Businesses are constantly looking for different ways to get more customers and increase turnover. Two tools that businesses use are the marketing funnel and the sales funnel. These tools are quite similar, and it’s not just because of the funnel model they both utilize. As such, differentiating between these tools can be somewhat confusing and challenging.

    Yet, despite their similarities, they still perform different functions. To ensure you know what’s what, especially if you are a content marketer, we’ll talk about these tools in detail. Our discussion will help you understand their differences and also guide you on how to create the best type of content for each stage of both funnels.

    The Marketing Funnel

    The marketing funnel is called the customer journey by several individuals. However, the marketing funnel vs customer journey debate reveals that these two concepts are different. This confusion is not unwarranted given that the marketing funnel focuses on the customer’s journey from the time they are aware of the brand to the point where they are not just paying customers but brand advocates.

    This focus is a similarity the sales funnel shares with the marketing tool. Both models focus on the potential customer looking to buy a service or product. All of the actions and stages of both funnels are meant to influence the thoughts and actions of the customer. The difference, however, is that both models differ in their goals.

    For the marketing funnel, the goal is to lead the customer through the path until they become brand advocates. To achieve this goal, several techniques, such as content marketing, PR, and advertising, must be employed. The marketing tool is broader in its approach, whereas the sales funnel, as we’ll discover later on, is more streamlined. Its sole purpose is to convert potential customers into purchasing customers.

    It can be said that the marketing model has a three-fold purpose. The first purpose is to make your target audience interested in your brand. The second is to generate desire in their hearts for your service or product. The final purpose is to inspire them to take action, such as purchasing the service or product or sharing their contact information.

    There have been different approaches that experts have taken to divide the funnel into different stages and labels. We’ll be dividing the funnel into the following stages: awareness, consideration, action, and advocacy. Let’s discuss these stages in detail.


    This first stage is also known as attention, and it is the point where potential customers become aware of your service or product. You have to draw their attention to the service or product through an ad, a blog post, a social media post, etc. You can visit to learn how to use social media to increase brand awareness. It has been reported that the best method to generate brand awareness is through content marketing.  


    This second stage is also known as interest, and it is the point where potential customers want to know more about your service and product. That means they’ve tried to find out more about your brand via your website, videos you posted, articles you’ve published, etc. Therefore, you need to provide them with more specific information regarding their query, such as case studies, infographics, eBooks, etc.


    This third stage is also known as intent, and it is the point where the customers are fully interested in your service or product. This interest drives them to take action. They might watch a product demonstration, add the product to the cart, or ask for more information.


    Another name for this final stage is loyalty. At this stage, not only has the customer bought the product, but they are also satisfied with the purchase. However, you must maintain interaction with them through support and relevant content. When this is properly executed, they’ll be willing to make new purchases and also tell others to buy the product or service.

    The Sales Funnel

    Although the sales funnel is thought of as a different tool by many, it can only be utilized at the second stage of the marketing funnel. In other words, the marketing tool must first be executed before the sales tool can come into effect. When the sales model is used, the sole purpose is to make the customer buy the product. Let’s explore the stages that make up this model.


    The customer is showing interest in your service or product at this stage. Therefore, the content you create should be educational and informative. Prospects will be attracted to your products and brand when this is done effectively.

    Lead Qualification

    Lead qualification is important as it helps you determine if the prospects will become purchasing customers. Therefore, you’ll need to evaluate them against the sales criteria you’ve set for your target audience. Your focus should be on growing trust by presenting your brand as an authority in your industry. The type of content you create at this point must reflect this goal.


    Here’s where you determine whether the qualified lead wants to buy from you. The content you create should contain a clear and specific call-to-action (CTA). You can check out this article to learn more about call-to-actions. With a properly crafted CTA, the prospect is more likely to purchase the service or product.


    The lead either buys your service or product or chooses not to. Either way, you still have to take action. If they bought the product, then you need to retain them through continuous interaction and even promotions.

    If they didn’t make the purchase, you need to implement a nurturing technique. This involves reaching out to them via email and blog posts once a month. As you continue to do this, you might convince them to purchase the service or product.


    The marketing and sales funnels are similar; however, they are different in terms of their objectives. The former’s approach is longer and prioritizes developing a relationship with the potential customer. On the other hand, the sales funnel’s approach is shorter and focuses on getting the customer to buy the service or product as quickly as possible.