The demand funnel is evolving from the traditional cone to an hourglass-shaped model with a “lead management” funnel on top feeding an inverted “customer management” funnel below, according to David Lewis, CEO of DemandGen International. He presented this updated view of the demand funnel in a webinar titled: “It’s The End Of The Funnel As We Know It.”
“The top of the funnel should be as wide as possible, but so should the bottom,” Lewis said. “The acquisition stage is where the marketing automation takes the stage. CRM occurs in the lower funnel. This funnel symbolizes marketing and automation coming together.”
Lewis highlighted the top five reasons marketers purchase a marketing automation system:
- Lead generation (78%);
- Tracking web site visitors (77%);
- Managing marketing campaigns (70%);
- Lead scoring and qualification (69%); and
- Lead nurturing (62%).
In the B2B world, marketers focus heavily on the number of leads, explained Andrew Gaffney, Publisher of Demand Gen Report, during the webinar. “If you’re sending constant relevant messaging and integrating it with CRM, you’ll see greater expansion opportunities.”
The funnel also integrates content and Big Data and analytics, Lewis added. “It’s great to see the use of data and analytics to create movement down the funnel,” Lewis said. “Marketers have had a tough time showing their contributions because it’s hard to present the data. CRM and marketing automation tightly integrate the data between systems.”
A key takeaway from the new demand funnel is that strategy, process, content, programs, and measurement applied to the upper funnel for customer acquisition must be “duplicated” in the lower funnel for customer acquisition.
“You’re not done when you land the customer and sign them,” advised Gaffney. “You should continue to track their behavior and be in communication with prospects.”
Lead Scoring Best Practices
For the demand funnel, the focus has always been on driving customer acquisition. However, there are a number of companies that still struggle with lead scoring and nurturing, and, according to Gaffney, there are also several companies that have shared case studies on the topic of lead scoring best practices and how those scores can help in nurturing leads.
“Among those case studies, you’ll find a common thread in the ability to integrate among sales and marketing,” he added, stating the integration will be critical to the evolution of the funnel. “Marketers must integrate, analyze and record data in the buyer’s path,” Gaffney said.
Lewis and Gaffney also discussed how marketers can get more out of their technology investments. According to a June 2013 BtoB Magazine special report, 20% of B2B companies surveyed have purchased a marketing automation system, yet most (85%) of them don’t believe they’re using it to its fullest potential.
“There’s a lot of process involved,” said Gaffney. “In order to use marketing automation to its fullest potential, marketers need to do a lot of behind the scenes like lead scoring and nurturing.”
Gaffney added: “Marketers can do more with the system; they should be using it to track the path of what your buyers are interested in.”