The terms "funnel" and "pipeline" are often used interchangeably when referring to the various stages of a sales lead or prospective buyer's purchasing journey. While similar, though, they aren't necessarily the same. Sales funnels and sales pipelines have their own specific purpose. So, what's the difference between a sales funnel and a sales pipeline exactly?
What Is a Sales Funnel?
A sales funnel is a visual representation of the stages in which a prospective buyer must go through to make a purchase. It receives its namesake from its funnel-like shape with a large opening at the top and a small opening at the bottom. A sales funnel essentially looks like a pyramid. When you acquire a sales lead, the sales lead will enter the top -- the largest part -- of your cabling company's sales funnel. As you nurture him or her into a buyer, the lead will move towards the bottom of your cabling company's sales funnel. Assuming you're successful with your sales efforts, you'll close the sales lead at the bottom of the sales funnel.
Common stages of a sales funnel include the following:
What Is a Sales Pipeline?
A sales pipeline is also a visual representation of a sales leads or prospective buyers' purchasing journey. The difference is that a sales pipeline focuses on the sequence of stages, whereas a sales funnel highlights the number of prospective buyers in each stage. It's called a "pipeline" because it looks like a pipe, with each stage guiding prospective buyers or sales leads to the next stage, eventually leading to a sale.
You generally want to keep your cabling company's sales pipeline full. Otherwise, you won't have any qualified sales leads to whom you can pitch your cabling company's products or services. An empty sales pipeline will force you to source new sales leads, thereby consuming time and resources that could be used for other sales tactics.
Common stages of a sales pipeline include the following:
How Can You Get More Quality Sales Leads in Your Sales Pipeline and Sales Funnel?
The sales pipeline and sales funnel can go a lot faster when you have high quality sales leads. One way to acquire actionable sales leads is through SalesLeads. Our researchers continually track companies that are expanding, relocating, and modernizing equipment. When we uncover an identified project, we create a Project Report and get that to you ASAP. The content includes, but not limited to, project summary, project scope, size, SIC code, contact name, phone numbers, email address and much more. Once you call the contacts from the Project Report, you’ll be able to begin to place the sales lead into the sales pipeline and sales funnel.
The terminology can undoubtedly be confusing, but it's important to understand the differences between a sales funnel and a sales pipeline. A sales funnel allows you to see how many prospective buyers are in each stage of your cabling company's sales process, whereas a sales pipeline shows you the sequence of stages needed to close a sale. So, which one should you use? Rather than restricting your cabling company's sales analytics to either a funnel or pipeline, consider using them both.