Marketing funnel automation is great- but you still need these key principles

Although the marketing funnel has remained relatively unchanged, automation and digital marketing have become a key factor in how prospects enter and stay in the funnel. This article covers the structure of the modern marketing funnel, and the best-practice tools that can help automate your funnel.

With an efficient automation system in operation, brands can free their time of admin and see a massive difference in their sales campaign performance. This blog will teach brands which tools are best suited for their needs and therefore how to improve conversions.

How the marketing funnel changed over time

Elias St. Elmo Lewis developed the sales funnel in 1898. He created the first marketing funnel by breaking down the customer journey into stages. These stages are still used to this day, which include awareness, interest, desire, and action. The acronym is still very popular to this day: AIDA.

Elias St. Elmo Lewis conceptualised the AIDA marketing funnel model
Elias St. Elmo Lewis

Much of the sales funnel hasn’t changed in the past hundred years. The modern marketing funnel is still based on Lewis’ work. Slight variances have emerged over the years, though with leading marketing organisations like Hubspot, Moz and Forrester stressing it.

The obsolete traditional marketing funnel

The traditional marketing funnel teaches brands that consumers will simply complete their purchase journey. This concept is still valid but has significantly developed to meet the demands of modern consumers.

Even when different companies have a slightly different marketing funnel, brands will find obvious distinctions from the obsolete sales funnels of the past.

The Modern Sales Funnel:

1) Does not end with a purchase.

2) Requires marketing growth tactics at every stage.

3) Is not linear.

The traditional marketing funnel is no longer effective in today's ecommerce market
Source: Docplayer

Timeless principles of the traditional marketing funnel

The aim of a purchase funnel has always been the same — to drive sales and generate revenue. It’s a fundamental part of any business that sells any kinds of products or services to an audience. At its most basic level, the traditional funnel comprises three important stages:

  1. Awareness–The stage when the customer discovers the brand.
  2. Interest–The stage when customers show an active interest in the product or service.
  3. Decision–When the customers decide if the products and services are something that they will need.
  4. Action–When the customer purchases the product or service.

These stages have not changed, but it has developed into having additional layers. These all work together to ensure that easing customers to the end of the funnel is still a crucial priority.

What the modern marketing funnel can bring to your company

Every business needs to investigate what channels work, what helps the brand grow and which ones don’t. Understanding this process is the only way to guarantee that a business’ digital marketing funnel will work the intended way.

In the modern ecommerce marketing funnel, all the stages are still there, but they don’t look like they used to. Brands still have to attract leads and cause interest, but not necessarily in that order. They also need to prompt decisions and action, but not using the same tactics.

Why is Omnichannel Important?
Source: Think with Google

Modern marketing funnels allow leads to enter at any stage. Gone are the days when leads need to be “acquired” or walk through a series of predictable stages. The customer’s journey is now an omnichannel. Automating the marketing funnel will help ensure that the brand is ready to meet the customer’s need at any point in the sales process. 

For more established businesses, expanding the basic sales funnel to accommodate additional stages may be necessary.

Additional Sales Funnel Stages

  • Awareness–the moment a consumer discovers the product or service.
  • Interest–the potential customer shows an active interest in the product or service. 
  • Evaluation–comparing the products and services with those of rival brands.
  • Consideration–the leads take time to assess all available options or alternatives.
  • Desire–the customer decides that the product or service fits their needs or desires.
  • Action–the customer buys the products or service.
  • Revaluation–after the purchase, the customer continues to evaluate whether the product or service suits their needs. 
  • Repurchase – the customer is happy with their purchase and comes back for more.

What are the essential tools for marketing funnel automation?

There are dozens of marketing funnel automation software on the market. Understanding what each stage needs and what works best is what brands need to identify.


Clickfunnels is a software that allows brands to manage the entire sales funnel. It features multiple funnel templates and systems for almost any kind of service or product. Brands can set up a funnel, optimise it and even collect payments all in a single tool. The best feature that Clickfunnels offer is that it does not need a developer to make it work.

Clickfunnels is a great tool to use for your marketing funnel automation
Source: Clickfunnels

Brands only need to choose the industry where it belongs, such as B2B, network marketing, consulting or e-commerce. Then pick out the funnel that needs to be built, such as an event funnel or a lead magnet. Brands can design their marketing funnel the way they want it. It also comes with either free or paid templates, which allow brands to customise their funnel.


A suite of tools that supports marketing funnel automation. Sumo offers four amazing tools that brands can take advantage of:

  • Smart Bar (for collecting emails)–can create CTAs and placed at the top or bottom of a window.
  • Share buttons–best for social sharing.
  • Welcome Mat (for collecting emails)–used as a CTA, video, an article or a web page.
  • List Builder (for collecting emails)–used as a pop-up or as a click trigger.
Source: Sumo


This marketing funnel automation tool enables brands to create mind maps. If the current marketing funnel has moving parts, this tool will help put together and organise any ideas. Some features include:

  • Build funnels from scratch.
  • Customisable and ready-made templates.
  • Upload own images.
  • Choose unique shapes, fonts and colors.
  • Team collaboration.
  • Share funnels with social platforms.

Breakthrough Email

This tool allows brands to optimise their cold email strategy. This time there is no need to train the sales team since this tool will pick out the customers. It can also handle sending cold emails to leads. Breakthrough email allows brands to study their prospects and target high value leads to ensure better conversion.


This tool is one of the best solutions if brands wish to map out their funnels in the most efficient way possible. The tool takes out simple problems that marketers face, such as colors, shapes and labels that represent various parts of the sales funnel.

For marketing funnel automation consider tools such as funnelytics


  • Specific icons, traffic sources, offline channels and pages
  • Premium templates that are modeled after some of the best campaigns online
  • A vault which contains free templates
  • Share your sales funnel with an audience is a web-based software that allows brands to sketch their funnels with ease. It comes with a drag and drops functionality, as well as dozens of options to create a beautifully made sales funnel. is another great marketing funnel automation tool


  • Easy drag-and-drop function so that brands can easily resize, add text and design their funnels.
  • Create templates for repurposing in the future
  • Export sketches
  • Share sketches with other users
  • Specific icons can create order pages, landing pages, sales pages, launch pages, webinar pages, traffic source and follow-up methods.

Thrive Leads

Thrive Leads is a WordPress plugin tool that can help generate email subscribers. The tool is popular for its opt-in forms. It focuses on building and deploying an opt-in box that is useful for collecting email addresses and managing lead magnets.

Thrive Leads is another excellent ecommerce automation tool


Typeform is the best tool for brands that want to generate leads uniquely and interactively. It allows brands to deploy surveys and quizzes that generate interest. It is an excellent tool to help improve engagement from the start to the end, as well as segment the email list.

For your marketing funnel automation consider tools like Typeform


For brands that want to be interactive on a whole new level, Wishpond allows better user-generated content to run smoothly. This tool allows brands to create fun social media contests, which brings more leads to the top of the funnel.

Wishpond is another excellent marketing funnel automation tool

Join 11,458 smart
online marketers

Get tips and resources for every phase of your business, delivered to your inbox

Table of Contents

About James

James is an award winning digital strategist with over 20 years experience helping challenger brands and market leaders (Unilever, Diageo, MasterCard, HSBC) launch and scale their data-driven sales and marketing. Connect on Linkedin

Related Posts

Follow Us

Sign up for our Newsletter

Get tips and resources for every phase of your business, delivered to your inbox