Rethinking The Sales Funnel: The Ask To Realign Marketing Alongside The Digital Sales Landscape

 Think of the traditional sales funnel every bit a casualty of today Rethinking the Sales Funnel: The Need to Realign Marketing alongside the Digital Sales Landscape
by Chase Davis

Think of the traditional sales funnel every bit a casualty of today’s digital innovations. The internet, mobile access in addition to smartphones, in addition to the social networking spider web receive got transformed the electrical flow sales landscape into 1 where the funnel no longer applies.

According to a survey done past times SiriusDecisions, the buyer’s journeying is directly 67 percentage digital. Our electrical flow unrestricted access to information has changed the means people create purchases. Buyers move through the sales funnel non from the top down. Instead, they come upwards inwards at varying stages, navigate the funnel erratically, in addition to eat content at every phase of the buyer’s journey.

This puts your content marketing – every bit good every bit its offshoot, video marketing – inwards the forefront. Is your content marketing aligned alongside what your sales squad needs, inwards club to create the project of developing relationships in addition to closing deals? Is your sales squad armed alongside marketing collateral suitable for the novel sales environment?

How People Consume Content Today

H5N1 written report past times the 2014 Marketing Leadership Council of CEB (now known every bit Gartner) claims that 57 percentage of the purchasing conclusion receive got been made fifty-fifty earlier a client meets a salesperson. This has express marketing’s capacity to educate in addition to influence, which are some of its main roles.

Access to information is at the pump of this reality. People are consuming content inwards increasing levels. According to inquiry done past times Hubspot Research inwards 2016, video content tops the list, followed closely past times social media, tidings in addition to long shape concern content. Of these sites, Facebook has the most impressive increase, upwards past times 57 percent.

Mobile usage is on an uptrend too. In fact, it has surpassed desktop usage, every bit of 2016.  Here, social media in addition to video content are inwards closed disceptation for the top spot, at 52 percentage in addition to 49 percent, respectively. Mobile notifications receive got likewise increased past times 34 percent, beating conventional content aggregators, such every bit RSS.

 Think of the traditional sales funnel every bit a casualty of today Rethinking the Sales Funnel: The Need to Realign Marketing alongside the Digital Sales Landscape

Video Consumption Trends

It is worthwhile to annotation video content’s increased prominence every bit the leading content format for regular in addition to mobile cyberspace use. According to the Hubspot research, almost one-half the respondents spotter at to the lowest degree an hour’s worth of videos a week. Leading video sites, Facebook in addition to YouTube, likewise peg their views at billions of videos each day.

Interestingly too, some other written report – this fourth dimension past times Forbes – says that 75 percentage of surveyed executives take in work-related videos regularly, almost one-half of which are done through YouTube. Of these, 65 percentage are spurred into action, such every bit visiting linked concern websites. Another 53 percentage extend what they had seen on video format past times conducting farther research. This conduct is shared across all executive historic menses levels.

Content Consumption in addition to its Implications on Marketing

All this implies an evolved B2B in addition to B2C consumer. Buyers receive got move sophisticated, making the most of information that’s literally at their fingertips. They acquire online when necessary, wherever they are. They await or enquire for information. They tin create decisions on the spot, fifty-fifty without the intervention of a sales rep.

The biggest challenge for marketing in addition to sales teams today is penetrating this spider web of information, such that y'all are withal able to extend your message to your target audience. Research suggests that videos are the top format to acquire your total message across. Of course, this does non hateful abandoning other content formats; in that location are advantages, depending on your industry.

In the past, we’ve used the sales funnel to map your buyer’s journey: to reckon where your customers are, in addition to to know in addition to render the information that they demand in addition to the marketing collateral your sales squad needs. We demand to rethink this funnel to consider the novel realities of the digital sales landscape.

Why the Traditional Sales Funnel No Longer Works

Take the story of Sephora, every bit shared past times its CMO Julie Bornstein. Sephora is a French chain of cosmetics stores that has been around since the belatedly 1960s. As alongside others inwards its industry, it has relied on marketing to generate create awareness. Word of oral cavity from its advocates or create ambassadors helps too.

Bornstein in addition to her squad has seen how the sales landscape changed inwards the digital age. Everything had to live on “quicker, faster in addition to further.” So, they brought together all the stages of the funnel in addition to instead, created a community.

Within the community, people tin uncovering solutions to their problems in addition to larn nigh products. Users from dissimilar stages of their buyer’s journeying tin enquire questions, decide/ alter their minds, in addition to possibly eventually buy. They mightiness fifty-fifty cease upwards at an actual store, where a beauty specialist tin assist them. But, fifty-fifty earlier that happens, a goodness amount of discovering in addition to learning has taken place. It’s non far-fetched to intend that the customers who create move to the shop receive got made upwards 57 percentage of their minds.

This sort of approach to marketing is no longer unique. Others are starting fourth dimension to accept this non-linear path. The biggest critique of sales funnels, after all, is their linearity, which does non jive alongside the demand to live on “quicker, faster in addition to further.”

 Think of the traditional sales funnel every bit a casualty of today Rethinking the Sales Funnel: The Need to Realign Marketing alongside the Digital Sales Landscape

Everyday Example of a Non-Linear Buyer’s Journey

Sephora’s example is non an isolated one. For both B2C in addition to B2B businesses, customers are taking it upon themselves to larn nigh their options first. They see companionship websites, back upwards forums, blogs, review sites in addition to social media venues to notice out to a greater extent than nigh the production they’re interested in. They verbalize to friends – in addition to fifty-fifty non-friends, for that matter, every bit long every bit they tin live on reached online – for recommendations in addition to skillful opinion.

Even on a typical e-commerce site, such every bit Amazon, discoveries are made each second. H5N1 client is a click away from buying or changing their minds.

The Customer Decision Journey: An Imperfect Alternative

Rethinking the sales funnel is a means of agreement the novel buyer. It gives us an thought where their touchpoints (opportunities for engagement) are, in addition to how we, every bit marketers in addition to sales professionals, tin extend a helping hand.

The funnel alternative Customer Decision Journey was popularized past times McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm. Here, the funnel is completely removed from the buyer’s journey. Instead, the procedure is a circle alongside one’s purchasing conclusion at the core.

And piece this is inherently ameliorate than the sales funnel, it is withal lacking. It withal puts the purchasing conclusion or transaction at the center, which is non the example for customers. As software companionship SAP Digital’s Chief Digital Officer Jonathan Becher says: “…The pin is the experience, non the purchase.”

The Customer Engagement Journey

The demand to non create the purchase the pump is best reflected inwards the example of advocates. Advocates are create ambassadors – or fans or followers, to utilisation social media parlance. Today, y'all don’t demand to purchase inwards club to move an advocate. As Twitter’s Global Brand Marketing VP, Joel Lunenfeld says: “You no longer receive got to live on a client to live on an advocate. The novel social currency is sharing what’s cool inwards the moment.”

For instance, y'all don’t demand to ain a Tesla to follow Elon Musk on social media in addition to live on excited to reckon what he volition create next. You don’t demand to gear upwards similar a chef or live on nigh whatever of his restaurants to spotter Gordon Ramsay’s cooking demos on YouTube. But, what y'all move is an advocate. You are engaged alongside their brands, in addition to would probable percentage interesting content that comes from them.

Credit menu companionship Visa’s Chief Brand Officer, Antonio Lucio, explains this every bit making the human relationship the center, instead of focusing on the purchasing conclusion or transaction. He says that: “When y'all alter from conclusion to engagement, y'all alter the entire model.”

He argues that today, in that location are a lot to a greater extent than opportunities to engage than to transact. And, piece this does non speedily interpret to sales, it develops a human relationship that volition live on worth to a greater extent than than 1 transaction.

 Think of the traditional sales funnel every bit a casualty of today Rethinking the Sales Funnel: The Need to Realign Marketing alongside the Digital Sales Landscape

Aligning Marketing alongside Sales

“… Getting the sales in addition to marketing teams to synergize is organizational destination expose one. Every success grows from their collaboration in addition to costless central of ideas, because y'all can’t serve the client correct when your best people are working blind.” – Marshall Lager, Managing Principal at Third Idea Consulting, a social CRM in addition to SMM consulting company.

The Sales Funnel in addition to Customer Decision Journey volition e'er live on there, referred to – fifty-fifty past times us – every directly in addition to then. It is an slowly means to compartmentalize the displace of our leads in addition to customers. Within the express capacities of these models, they tin withal operate on certainly situations.

However, this shouldn’t hinder us from learning the truthful buyer’s journeying – the 1 that goes “quicker, faster in addition to further.”

After all, what nosotros actually desire is to align the content marketing that nosotros create alongside what our target audience needs – in addition to what our sales teams need, every bit well. To create this, it is best to move out these 2 models upwards inwards the attic to assemble dust.

Any approach or model that hinges on transaction or the purchasing conclusion is outflow to missy out on the limitless engagements made possible past times digital technology. Content is cardinal to these engagements. In fact, it is of utmost importance during that bridge of fourth dimension our marketplace hasn’t reached out to our sales team. It is how nosotros penetrate a spider web total of information in addition to acquire our message across. And, farther downwards the buyer’s journey, it is what nosotros demand to arm our sales teams with: engaging, useful content.

So, inwards choosing a framework through which y'all tin align the efforts of your marketing in addition to sales teams, think these:

  •     The path to purchasing is no longer linear. Our customers follow a spider web of information, in addition to move dorsum in addition to forth (up, downwards in addition to around), earlier making a purchase. In some cases, the buyer’s journeying takes months at a time, in addition to after viewing several content. In others, it tin accept seconds.
  •     There are several dimensions to social influence. It is no longer the sole constituent of your marketing squad to construct your brand. The cyberspace does some – if not, a lot – of the operate for you. Keep rail of your online reputation. There are several costless in addition to paid tools y'all tin utilisation for this.
  •     Don’t disregard your advocates. Whether or non they’re customers, these advocates receive got a social clout that tin live on to your advantage. When planning your content in addition to video marketing strategies, move on them inwards mind.
  •     Focus on the relationships that y'all construct alongside those y'all engage alongside through your content in addition to video marketing. Don’t pose transaction or the purchasing conclusion every bit your cease goal; the digital sales landscape does non operate that way.
  •     And, whatever y'all do, measure. You won’t probable acquire to the best approach to an aligned sales in addition to marketing on the initiative of all try. (And no, possibly non fifty-fifty on the 2nd nor third.) There volition live on a demand to calibrate in addition to recalibrate your approach, until y'all larn the mutual paths taken past times your customers.

Do thence methodically, through available analytics tools. Make certainly to mensurate of import metrics, over a menses of time, peculiarly when y'all recalibrate your approach.

There are a lot to await frontwards to alongside marketing in addition to sales teams that operate together to accept on the immense digital sales environment.

About the Author: Chase Davis, Account Executive - CX Consultant

Originally posted on Tenfold.com

Photo credit: Photos past times Karolina Grabowska / Kaboompics

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