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Why your sales funnel is wrong.

Shots fired with that headline, right? How can I, an anonymous author behind a keyboard, even know what your sales pipeline is? And how do I know it's wrong? 

Well, for starters, I know it's wrong because you're still calling it a "sales funnel". The "funnel" of yesteryears has been completely decimated by the modern buying cycle. The traditional funnel is generally made up of four steps: Awareness, Consideration, Evaluation, Purchase. I'm here to tell you why that isn't right. 

First, a traditional sales funnel assumes that the sales process is linear. That is, there is a definite process with dedicated steps by which a buyer seeks a solution to his or her problems and in turn makes a purchase decision. I'm a product of the traditional sales cycle. I was taught in many instances, here's what the buyers are looking to do next. Today's consumers, however, have unpredictable buying behaviors. They are making their own funnel. They don't need a salesperson to walk them through a solution to their issue - oftentimes, they will have made their own "funnel", seeking out their own awareness, consideration, and evaluation. In fact, unless your product is extremely extremely unique, even the "purchase" step often sees buyers facing multiple options, each interweaving in additional steps of consideration.

Next, the traditional sales funnel assumes that marketing isn't part of the sales process. As we've seen in the past, marketing and sales have become ever merging. As consumers can turn to the internet to educate themselves into a purchase decision (that's where your content comes into play) the intersection of marketing and sales is becoming less of an intersection and more like an onramp into the same road.

Finally, the biggest reason why the traditional sales funnel is wrong is because it has a definite end. At some point, the buyer will drop out of the funnel, having made a purchase decision. More accurately, today's marketing and sales relationship is a true cycle. It's more about education, creating value for the buyer beyond just that of the end product, and maintaining relationships with buyers. 

So how can sales professionals navigate the choppy and confusing waters of the new marketing\sales hybrid world. Well, for one, that's where people like us come in. We're more than happy to chat any time about how to actually make your marketing nurture relationships that drive sales. Another option is to become a consumer yourself. Look at the brands you feel have been able to build a relationship with you. You may have purchased one of its items or maybe you're just an onlooker. Emulate those behaviors. 

Whatever you do, it's time to ditch that old school sales funnel and start playing in today's world.

Action Ready Marketing is a boutique full-service marketing firm that specializes in helping small to medium sized businesses create beautiful marketing without distracting from the day to day business needs.

 

Ryan Williams