Traditionally, the marketing team owned the customer journey from the first time a potential buyer interacts with the brand, brand awareness, to the buyer turning into an MQL (Marketing Qualified Lead).
The sales teams defined the touchpoints where the prospect showed interest till the final sale.
Sharing the user journey and more importantly handing off MQLs from marketing to the sales team caused friction. The qualification of the leads themselves was in question and pointing fingers especially if the deal falls apart.
What is a Marketing Funnel?
A marketing funnel is defined as the visualization for understanding the process of leads turning into customers. The idea lies in creating a broad net to capture as many leads as possible and then slowly nurture them into prospective customers who make the purchase decision. Thus, narrowing the candidates at every stage in the funnel.
If all the leads got converted into prospects, it would ideally be a marketing cylinder rather than a marketing funnel. Although this is not the reality of the business, marketers’ job is to convert as many leads as possible into their prospective customers.
There are no standard marketing funnel stages- some have too many while some only have a few! It depends upon the nature of the business and the marketing strategy adopted.
Funnel Stages and Conversions
Here are the most common stages of the marketing funnel.
The first stage in the funnel is “Awareness”. Here, the potential customers are drawn to the stage through various marketing campaigns, consumer research, and discovery. Marketing activities like events, viral campaigns, social media mentions, webinars,, trade shows, content (blogs, infographics, etc.), and more. This is where lead generation starts. Leads are pulled and collected into the lead management system to nurture them down the funnel.
After you focus on creating awareness among the prospects, it is time for the prospects to learn about your brand. And, this is the second stage of the funnel – Discovery. This is the stage where a potential customer learns about the brand, business, services, and products. The prospects interacted with the brand’s sales team starting from Discovery, however, with the availability of digital content the user behavior has changed so that they prefer to consume content as opposed to engaging with the brand’s team.
As the leads move down into the funnel, they learn about the company, services offered, products, and other helpful information or research the brand provides. This is the best opportunity for the brands to establish trust and faith and develop a relationship with the leads. Marketers can establish a meaningful relationship via emails, newsletters, classes, and content that are targeted more towards the industry/ brand.
As the prospect reaches the Evaluation stage, the buyers are believed to be in a situation where they decide if they want to make a purchase or not. Here, both the marketing and sales team work together. They nurture the leads very closely and convince them to buy their brand’s product subtly.
The last stage of the funnel is Purchase, where the leads finally become the customer. Here, the salespeople take care of the purchase transaction. In case the buyer had a positive experience, it results in referrals that come to the top of the funnel, and thus the whole process begins again.
The last loyalty stage is when the prospects relish the positive experience and choose to stick with the brand. As the relationship deepens between the brand and the customer, they manifest to engage and make a repeat purchase. Customer loyalty improves the likelihood of the customers repeating business with you.
Marketing Vs Sales: Who Owns the Funnel?
Who actually owns the funnel is a hot topic of discussion in the marketing and sales world!
Marketing teams assert that they create digital content that draws customers and influences their decision to make a purchase. As they continue to nurture the leads throughout the funnel, they assume responsibility for the funnel.
The opposing argument, however, asserts that they gained control of the Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) and used their magic to turn the leads into clients. The sales team takes on the leads in the waning moments, and their persuasive skills work wonders. Some sales teams also engage in outbound outreach, which directs the client to their lead management platform.
In real-world situations, both teams have invested equally in getting leads, developing them, and turning them into prospects who have a great experience.
Old Way Vs New Way
The previous Marketing and Sales Funnel focused on giving the marketing team (Awareness & Discovery) some levels while giving the sales team the remaining levels (Interest, Evaluation, and Purchase).
However, the new approach to managing the sales and marketing funnels is distinct. Each stage is divided up between the two teams. As a result, the marketing departments may create leads while also nurturing those prospects to advance them up the funnel.
So, do you wish to win over enthusiastic clients and ardent brand supporters? The omnichannel experience that the New Marketing and Sales Funnel provides nurtures prospects. Customers can now freely enter and exit the funnel at any point. The marketing trend of “one size fits all” is no longer relevant.
Never let your Funnel Run Dry with MarketBeam.
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