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The 10 best strategic business slides of all time: #8 — The Sales Funnel


In the eighth post in this series, Nigel Malone shares the contents of another of his favourite business keynote slides, drawn from a cross-section of sources that includes some of the great business, brand and military planners of all time.

Also in this series:

Favourite Slide #8: The Sales Funnel

Anyone in sales will tell you it’s a process — and they are dead right. But what is that process? Enter the Sales Funnel, another of my favourite slides.

The Sales Funnel breaks down the sales ‘process’ — each step integral in getting the consumer over the line. The more conscious you are of these steps, the more chance you have of creating a sale. If you neglect a step, you’ll get a disruption of flow, or worse still, only a trickle of sales.


The funnel at its widest point is where you need the biggest number of prospects, so cast your net as wide as possible dependent on your target audience. All the awareness in the world, however, doesn’t mean anyone will be interested in buying your product.


Will you get to second base? Sure you’ve got the consumers’ attention, quite likely only for a few seconds, but do they see any value in what you have to offer? You can guess, or you can base it on a tangible, no–obligation commitment from your prospect — to visit your store, sign–up online for a free trial, try those shoes on for size or fill out a coupon for more info. Any of these can be deemed as ‘interest’.

Desire (preference)

Consumers don’t operate in a vacuum — you have competition. It is at this point that consumers make their decision as to who has the superior product, service or brand — you or your competition. Some marketers call this achieving ‘preference’ with the consumer.

Action (intention)

The consumer has identified a need. They have been made aware of your solution to fulfil that need. They have shown interest in your product and recognise its’ value. The have also looked at your competitors and actually prefer your product over theirs. The decision-making process is complete and they have an intention to purchase your product.

I spent many years working on a large tourism marketing account. At the outset of the relationship, significant research was undertaken, specifically around the sales funnel and where consumers sat with regard to preference (Desire) and intention (Action). It was found the destination held a special place in the heart and minds of Australians. Awareness and interest was high. Compared to other Australian locations, it was also highly preferred as a holiday destination to visit at some point in their lives.

Therein lay the problem. It was thought of as ‘a must-see destination before I die’. A long–term, not a short–term, intention. One that was often put–off for another time.

Only by a close examination of the sales funnel, and where consumers were getting stuck, were we able to identify successful marketing strategies to unblock the funnel and get visitation flowing.

Nigel Malone is a freelance brand strategist and writer, with particular expertise in the fields of tourism, finance, technology, sustainability and social change. Connect with him on Linkedin http://au.linkedin.com/in/nigelmalone