Change is the only constant in today’s world. New paradigms constantly replace old ones and what worked well in the past is either obsolete or on its way to obsolesce. Marketers need to understand this fact and change their strategies and practices accordingly.
While almost all marketers have leveraged the advantages offered by technology, such as automated software, many marketers remain struck in a time warp when it comes to the basic strategy or approach. They continue to apply strategies and solutions that worked in the past to sell to today’s customers who buy in a radically different way than their predecessors did. Or different from how they bought a few months before!
A case in point is the traditional marketing funnel,to which many marketers still hold on. The marketing funnel illustrates a structured path of a prospect, starting from awareness and progressing to evaluation and purchase. All the leads enter at the top of the funnel and many leads drop out at each progressive stage until a few leads that are passed on to sales convert. This premise held true in the past when marketing channels were limited and the customers had limited access to information or touch points.
Today, the conventional funnel that marketers nurture accounts for only about 25 percent of the sales. Forrester Research estimates that almost half of all B2B marketers either close fewer than 4 percent of marketing generated leads or are not aware of such a concept in the first place. The bulk of the sales come from referrals, upsells and other sources outside the conventional funnel. In this changed environment, successful marketers move on from trying to generate leads and passing them on to sales, and focus on communicating effectively with the prospects across the different lifecycle stages, to drive engagement.
Today, the marketer’s role does not end with the handing over of the prospect to sales. It is rather a continuous relationship, which may extend even beyond the sale. Are you setting yourself up to ensure that you can retain that relationship?