Lead Generation Funnel Example

A lead generation funnel is a systematic approach that salespeople and marketers use to generate quality prospects. It maps a lead’s journey from brand awareness to taking action, and it helps guide the process of nurturing leads towards becoming qualified prospects. A lead generation funnel is typically divided into stages that mirror the unique lead generation process of a business, with more qualified leads progressing further down the funnel. In this article, we will explore the stages of a lead generation funnel and provide an example to help you understand how it works.

How Lead Generation Funnels Work

Lead generation funnels are typically divided into three broad parts: top-of-funnel, middle-of-funnel, and bottom-of-funnel. Each phase represents a specific action that leads must take to advance to the next stage of qualification. By breaking the funnel into these phases, businesses can monitor the number of high-value leads in their pipeline and track the conversion rate at each stage. It’s important to note that only a small percentage of leads make it from the top to the bottom of the funnel.

The top-of-funnel phase is the awareness or discovery phase. The goal here is to make your leads comfortable with your brand and build trust. The middle-of-funnel phase is the interest and desire phase, where interested leads are exposed to your content or unique selling proposition (USP). Finally, the bottom-of-funnel phase is the action and qualification phase, where leads take specific actions, such as engaging with a lead magnet, and the sales team decides how to proceed with nurturing them.

There are two main types of lead generation funnels: online and outbound. Online lead generation funnels focus on a lead’s online journey from awareness to conversion, while outbound lead generation funnels involve manual outreach, such as cold calling or cold emailing. In this article, we will focus on providing an example of an online lead generation funnel.

5 Lead Generation Funnel Stages

While there are three main phases in a lead generation funnel (top-of-funnel, middle-of-funnel, and bottom-of-funnel), it can be helpful to break down the funnel further into five stages to better represent the lead journey from awareness to action. These stages include:

  1. Awareness: In this stage, leads become aware of your brand. This could be through reading blog posts or engaging with your social media content.

  2. Interest: Leads in this stage are interested in your brand and have consumed a lot of your content. They see value in what you offer and are likely to be receptive to your messaging.

  3. Desire: Leads in this stage desire an offering they have seen in your content. This could be a lead magnet, such as a free video course or ebook, that you have created.

  4. Action: In this stage, leads take a specific action, such as exchanging their email address for a lead magnet or calling your business. This action indicates their interest in further engagement.

  5. Qualification: Leads in this stage are at the bottom-of-funnel and need to be qualified further. This is typically done by analyzing their demographics and online behavior with a lead scoring model.

Once a lead is qualified, they move out of the lead generation funnel and enter the next steps of the sales process. If your product or service does not require contact with a sales representative, marketing may nurture the lead through an automated email sequence. However, if you sell B2B or high-ticket consumer items, a salesperson may schedule a meeting or further qualify the lead before investing time in selling to them.

How to Create an Online Lead Generation Funnel

To create an online lead generation funnel, you need to map out the lead journey and identify the touchpoints required to move leads through each stage of the funnel. Here are the steps to create your own online lead generation funnel:

  1. Map Your Lead Journey & Required Touchpoints: Determine the specific steps a lead needs to take to become qualified and the touchpoints required to move them through each stage. This will form the basis of your lead generation funnel.

  2. Build Awareness Through Free & Paid Content: Create free content, such as blog posts, YouTube videos, or social media posts, to make your ideal customers aware of your brand. You can also use paid advertising to boost brand visibility.

  3. Create Interest With a Lead Magnet: Develop a lead magnet, such as an ebook or discount offer, to capture leads’ contact information. Offer the lead magnet in exchange for their email address or other relevant information.

  4. Increase Desire With Landing Pages & Forms: Create landing pages or embed email capture forms within your content to offer the lead magnet. Make it easy for leads to opt-in and access the lead magnet.

  5. Facilitate Action Using an Opt-in Form: Design an opt-in form that captures the lead’s contact information. Keep the form layout clean and limit the number of required fields to make it quick and easy for leads to complete the form.

  6. Build a Thank-You Page: Create a thank-you page that confirms the lead’s successful completion of the opt-in form. Provide clear instructions on how to access the lead magnet and consider including additional content recommendations.

  7. Create a Lead Scoring Framework: Develop a lead scoring framework to qualify inbound leads. Assign scores based on demographics and online behavior to determine which leads are most likely to convert.

  8. Start Distributing Your Awareness Content: Share your awareness content through organic search engine traffic, paid advertising, and organic social media. Use a diversified approach to reach different types of leads.

By following these steps and optimizing your lead generation funnel, you can effectively generate online leads and nurture them towards becoming qualified prospects.

How to Create an Outbound Lead Generation Funnel

If you have an outbound lead generation process, you can create an outbound lead generation funnel to manage and nurture leads through manual outreach. Here’s how to create an outbound lead generation funnel:

  1. Outline Your Lead Generation Process: Define how you will generate manual leads through methods like cold calling or cold emailing. Map out the stages of your outreach process, including the required outreach steps.

  2. Create Brand Awareness: Make your leads aware of your brand before reaching out directly. Send marketing emails, interact with them on social media, or incorporate online lead generation strategies to build awareness.

  3. Build Interest & Desire: Reach out to leads directly to generate interest in your product or service. Mention specific problems or frustrations they may be experiencing and highlight how your solution can help.

  4. Inspire Action With Your CTA: Prompt leads to take action by requesting a longer conversation. Clearly explain the purpose of the call and the value they will gain from continuing the conversation.

  5. Qualify the Lead With a Discovery Call: Conduct a discovery call to assess the lead’s fit with your product or service. Ask qualifying questions to determine if the lead meets the criteria of a sales qualified lead (SQL).

By following these steps and optimizing your outbound lead generation funnel, you can effectively generate and qualify leads through manual outreach.

4 Tips to Optimize Your Lead Generation Funnel

To optimize your lead generation funnel and increase its effectiveness, consider implementing the following tips:

  1. Test Your Buyer Journey: Act as a lead and go through your own funnel to ensure everything is working properly. Fix any issues or hiccups that may affect conversions.

  2. Optimize Your Content for SEO: Make sure your content is optimized for search engines by using relevant keywords and providing valuable information to your target audience. This will help increase organic traffic to your website.

  3. Use Lead Generation Funnel Software: Utilize all-in-one marketing platforms or CRM software to build and manage your lead generation funnel. These tools offer features to create landing pages, web forms, and email drip campaigns, making it easier to execute your funnel strategy.

  4. Track Your Conversion Rate: Use CRM software or ad managers to track your conversions and other metrics that indicate the effectiveness of your lead generation funnel. This will help you identify areas for improvement and make data-driven decisions.

By implementing these tips and continuously optimizing your lead generation funnel, you can generate high-quality leads and increase your chances of converting them into customers.


A lead generation funnel is a powerful tool for salespeople and marketers to generate quality prospects. By mapping a lead’s journey from awareness to action, businesses can effectively guide leads through the qualification process. Whether you choose to create an online or outbound lead generation funnel, the key is to understand your target audience, provide valuable content, and prompt leads to take action. By optimizing your lead generation funnel and tracking your conversions, you can increase your chances of converting leads into customers and driving business growth.

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