I can’t remember the last time I followed the textbook linear buyer journey. The one where I’d walk into a shop, listen to the sales rep inform me about my choices and then explain the benefits of their product over the market alternatives. I may then repeat the process with other suppliers. A classic funnel process – I was predictable and impressionable.
Now, technology has changed this process for me. Here’s an example. I’m looking to build a wall to divide my kid’s bedroom in two (so we can all get some sleep!). This time I asked my mummy friends in the playground for a recommendation.
I went onto local Facebook forums to ask the same question. Once I have my shortlist, I check trade review sites to see who has the most current reviews that are nothing but excellent. Now I’m ready to reach out.
See how much of the process has gone digital? In this video I explain how the funnel is shifting towards a more continuous buyer experience. It doesn’t start and stop with a transaction. It feeds advocacy, business growth and community.
Why The Funnel Needs Retiring
There are several reasons why the funnel isn’t appropriate to today’s modern buyer behaviour. Essentially, the funnel puts the customer at the end. It’s centred around the activities of the company (sales and marketing) which results in a transaction (customer). But it also assumes a linear behaviour that is…
The funnel assumes a linear predictable journey where different buyers step through the same stages. The problem is that with social media, different buyers are taking different journeys. Some will consult forums, others their family. Some will use one review site and others will use another. No buyer journey is the same
The journey is no longer one direction. Some people will hover around a stage for several months. Some will propel through the journey quickly. Others may even move backwards before coming forwards again. Understanding that buyers will go online and then offline and back online is important. They’ll change direction and you probably won’t event know it!
According to Forrester there are approximately 6.8 people now involved in any B2B buying decision. This adds a whole new layer of complexity on to what has already become a tricky process. Recognising that people are influencing beyond the buyer you are dealing with is a good start. Then figure out how you communicate with them as well as your buyer.
What Is The Flywheel?
The flywheel is a dynamic model that was developed by HubSpot and launched at INBOUND 2018 (I was there!).
HubSpot believe that the flywheel takes a holistic look at business growth and customer delight, uniting sales, marketing and service and putting the customer at the centre.
But here’s the smart part. Flywheels aren’t static. They move.
Your business will only grow if there is momentum (content your buyer is looking for), less friction (remove the obstacles that slows your customer down from contacting you) and how big it is (the number of people that are advocating your company to others).
I’m a big fan of the flywheel. We’ve implemented the measurements within Tribal, we’re beginning to structure our team around it and build our operating methodology around it.
How Does A Flywheel Support Business Growth?
It’s easy to assume that attract, engage and delight are pre-defined roles of Marketing, Sales and Service Delivery but I disagree.
Everyone in your organisation has the power to influence a buyer. By activating your entire workforce and eco-system on social media, you create reach and engagement that only a branded social media channel can dream of.
For example, delighting a customer can be the result of your receptionist who just took a call from a frustrated customer who cannot find the service/support telephone number on your website. How they deal with that conversation can be a make or break experience!
Your next customer referral can come from a conversation between parents over cake at a child’s 8th birthday party.
We live in a connected world. People know people who know people. The sooner your business growth model reflects this, the quicker you’ll reap the rewards.