. With a sales funnel in place, you can predict how many sales you can get within a time frame more accurately.


How to Build a SaaS Sales Funnel


Now that you know the advantages of having a sales funnel, it’s time to learn about the ideas you can use to create your own saas sales funnel.


1. Build a Landing Page


You need to have a compelling landing page that will drive leads to take the action you want them to do. You need to use a convincing Call-To-Action (CTA) that can cause your conversion rate to go up. It can be signing up for a free trial so they can try and use your SaaS product for a fixed amount of time, or to sign up to your newsletter.

On top of the CTA, your landing page should also describe what your SaaS company and product are all about.


2. Give Something Valuable


You want those who would go to your landing page to take some kind of action. To do that, you will have to give them something valuable in exchange for that action. The most common freebies are e-books and whitepapers. Those giveaways should contain helpful information for them.

SaaS companies usually offer free trials or freemiums to people who enter their sales funnel to give something valuable to their target customers.


3. Work on Nurturing the Sales Prospect


At this stage, the lead should have given you their information, primarily their email address. You should use that information to provide your leads with nurturing content.

Keep in touch with them regularly by emailing them. The content you send to them should continue to educate them about what your product can do for them.


4. Close That Deal


You need to close the deal with your leads. When you make an offer, it should be something that they can’t refuse. For example, you can give or add irresistible freebies to people who have reached the deeper parts of your sales funnel so it’ll be more convincing to take your offer.


5. Keep it Going


At this stage, your lead should have bought your SaaS product or declined the offer. Whatever their choice, you need to keep the buying process going. You need to provide customer support for those who have bought your SaaS product. For those who have declined your offer, you need to send them content to change their minds.

Your work does not end after you have built your sales funnel. You need to work on optimizing the whole sales funnel. Go through the entire funnel and check each piece of content. Conduct optimization and A/B testing of the content to find the best one which works. Test all the CTAs and the links you are using in the funnel. Make sure that users are directed to the correct pages.

Sales funnels and marketing are valuable tools for getting your SaaS business on the right track. Just be sure that you know how to use them properly. For more ideas on marketing and sales funnels for SaaS startups and companies, you can visit our SaaS marketing blogs here.


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Ken Moo