All good things eventually come to an end, including the traditional sales funnel. While it aided growth in the 20th century, the rise of the internet and smartphones has created a new breed of consumer that demands more than your typical sales tactics. Enter the flywheel, the new marketing strategy for the digital age.
Sales funnels follow hierarchical theories that no longer apply to today’s consumers. Thanks to smartphones, customers are more informed, demanding, and action-oriented. The flywheel is a much better marketing method for the digital age since it makes relationships the goal rather than sales. In this way, it helps transform your business into a trusted guide and turns customers into advocates for your brand.
What’s Wrong With the Traditional Sales Funnel?
The traditional sales funnel had a lot going for it for a long time. However, a marketing strategy from the early 20th century probably isn’t the ideal basis for a marketing strategy in the 2020s. The sales funnel and its early models followed hierarchical theories where customers moved through a series of stages on their way to making a purchase.
One popular example of this is the AIDA model:
- A awareness
- I interest
- D desire
- A action
In this model, consumers gain awareness through advertising which creates interest in the product. As interest grows, the consumer starts to desire the product as they imagine themselves using it, moving them to take action and buy the product.
Hierarchical models like AIDA were all fine and good for a long time. They placed salespeople as the gatekeepers of information and made consumers reliant on them in order to learn about a product. As Julia McCoy explains, this also promoted hard skills in sales such as pushiness and aggressiveness while diminishing the value of soft skills such as empathy and kindness.
That was until the internet happened.
Now consumers have access to the whole of human knowledge in their pockets. According to Lisa Gevelber for Think with Google, this has created three new consumer behaviors salespeople and marketers now have to contend with.
- Well-Advised Consumers: these consumers want to make the “right” choice and have the information to back up their decisions.
- Right Here Consumers: these consumers expect a tailored digital experience just for them, including localized information.
- Right Now Consumers: these consumers are action-oriented, looking for products and services that help them get things done.
You’ll need new marketing strategies if you want to appeal to this new wave of consumers. One that values fostering empathy to create a continuing relationship rather than a one-and-done transaction.
In other words, you need a flywheel.
Read How Inbound Marketing Would Have Improved My Experience As A Sales Rep to learn how the flywheel can provide a better sales experience!
Introducing the Flywheel
The flywheel is the sales model for the digital age. It’s the driving force behind inbound marketing, a methodology that puts clients first with high-quality content and experiences tailored to their needs.
As with your typical sales funnel, the flywheel has different stages:
The attract stage involves learning who your target audience is and their motivations to create meaningful content for them. The engage stage deepens your relationship with the customer by identifying their problems and providing solutions. The last stage is the delight stage in which they view you as a valued guide that they can return to again and again.
One of the best ways to understand the difference between sales funnels and the flywheel is seeing how they end. Client relationships tend to fizz out at the end of the sales funnel, resulting in many businesses essentially having to start from scratch every year, quarter, or even month. This is because it views a sale as the end goal rather than a stage in the relationship process.
Contrast that with the flywheel model. With this approach, your sales path never really ends. Instead, you grow with your customers by providing more valuable content and support. This is because you’ve utilized those soft skills that are sorely missing from the traditional sales funnel. Now your customers no longer view you as a vendor but a trusted guide and advisor.
Read our blog on inbound marketing to learn more about how it can boost your underperforming sales!
Turning Customers Into Brand Advocates
Having returning customers is always a good thing. What’s even better are returning customers that also act as advocates for your brand. Customers who have been delighted by their experience with your company will want to talk about it. In return, they will provide one of the most powerful forms of marketing there is — word-of-mouth.
And there’s data to back this up. According to SEMrush, a powerful marketing research tool, your customers’ opinions can go a long way in convincing others to buy your product.
Just consider these statistics:
- 90% of purchases are the result of word-of-mouth
- Customers that have a problem resolved by a business will tell 4 – 6 people about it
- 96% of satisfied customers will return and are likely to tell others about their experience
At the center of these benefits is the content and customer experience that you provide. With a combination of timely content, intuitive automation, and positive customer service, you can create brand advocates that help drive more customers to your site.
Are you ready to dump the traditional sales funnel and hop on the flywheel? Book a free marketing review with our team today!
The sales funnels of the 20th century no longer work for the 21st-century consumer. With the rise of the internet and smartphones, today’s consumers are more informed and demanding, expecting content tailored to their needs and wants. With the flywheel, you can transform one-and-done sales into lasting relationships between you and your customers. The end result is a methodology that creates advocates for your brand.
Baker Marketing Laboratory has spent years helping healthcare businesses find their footing in the digital world. Through a combination of inbound digital marketing and powerful messaging strategies, we help you craft a marketing campaign that resonates with your ideal customer. Contact us today to schedule a call and learn the difference we can make for your business.