Most people will have heard of the “Sales Funnel”. This is a simple concept. You put lots of Prospects in the top, move them through the sales process and over a period of time some of the Prospects come out as Customers at the bottom. If you keep doing that and refining the processes as you go, you should be able to make this a reasonably predictable model. I.e I get 100 people interested each month and I convert 60 of them each month to customers. The job then is to improve the conversion rate and reduce the cost of selling etc – but that’s a different blog.
What many will be involved in but probably not aware of is Marketing’s version of this.
It’s the same principle however. I market to lots of people, attract a proportion of them, engage some of them, get a few of them to leave details or download something or maybe even agree to a sales appointment.
In many instances, Marketing’s funnel actually feeds Sales’ funnel, so the ones that drop out Marketing’s funnel go into the top of the one marked “Sales” as a Prospect….see what I mean?
Well you see the Marketing funnel never really worked in the Business to Business (B2b) World.
Everyone sort of secretly knew it too.
It’s just that “doing lots of marketing” feels good. It makes agencies happy and keeps them in business, it helps keep marketing teams in a job and it allows everyone to point at the list of events they’ve done this year or the number of emails they’ve sent or the number of press cuttings and the amount they’ve spent on telemarketing etc.
It was a bit annoying however when the pesky sales team would tend to moan that none of this actually made much difference to the leads and opportunities they were keen to work on. That would happen at least once a month.
It also got a bit more difficult each quarter when the Sales Director and Marketing Director would meet round a big table with other important looking people and would “agree to disagree”.
The worst time of all was when it came to the end of the Financial Year and the really annoying people who count the money would question whether having spent so much, there was any return in view.
It was usually OK because someone would shout, “Brand Awareness” and everyone would relax again.
And anyway that only really lasted until the Xmas party and then the budgets or “allocations” were set and we could do the whole thing again.
It’s a bit different now though.
Now there’s less time, less tolerance and a lot less money. There’s also a lot more competition and fewer customers too.
What’s happening now is that savvy marketers are realising what it was that sales were doing which made so much sense.
You see marketing had; agencies (of many and varied types), Marcomms managers, PR Managers, direct mail, CRM, Marketing Automation (ho ho!), Digital etc etc.
Sales people on the other had a car, a phone, 24hrs in a day, a fat carrot in front of them and a pointy stick behind them.
On the whole the sales people per capita and per £ invested, tended to find and deliver considerably more revenue and profit.
So argue, shout, defend and debate all you like….but I’ll let you in on a secret. The people round the big table and the ones with their hands on the bank account..know it’s true too.
So, the savvy marketers are giving up on their own idea of a funnel and are enjoying the simple benefits that thrift can bring. They are going back to their routes of research, proposition development, market testing, sales support and customer engagement.
They are in fact, spending a lot less and achieving a lot more.
Now there’s a thing.