All You Need to Know About the Sales Funnel vs Buyer Journey

All You Need to Know About the Sales Funnel vs Buyer Journey banner image

When it comes to marketing and sales, there’s a lot of jargon to learn. One term you might have heard is the “sales funnel,” which refers to the process of moving potential customers through a sequence of steps in order to turn them into paying customers.
Another term you might have heard is the “buyer journey,” which refers to the process of understanding your customer’s needs and wants, and then providing them with solutions that meet those needs. So, what’s the difference between these two concepts? And which one is better for your business? Let’s take a closer look.

What is sales funnel and what is buyer journey?

Sales funnel is the process that companies use to identify and qualify potential customers. The buyer’s journey is the process that potential customers go through when they are considering a purchase.

The sales funnel begins with awareness, in which the customer becomes aware of a problem or need that they have. From there, they move into the consideration phase, in which they research solutions to their problem. Once they have decided on a solution, they enter the decision phase, in which they choose a specific product or service. Finally, they enter the post-purchase phase, in which they use and evaluate the product or service.

The buyer’s journey is similar to the sales funnel, but it happens on an individual level. In the awareness phase, the buyer becomes aware of a problem or need that they have. In the consideration phase, they research solutions to their problem. In the decision phase, they choose a specific product or service. And in the post-purchase phase, they use and evaluate the product or service.

Sales funnel is the process that companies use to identify and qualify potential customers. The buyer’s journey is the process that potential customers go through when they are considering a purchase.

First Time Home Buyers
First Time Home Buyers

Key differences between sales funnel and buyer journey

Sales funnel and buyer journey differ in a few key ways.

  1. The main difference is that sales funnel is more focused on the sale itself, while buyer journey is more focused on the customer’s experience leading up to the sale. Sales funnel is also generally more linear, while buyer journey can be more complex and have multiple touch points.
  2. Sales funnel typically has a narrower scope than buyer journey. This is because sales funnel is more focused on the specific steps that need to be taken in order to make a sale, while buyer journey takes into account a wider range of factors that influence purchase decisions.
  3. The sales funnel is a more traditional approach that involves creating awareness, interest, and desire in potential customers. The goal is to eventually get them to make a purchase. The buyer’s journey, on the other hand, is a more modern approach that focuses on providing value and solving problems for potential customers. The goal is to build a relationship with them so that they eventually become loyal customers.
  4. Sales funnel is typically shorter than buyer journey. This is because each step in the sales process needs to be completed in order for a sale to be made, while the buyer journey may have multiple touch points and can take more time.

As a business owner, you’re always looking for ways to increase sales and improve your bottom line. One of the most important decisions you’ll make is choosing the right sales strategy.

Pros of sales funnel over buyer journey

Sales Funnel Pros:

  1. It’s a more traditional approach that’s been proven to work.
  2. It’s less expensive than the buyer’s journey because it doesn’t require as much time or effort to create awareness and interest.
  3. You have more control over the sales process and can move potential customers through it at your own pace.
  4. You can track results more easily because there are defined milestones (e.g., awareness, interest, etc.).
Target buyer
Target buyer

Cons of sales funnel compared to buyer journey

  1. It’s less personal than the buyer’s journey and can feel like you’re just trying to sell something.
  2. There’s a risk of potential customers dropping out at any stage of the funnel.
  3. It can be difficult to change course if you’re not getting the results you want.
  4. You may need to rely on discounts and other incentives to get potential customers to take action.

Pros of buyer journey over sales funnel

  1. It’s a more modern approach that resonates with today’s consumers.
  2. It builds trust and loyalty because it focuses on providing value first and foremost.
  3. There’s less risk of potential customers dropping out because they’re invested in the relationship from the start.
  4. It’s more flexible and can be adapted as needed based on customer feedback.
  5. You can track results using metrics that are more important than just sales (e.g., engagement, loyalty, etc.).

Cons of buyer journey compared to sales funnel

  1. It’s more expensive and time-consuming than the sales funnel because it requires a long-term commitment.
  2. There’s less control over the process since you’re working to build a relationship with potential customers.
  3. Results may not be immediate, so you’ll need to be patient.
  4. You may need to make significant changes to your marketing and sales strategies.

So, which approach is right for your business? There’s no easy answer, but hopefully, this overview of the pros and cons of each one will help you make a decision.

Online buyer journey
Online buyer journey

Situations when sales funnel is preferred over buyer journey

When should you use a sales funnel over a buyer’s journey?

There are certain situations when it’s more beneficial to use a sales funnel rather than a buyer’s journey.

Some common situations when a sales funnel is preferred include:

  • When you want to increase conversion rates and grow revenue
  • When initial awareness is low and you need to create more interest
  • When you’re selling a high-ticket item that requires more consideration
  • When you have a complex sale with multiple decision makers involved
  • When you’re selling to businesses rather than consumers

If you’re not sure which approach to take, consider your goals and the needs of your target audience. If you’re focused on growing revenue, a sales funnel may be the better option. If you’re selling to businesses, a sales funnel can help you close complex deals. But if you’re selling to consumers, a buyer’s journey may be more effective.

Sales funnel is a great way to track and measure the progress of your sales team or individual salespeople. It can also be used as a tool to close more deals and increase revenue. However, there are certain situations when it might be more beneficial to use a buyer’s journey instead of a sales funnel.

Situations when buyer journey is preferred over sales funnel

  1. If you’re selling a product or service that requires a lot of education on the part of the buyer, then using a buyer’s journey might be a better option. This is because the buyer’s journey allows you to map out all of the steps that need to be taken in order for the sale to be completed successfully.
  2. If you’re selling a high-priced item. In this case, it’s important to be able to track the progress of each individual buyer so that you can provide them with the best possible customer service.
  3. If you have a very complex sales process, then using a sales funnel might not be the best option. This is because a sales funnel can only track the progress of the sale from start to finish. If your process is more complicated than that, then using a buyer’s journey might be a better way to go.
All You Need to Know About the Sales Funnel vs Buyer Journey pin

Sales Funnel vs Buyer Journey Summary

In this blog post we discussed what is sales funnel and what is buyer journey. Pros and cons of sales funnel and buyer journey and situations where sales funnel is preferred over buyer journey and vice versa. We hope this article has given you a good overview of the sales funnel and buyer journey. Have you tried using one or both of these methods in your own business? Are there any situations where you think the sales funnel would work better than the buyer journey, or vice versa? Let us know in the comments below!

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