Think Beyond the Funnel & Leverage the Flywheel

By Sarah Seward | Inbound Marketing Specialist

For years, sales and marketing teams have focused their time and efforts around a funnel that focuses on attracting prospects at the top and converting them through various phases until they become an output at the bottom. 

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But the funnel model has a major flaw: it's not customer-focused. While the funnel, combined with digital marketing tactics, brings prospects into your website, it does not consider how these prospects move through their buyer's journey to become customers, and then, as delighted customers, refer you to their network and help grow your business. 

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Flywheel-Graphic-FinalInstead of the linear nature of the funnel, the flywheel depicts a circular process that spins and creates momentum as delighted customers become promoters of your business. 

Unlike a traditional funnel, the flywheel centers around the customer experience. As you attract prospects and convert them into leads, this momentum brings energy to the flywheel. You then close these leads and turn them into customers. As you delight your customers, they become promoters, which gives your flywheel the energy to attract more leads.

The flywheel takes the momentum and energy created from happy customers to attract more customers. If your customers grow to love your products, services, and the way you do business, they will refer you to their colleagues and network. Today, many businesses cite word-of-mouth as one of their largest sources of new contacts and opportunities. Delighted customers create momentum in the flywheel because they come back to you for their next project and bring new customers to you as well.

In the opposite way, unhappy customers create friction in your flywheel that slows down momentum and growth. Examples of friction in the sales and marketing process include delivering a poor customer service, spamming leads with marketing fluff, a bad sales process, or ineffective products or services.

You can reduce friction in the flywheel by improving the way you interact with your customers. This could include focusing on new customer service or product offerings, automating your sales processes, or personalizing your marketing efforts to help solve your target audience's pain points.

Today, businesses like Uber, Netflix, Venmo, and AirBnB are putting larger, more traditional companies out of business because they focus on customer convenience in their business model through an automated process that increases efficiency and delivers a frictionless experience. Ten years ago, taxis were a major component of the transportation infrastructure. Uber changed the game by adopting a customer-centric approach to transportation. At the touch of a button, you can order an Uber to arrive within five minutes, and there's no need to worry about exchanging money with your driver because the app takes care of that for you. It's all about creating an experience that makes your customers' lives easier.

Friction isn't just about your external processes. Internal processes within your business also can cause friction. You can reduce this type friction by looking at how your teams are structured, why customers are churning, and where prospects are getting stuck in the buyer’s journey. Are all your teams aligned or are they operating in silos? Is your pricing straightforward or is it cluttered with confusing fees? Do you allow prospects to connect with you how, when, and where they want, or are they forced to follow your strict process? 

As you decrease friction and increase energy and momentum in your flywheel, you create happier customers who in turn will promote your brand and bring more customers to you. Moving beyond a linear funnel flow and adopting a flywheel-based model increases sales and marketing efficiency and helps grow your business. A win/win all around (pun intended).


Need help generating more leads and creating momentum in your flywheel? Download our B2B lead generation ebook for tips on creating technical content to fuel momentum and grow leads.

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Sarah Seward

Inbound Marketing Specialist

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