We visualize the Marketing and Sales process as a funnel – wider at the top and narrow at the bottom.
It makes sense and it’s a tried-and-true representation.
But one area that this visualization is seriously flawed – broken even – is in removing the human element from the picture.
A funnel is suggestive of an immediate result in response to an input – there is a rapid, unabated downward flow. This is often totally contrary to how lead generation and lead nurturing actually proceed.
Ok, we’ve all closed deals much easier and faster than our wildest dreams. Yes, unicorns exist.
But, by and large, Sales is an exhaustive, methodical and slow process. It could take weeks, months and even years of careful relationship building, learning and developing mutual trust to achieve fruition.
So how is visualizing this as a funnel helpful?
When we open dashboards and spreadsheets, are we seeing the humanity? The relationships? Or are we just seeing metrics and other “numbers” – literally the opposite of what any customer of a company wants to feel like? Is that good for conversion rates?
I’m going to take you on a little mental exercise – are you with me?
Ok. Here goes!
You’re a customer of a company – pick any company.
Your experience will reflect how the company’s Marketing & Sales teams view you – Option A or B.
Option A – Standard Funnel
You get into the funnel and immediately you feel like you’ve got to hang on for dear life! They pitch you relentlessly or want your info/attention/likes/shares – and the funnel has a serious drop and a really sharp angle, after all. There are other customers coming in at the top of the funnel. Sure, some are adrenaline junkies and others are so desensitized to it all that they actually enjoy it. But for most, this funnel is making them sick! It’s time to get out – oh thank God there’s a little exit hatch when they ask for your email address. This was a scary experience and one you don’t want to relive anytime soon.
Option B – Red-Carpeted Ramp
In this scenario, we’ve rolled out the red carpet and by it being a gently down-sloping ramp, our customer is at ease and they feel like a VIP. There’s no free-falling. There’s no hanging on for dear life. The customer is given a measure of control back and the company views them as an individual that they must slowly build a trust-based, mutually-beneficial relationship with.
So the next time you think of funnel analysis or optimizing the Tofu or Bofu, etc. please picture a tiny human customer of yours free-falling in that funnel – to one of your competitors.