Wednesday, 14 September 2011

The funnel is not dead … just revived in a new format, the sales and marketing timer

The funnel isn’t dead, here are 5 reasons why it is revived in a new format:



1.       The funnel should not be a funnel, but a timer. With a top [acquisition] and a bottom [retention] and a timer is in essence a closed circuit. In the top, prospects are already profiled and known [rather than an endless sea of suspects]. In the bottom, clients don’t just drop out the bottom of the funnel, but are taken care of, retained and if trust builds, could generate recommendations and positive word of mouth. You can flip a timer, not a funnel.
 
2.       The funnel was misunderstood in the first place. The sales and marketing timer is a measurement tool to track and analyze the sales and marketing situation, what is working and not working [conversion rates], is there progression through the timer, what is the speed of the progression. It helps with tracking the health of the business. It was never a description of the buyers journey, which is not necessarily linear and sometimes surprising.

3.  The funnel can't be shaken, or turned up side down, there is only one way down. A timer [sand timer, hour glass] can be slowed down by turning it upside down. The clients that become loyal can become promoters of your company and produce positive [or negative] word of mouth. Prospects buying decisions are not linear we know this, during the zero moment of truth, which can last a long while, they are changing their decision based on inputs from around them, perhaps adding more options and taking out options, or a stimulus speeds up their decision. Which is another reason why a timer is better mataphor than a funnel in defining the situation.

4.       The sales and marketing timer needs to be aligned with the buyer journey. The timer does not replace  the necessary understanding of where the buyer is in their journey. In order to use the timer effectively, it is necessary to question, listen, observe and analyze the behavior and triggers that indicate where the buyer is in their journey and then track this in the timer. As a result, sales and marketing can identify what is needed to pull the buyer/client to the next stage of the timer, if they know where they are currently.

5.       Both inbound and outbound can impact the speed of movement through the timer. New inbound conversation channels such as social media don’t make the timer obsolete. Sales people will tell you, their outbound communication channels such as [cold] calling are still a very sound way to generate quality leads. Social media can help pull prospects to the next stage of their buying journey, through educating and helping, as opposed to hard selling. The timer tracks how quickly they are pulled to the next stage and which activities and triggers have been most successful in achieving this progression.

6.       Sales and marketing colleagues need a collaboration tool more than ever. Sales and marketing have never made great bedfellows, so taking away a great collaborative tracking tool such as the timer is going to widen the divide.  Marketing needs to become more accountable to the business and closing the loop and tracking ROI is essential for its survival. Sales needs the timer to track their pipeline and forecasts and use this to communicate with marketing about how to gain movement in the timer and where marketing and sales should focus their [individual and joint] efforts.  


Sources:

27 comments:

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Perfectly discussed these five reasons and I'm delighted to learn how funnel revived in a new format. I think business sales and marketing effort this new format will be highly effective. Sometimes simply sharing data is what is required. This is pretty easy with the sales pipeline module from PanXpan.

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