The Sales Funnel philosophy is based on the premise that every consumer enters the buy cycle at a different stage. Commonly, marketing efforts try to rush buyers down the funnel and initiate the final sales cycle too early, and thus, turn off customers.
The Sales Funnel recognizes where every visitor enters the funnel and treats them accordingly, nurturing them with information given at the right times and leads them down the funnel so they are ready to make a purchase once they have been given the answers and knowledge they need to make an educated decision.
When a searcher converts to a visitor, they can either leave the website or download more information, which turns that visitor into a lead. The kind of information they request will indicate where they are in the buy cycle, and they are treated accordingly.
For example, it wouldn’t make sense to send a lead an executive summary when they have just asked for more information to learn about what it is you have to offer. The trick is to take things slowly and nurture the buyer, giving them what they need so they can become an educated customer of yours with managed expectations.