How to Reverse Engineer a Competitor’s Sales Funnel

Reading Time: 6 Minutes

Most people don’t set out to reverse engineer a sales funnel. They just have a goal, like growing their email list or getting more downloads. So, they start building an email list or creating a free offer. But, as the weeks, months, or years go on, they wonder why they’re not seeing their expected results. Like any sales business, reverse engineering your competitors’ sales pipeline and roadmap will help you understand how to best approach your own funnel. This article will discuss the ins and outs of a sales funnel and provide some concrete steps that you can take to help you reverse engineer other funnels to ultimately improve your own.

What Is a Sales Funnel?

A sales funnel is a marketing strategy that typically starts with a lead magnet, followed by a series of well-designed emails that entice the reader to take the next step. A sales funnel can be used for many different types of businesses. It could be used for lead generation, email marketing, user retention in mobile apps, or even social media advertising. Sales funnels are not new in the business world, but they have been gaining traction recently due to their ability to generate high-quality leads and convert them into customers. While they can seem like complex beasts when you are getting started, numerous online resources can help you get one up and running. 

You also have numerous options when it comes to selecting the software to help you design and implement your funnel. ClickFunnels is one of the more popular options thanks to its range of applications and resources, including webinars to get you started. You can learn more about the webinar from SupplyGem, which specializes in providing comprehensive advice pertaining to sales and marketing. Once you are confident, you can apply for a free ClickFunnels trial and put into practice what you have learned.

How Does a Sales Funnel Work?

A funnel is used to direct potential customers towards an outcome at its core. This could include getting them to sign up for a newsletter, but in most cases, it is to achieve a sale and hopefully keep that customer on your email list for future promotions. Funnels typically rely on what is known in the industry as AIDA, which stands for:


This is when you get a customer’s attention for the first time. It may be a tweet, a Facebook post, via a search engine, or something else. Essentially, it is something you do to ensure that prospects learn about what products or services you offer that they need.


When customers reach the interest phase of the sales funnel, they’re conducting their investigations, comparing prices, and weighing their options. You have the opportunity to provide them with fantastic information that will benefit them rather than selling them something. If you push your product or service from the beginning, you’ll turn prospects off and drive them away. In this process, you will establish your expertise, help the client make an informed decision, and offer assistance in whatever way you can. In other words, you let them know why they need it rather than telling them they need it.


The decision part of a sales funnel is the last step before a customer makes the purchase. This is the time when they have to decide whether they need what you are selling or not. By now, the lead should be sufficiently hot enough to push a bit harder (although you still need to be delicate about it).


This is the ultimate objective of any funnel and the part where the prospect chooses whether to buy or not. However, if you have put in sufficient effort in the initial phases, the result will already be inevitable. However, to make the most of your efforts, you shouldn’t simply be satisfied with making a sale. Instead, you should aim to retain your new customer by ensuring they are happy with the choice they made.

How to Reverse Engineering Your Competitors' Funnels

So, with all that said and done, how can you go about making the best possible funnel to achieve the goal you desire? The answer lies in reverse engineering your competitors’ funnel. Competitor analysis is a crucial skill for any business. It helps you understand your competition and identify their strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities. It also allows you to identify new opportunities that may not have been previously considered. Fortunately, as long as you follow several steps, it isn’t as complicated as it sounds.

Identify Who Your Competitors Are

The first step is to identify who you believe you are competing against. You will have to establish both direct and indirect counterparts to achieve the best results. 

  • Direct: A direct competitor is a company or publisher that sells or markets the same products as your business. You and your direct competitors are often evaluated by your customers before making a purchase or converting. By examining what your direct competition is doing, you will better understand what you need to do to replicate or improve.
  • Indirect: An indirect competitor is a business in a different niche than you but uses similar methods to attract new customers and leads. It is possible to gain invaluable information that you may never have considered and implement it into your own funnel.

The best way to discover funnels to reverse engineer is to hang out where you think they promote their services. This could be social media, their own website, or any number of community forums such as Reddit and Quora.

Funnel building software Systeme suggests a few popular funnels that you could reverse engineer: The Epik Summit (a marketing summit), Dot Com Truths Membership (a tech support membership), and Funnel Vibe (sales automation software).

Be The Customer

Once you have made a list of businesses you want to examine, the next step is to be the customer. This means that you need to take the journey that a real customer will take. Although this can be a laborious process, it can provide you with great insights into the content they use, potential bottlenecks, and how direct they are with their prospects. This is also an excellent opportunity for you to observe their structure and layout from the standpoint of user experience. Determine whether navigating through another sales funnel is significantly easier than going through yours and what you can learn from this experience to improve the UX of your sales funnel.

Analyze Their Ads

In order to understand what your competitors are doing, you need to know their advertising and marketing strategies. Adverts are used in various ways with sales funnels and are typically the first contact a prospect will have with your business. They can be used as part of the lead generation process or as an incentive for people who have already purchased something. You have two options for this step:

  1. Do it manually
  2. Use tools

However, the best method is to use a combination of both options, which will yield the best results. Regarding tools, you have numerous options, but all perform similar functions. You enter their website and/ or keywords, and the tool will evaluate what ads they are currently using. Some things to look for include:

  • Ad copy: Ad copy includes the headline, subhead, body copy, and call-to-action. The text is often short, catchy, and easy to remember. It can also be used to convey emotions and imply a message. You should see what wording they use and what tactics they apply to appeal to the customer. Make notes as you read through them so that you can apply similar copy for your funnel advertising.
  • Design: Getting an advert right involves a delicate balance of being flashy enough to catch someone’s eye but not so much that it is off-putting. Check what they are doing in terms of design and see if it matches up with your own research regarding your target audience.
  • Location: Advertising to the wrong audience will only result in wasted money. Therefore, look at where your competitors spend their advertising dollars and see if it could work for you.
  • Relevancy: Just as you waste money advertising to the wrong audience, irrelevant ads will do the same.
  • Where it directs to: Click on their ads and see where it takes you; by doing this, you will discover two things. First, you can see if they are using some kind of tracking code (like a UTM code). If so, you also might want to consider doing the same. Second, you will see where you are taken and what their landing page looks like.
  • What calls to action they are using: Finally, you will want to look at their advert call to action. See what copy they use and how they style it.

Analyze Their Landing Page

The landing page is arguably one of the most important aspects of a sales funnel. A sales funnel landing page is a web page that contains the various steps of the sales funnel and encourages visitors to take specific actions. You can evaluate their landing page by checking out the copy, design elements, and relevance. For a landing page to be successful, it needs to include several points:

  • It needs to be separate from your homepage.
  • It should be brief enough to scan but detailed enough so that a prospect understands your offer.
  • There shouldn’t be any way for visitors to navigate away from it.
  • The design should be clean and include lots of images and white space.
  • It should match the source of the visitor. In other words, if you use a specific copy in your ad, it should match what you use on the landing page. 
  • It must have plenty of options for a customer to proceed to the next step.
  • Describe the pain points and what actions you will take to eliminate them.
  • It shouldn’t ask for the world. If you need their email, keep it simple and allow them to enter their basic information.


Hopefully, this article has provided you with the necessary information required to reverse engineer a competitor’s sales funnel successfully. By following the steps outlined above, you should gain a treasure trove of information that you can use for your own campaign.

I'm Allison Dunn,

Your Business Executive Coach

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