Rethinking your sales and marketing strategy is a daunting prospect for any business. But, accepting the status quo will ultimately limit your potential for growth, and cost you business.
The traditional sales funnel, believed to have been invented by E St Elmo Lewis in 1898, the sales funnel is widely regarded as the first formal theory of marketing.
While it has stood the test of time, it is time for the sales funnel to retire and give way to the flywheel.
A traditional sales process is linear. David Brock, in the article below, refers to it as a production line.
However, today's customers aren’t engaged in a linear buying process. When you start mapping it, the buying process can be very complicated.
The sales funnel is not able to adapt to buyer's seemingly chaotic behaviour. All the energy is pushing prospects through the funnel; it is not possible to change direction.
There is no natural point in the process where Marketing can hand the baton to Sales a wave of marketing qualified leads into the distance.
Of course, some buyers will unwittingly follow your carefully mapped out sales process to the letter, though likely this will be more through luck than judgement. The majority will start, stop, change direction, abandon altogether, reassess options, restart again, change scope, you get the idea.
Sales and marketing need to become a united front and engage with prospects through every stage of the flywheel to reduce friction and ultimately keep the wheel spinning.
Salespeople can also no longer stop once the cash is in the bank, or the product is shipped. Your customers are your strongest advocates and need to be treated as such; customer acquisition costs are rocketing.
The companies that will continue to grow are the ones that are prepared to dramatically simplify their organisational structures, more clearly define roles/responsibilities, and reduce the friction/handoffs in the process.
The chaotic buying process is not something customer do by design, it’s a reflection of the reality customers face in trying drive change in their organizations. This presents a huge opportunity for vendors, whatever can be done to help customer understand what they need to understand, helping them simplify the buying process, navigating the journey far more easily.