What Killed The Sales Funnel?

For centuries, the goal of the sales industry was to close a sale. After that point, a continued relationship with the customer was somebody else’s problem — until they were ready to buy something else, anyway.

Today, the close is no longer the stopping point. Instead, new research suggests that customers (and great salespeople) view the close as the beginning of a beautiful relationship.

The Huffington Post recently shared a thought-provoking article that says continuing a relationship with ongoing engagement “has 12 times more influence on retention and repeat purchases than satisfaction.” In other words, companies are no longer in control, able to push prospects through the funnel as they please.

So who do you have to thank for the proliferation of all this ongoing relationship talk? Consider Netflix, Office 365 and — just to name a few.

Cloud-based subscription offerings, which deliver value to customers month after month after month, have contributed substantially to the death of the traditional sales funnel. Thanks to the emergence of subscription businesses, companies need to deliver value month over month, otherwise customers pull the plug.

This new model is totally different from the old model where you buy something, own it and have to stick with it. Of course, the old model was never about describing an existing customer process. It was more about the journey from a prospect to becoming a customer.

So what does this mean?

According to The Huffington Post article, you need to spend time developing even deeper relationships with your customers. You need to be constantly engaged with them when they’re making decisions. Make sure your information is easy to find. Have great product reviews, ratings and testimonials, the article suggests. Be super accessible on all channels your customers prefer.

The Tellwise Nutshell (TTN): The straight-shooting sales funnel is dead. Thanks to the Internet and online subscription services, it’s become a maze in which customers engage differently with different mediums. In the end, all the pieces are much more complex, but also more relevant. 

Source: Huffington Post, October 2013

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