Difference between Sales Funnel and Sales Pipeline

Marketing and sales are crucial to the success of any business. As a result, people may casually use a wide range of terms, assuming that their meanings will be immediately apparent. However, this is not the case with most common sales and marketing jargon, such as the sales funnel and the sales pipeline. These two graphs may appear to depict the same information—the movement of leads through the sales process—but they are actually quite different.

What is a Sales Funnel?

What is meant by the term "sales funnel" is the path that a potential customer takes from the first "awareness" stage to the final "deal closed" stage. The procedure was given its moniker due to its characteristic funnel shape. Data-driven goals for each department may be established with the use of the sales funnel's quantitative focus. However, it is only normal for the number of prospects to decline as the sales process advances, which is why the bottom is so narrow.

A sales funnel consists of the following stages −

  • Awareness − In this phase, generating leads is the main focus, and this is typically achieved by offering consumers free webinars, free articles, or advertisements.

  • Interest − Customers are showing signs of interest in the firm, its products, or its services at this stage of the sales process. A company's answer should be to inform potential consumers through various channels (email, newsletters, and even case studies).

  • Consideration − Setting up a sales call or a meet-up is typically the first point of contact.

  • Engagement − Create a connection with potential buyers by giving them helpful data on a topic they care about.

  • Conversion − By now, the customer has been converted from a potential lead and is at the last step of the sales funnel. In order to keep existing consumers and drive further purchases, brands should follow up on the services or products supplied to customers and make sure the client is satisfied.

Optimizing your company's sales funnel requires preventing the loss of leads at any stage and responding quickly if this occurs. In order to make the sales process more long-lasting, it is crucial to monitor not only the number of leads that enter the sales funnel but also the rate of conversion and the cost per client acquired.

What is a Sales Pipeline?

This depiction illustrates the sales leads and where they are in the buying cycle at this moment. Structures vary from company to company; however, the following are some common steps −

  • Qualification − During this phase, the customer service professional engages with the prospect in order to determine whether or not the prospect has a need for the product or service and whether or not the prospect can afford the product or service.

  • Meeting − If the customer has a need for the product or service, the salesperson will start a conversation with the intention of helping the customer discover the best possible answer.

  • Proposal − A salesman then provides a quotation outlining the terms of the deal, including the price and delivery schedule.

  • Closing − Once the contracts are signed, the prospective client becomes a paying customer.

There is a report available at each tier that might be used to demonstrate the total value and number of deals. These allow businesses to track the progress of individual contracts and see where they are in terms of closing sales. Further, the sales funnels may provide the team with information on the likelihood of achieving the set goals. This facilitates the decision-making process for sales leaders on overall objectives, individual targets, and new business development opportunities.

An effective sales pipeline may help you close more deals and make more money by streamlining your sales processes and keeping track of your leads, so you don't lose any of them.

Differences − Sales Funnel and Sales Pipeline

Both terms define the stages that prospective buyers go through before making a purchase decision. The following table highlights how a Sales Funnel is different from a Sales Pipeline −

Characteristics Sales Funnel Sales Pipeline


The sales funnel is a description of the customer's journey from first being aware of your company to finally making a purchase.

A sales pipeline is a visual representation of potential customers and where in the sales cycle they presently sit.


The sales process is heavily reliant on quantitative indicators.

The sales process has a lot of supporters in the sales funnel.


The sales funnel includes the stages of categorizing businesses, recording data on the most recent engagement, and applying tags to identify future actions.

The next stages in the sales pipeline are determined by referring to the sales pipeline management system's predefined plans, procedures, activities, and milestones.


Not only will the report show the conversion rates at each level of the sales funnel, but it will also give sales estimates based on the leads.

The value of the transactions in each stage of the sales pipeline as well as the total number of deals in each stage, may be found in a report on the sales pipeline.


The sales funnel is a description of the customer's journey from first being aware of your company to finally making a purchase. The technique lays an emphasis on numerical data and calls for the categorization of firms, the documentation of current interactions, and the application of tags to identify the next steps.

In contrast, a "sales pipeline" is a visual representation of leads and where in the sales process they currently are. Using the sales pipeline management system's set plans, processes, actions, and milestones as a basis for making decisions about what to do next emphasize the importance of process.