A sales pipeline and a sales funnel are two sides of the same coin. While both do pertain to and follow the flow of your company’s sales process, their main focuses are very different.
What is a sales pipeline?
A sales pipeline is a set of concrete steps or stages a prospect completes to progress from a lead to eventually a buying customer. The steps are usually represented by specific actions taken by your prospect.
It may look something like subscribing to your newsletter or reaching out in an email requesting more information or a product demo.
Whatever the action may be, they will describe where your prospect is in the sales cycle and normally (and ideally) these actions will be tracked in your CRM.
A sales rep can use their sales pipeline to forecast what actions should be taken to nurture a prospect along their journey as well as where they can improve their sales process.
What is a sales funnel?
Your sales funnel focuses on quantity. A sales funnel is used to represent the typical flow of your prospective buyers, starting wide at the top to encompass every lead at the start of your sales process, and narrowing as certain segments of leads become unqualified and deals stall.
The sales funnel tracks the number of prospects and their conversion rates from one stage of the funnel to the next to the next. From a sales funnel you can gather exact percentages of how many leads advance through different stages in your pipeline.