Did you know that marketing funnel was first introduced in the late 1800s. For decades marketers just like me have lived and breathed the marketing funnel. And we have seen all sorts of funnels being developed — marketing funnel, sales funnel, customer experience funnel.
It seems that any department that had 5 minutes to sit down and map their customer journey has developed their own version of it. And it makes sense right? Customers come in from one end and hopefully after a successful experience they will come out on the other end as happy clients. But what happens to customer experience?
You see with the marketing funnel for most cases the client feels like an afterthought. The main thing is to get that customer in top of the funnel, bombard it with all the possible marketing tactics we can muster in the middle of it and fingers crossed that we have pressured enough to get the sale. When we put it this way — it does seem a bit aggressive, right?
Let me put that in another perspective — how many of those customers would be glad that they went through that? How many of them would recommend that experience to their friends and teammates?
When we are talking about B2B there should only come one word to your mind — relationships. Majority of B2B deals and sales take much longer than B2C. Why? We all know why — because when a business is making decisions on procurement, they are going into a relationship with other businesses to better their own processes. It’s long term. No business likes to switch their vendors each year. It takes their valuable time. It takes their resources. And at the end of the day they lose a lot more than just “a vendor”.
Funnel is not relationship building
Now lets stitch these 2 sections together. How can a marketing funnel which is not customer focused lead to a successful customer experience? In most of the cases it cant.
I think that at this point you might start to wonder — is this the right article? It says B2B Marketing Funnel for 2022 but all this guy is doing is telling me how bad that funnel is? What is going on?
Yes! Yes, you are in the right place. But it’s not funnel. It’s a flywheel.
Instead of focusing on the customer as the end result, focus on the customer itself. Customer is the core of the flywheel. With Flyweel method you focus on three major factors. Attract, Engage and Delight. The goal here is to create such a wonderful experience for your customer that they want to become your brand ambassadors. They want to tell their friends and family. When they have reached this point — they will help generate business for you.
In today’s day and age more than half of purchases are made even before the buyer reaches out to the vendor. And don’t get me wrong — your marketing materials must be perfect, but most of the buyers don’t look at them. Instead, they check review sites, they check the partners you are working with already, they check if your brand is in guidelines of their own and you can bet that they look at your social media. In other words — they look for social proof.
Amount of momentum your flywheel will get depends on some factors.
- How fast it’s going
- Who is pushing breaks
- How big is it?
In the best case scenario you will try to get your team to address all of these points. The speed of your flywheel increases when you apply gas where you can get the most speed increase. As an example , that could be improving your freemium, paid advertisement, investing in your customer support team or any other of million things that brings the biggest gains.
But for your efforts to bring in the best result you also need to look at things that are slowing your wheel down. That could be anything from poor internal communication to a complex buying process. Take a deep dive in analyzing and get a plan of action on eliminating or decreasing negative force of these factors.
More you increase your forces of impact and decrease the negative — the more customers will become your brand ambassadors.
Now to the practical side of things. How can we apply this method to inbound methodology?
For some time now I was taking a really close look on how this method could be applied practically. And I have come to some conclusions.
Content that screams value. Attract customers with value and create frictionless experience while they are getting to know you and your company. Don’t force annoying pop-up banners or instant screaming of “Hey! We have a newsletter- wanna sign up?”. Goal here is to earn attention, not demand it. You can speed up your wheel here with social media marketing, great SEO, PPC or anything on this lane.
Make sure that you are engaging with your customer on their preferred time in their preferred channel. Again. Don’t set your goal to instantly sell everything to anyone. Goal here is to build relationships. Explore, get to know your client and their needs. Don’t be a used car salesman here. Some of the things you can do here is web and email personalization, try before you buy programs, nurturing campaign and anything on this lane.
And last but not least. This is the place where you support and help your client reach their goals. Be beside them and enable them to do their best work as easily as possible. After all — your clients’ success is your success. Don’t be shy to be proactive here and keep developing and nurturing those relationships you built on the Engage phase.
With funnel the customer is the outcome, with flywheel its customer is based in the core.