How Traditional Sales Funnels are becoming Digital Participation Cycles
Sales funnels are all the rage — I’ve been told that they help you make money even if you don’t have a compelling product or service. I’m totally unsure if that’s something you want to be selling, but there’s an entire industry now serving sales funnels and attempting to reduce leakage in sales funnels, pushing more and more people in through the funnel, though with abysmal conversion rates.
It begs the question then — with funnels having been around for decades, where is the funnel going, in the age of digital disruption? I read with interest in the book Digital Marketing by Kaufman and Horton, that funnels are indeed becoming digital participation cycles — where we no longer herd clients like cattle through hoops, but we now engage them to become supporters and loyal ambassadors of our brands.
Traditional sales funnels assume that the end goal is a transaction — a conversion. In marketing 1.0, we sell products and solutions, based on their features. In marketing 4.0, we sell brands that resonate with the values of our clients, and we help them reach self-actualization. Thus, the view that each client is an individual with layers of complexity is becoming more apparent.
But what is a digital participation or engagement cycle, and how do we deploy one?
- The customer development part of the sales funnel is a single line, downward, linear, and fixed part. The digital involvement cycle contains a number of interactions. In the commitment to the purchase stage, before and after, there are multiple contact points that join together to form a cycle of the process.
- The customer behavior of the sales funnel wends at the promised purchase stage and the digital participation cycle is followed by the establishment of loyalty, proactive recommendation, and support for the advocacy phase after the commitment to purchase.
- Potential customers of the sales funnel can only get to know the product from the initial step in the traditional process; customers of the digital participation cycle may enter the cycle at any stage.
- The key to marketing the sales funnel lies in the initial stage of knowing the product, working hard to lead customers into the sales funnel; and yet the key to the digital engagement cycle is to focus on the customer at every stage of the cycle.
- The communication strategy of the sales funnel is to focus on sales, the digital participation cycle needs to reach out to and attract potential customers through content strategy and tactics and provide them value, thus building loyalty.
- The target of the sales funnel is driven by short-term goals and orders, and the goals of the digital engagement cycle are driven by long-term goals and customer values.
The landscape for sales funnels is quickly evolving. Reach out to Supercharge Lab and see how we can help you with redefining your digital engagement cycle. Chat with Anne here.
By Anne Cheng