In this article we will review how implementing a sales and growth flywheel into your business will give you exponential growth, more sales, and more revenue all whilst keeping the customer at the heart of your business.
Is the traditional sales funnel dead I hear you cry?
Don’t panic just yet and start cancelling your ClickFunnels account just yet, or pull down your sales funnel.
The traditional sales funnel still has a place in today’s market and a traditional funnel will continue to bring in customers and help businesses generate millions in profit.
However, just like door to door sales, or infomercial selling on shows such as QVC, the world of sales funnels is shifting, and it has been for some time now, and your model may need updating.
Although I haven’t experienced door to door sales since university where I applied for a role with a door to door marketing company, and instantly decided this type of selling was not for me. I knew of friends who pounded the streets for sales and were successful.
Only a few months back when nursing a baby at silly o’clock, I saw that sales channels still existed in the small hours of the morning on TV. The fact that they still exist today shows that people must still be buying and these companies are profitable.
These types of sales methods don’t resonate with me, and I haven’t purchased anything from a door to door salesman, or a show like QVC. Although through sleep deprivation was tempted once by a steam cleaner.
As a savvy purchaser and buyer, which most of us are today, I took the name of the steam cleaner and conducted my own research online. Finding the steam cleaner on Amazon and reading the reviews I was more tempted to buy.
Today’s buyers are savvy, we all have a wealth of knowledge at our fingertips, and we are bombarded with data and information all day. Whether that’s Facebooks ads, TV’s, billboards, friends, and colleagues. We are all home avid market researchers, looking for what product is right for us.
In the online space, I have found myself in many a sales funnel. Whether I am purchasing something for my business or carrying out market research. I have experienced great funnels and funnels I am desperate to get out of.
Today’s buyers looking not only to make a purchase to solve a problem or because they have a need for something but also want to have an experience.
Customers have always been at the heart of every business, but often the traditional ‘sales funnel’ can leave customers as the output, not at the heart of the process.
After spending 6 years as an Account Manager, managing multiple 7 figure monthly accounts, I always knew that relationships were at the heart of selling, whilst continually delivering results, ‘wowing’ customers, and always looking for a ‘win-win situation’.
Let’s face it, without customers, we wouldn’t have businesses, so it’s time to embrace the shift.
So what does put customers at the heart of the sales process?
The alternative? The sales and growth flywheel.
What is a sales and growth flywheel?
This flywheel I have created, it has 5 stages, others have more, others less;
· Close/ onboard
· Deliver and Wow
In its simplest form, we want to attract customers into our business, whether that’s through inbound or outbound marketing, content marketing, paid advertising etc we need to make people aware of our business.
Once customers are aware of our brand we engage with them, whether that’s through social media in the DM’s or via a sales call, discovery call, or a face to face meeting. It’s vital to connect with our potential customers and build relationships
After we have engaged and interacted with any potential buyers it’s important to close the sale and efficiently onboard your new clients. Onboarding if the first transaction with your brand after payment, so it’s an important part of the process. It’s their first experience of your brand as a paying customer, and we are looking to reassure your clients they have made the right investment.
Deliver and wow is a vital stage in the flywheel. Clients have come to us because we can provide the solution to their problem, so it’s time to deliver on your marketing promises, host the calls, provide the templates, run their Facebook Ads. The steps, the system, or the offer has to be provided to the client. Everyone is looking for an ROI (Return on investment), and no-one wants to have made what may seem like a ‘wrong’ investment.
When delivering to your customers it’s important to also offer some ‘Wow’ factors. These don’t have to be grand results or gestures, but little touches will make your customers feel valued, special, seen, and heard. We all love to talk about a time when something magical and special happened or a unique experience. It’s time to create that for your customers.
Retaining customers is key to scaling and growing your business. There are two ways to scale and grow a business, attract new customers or deepen the relationship with your existing customers. In this instance, we are looking to do both. We are looking to retain customers by deepening the relationship by offering different services (if needed) or keeping them with the same service for a longer period of time, and attracting new customers.
The customer goes on a journey from a visitor of your site, content, social media, through to a prospect, a lead, a customer, and an ambassador. As ambassadors your customers effectively sell your services for you, it’s free marketing.
These ambassadors not only continue to remain customers, deepen their relationship with your company, or buy more products or services, but they add back or ‘feed’ into the flywheel.
The ‘old’ way would say that if you have a good experience you will tell 1–2 people about your experience, but if you have a bad experience you would tell 4–5 people. However, with the power of social media, those numbers would be 10 fold minimum.
Here we can see the different stages of the customer journey as they move through your flywheel.
We aim to take customers from visitor to ambassador, whilst scaling and growing your sales and business. The win-win situation here is that your clients are wowed and your business exponentially expands.
What happens when we streamline and automate the sales and growth flywheel?
So we know how we can grow and scale a business through the flywheel, it’s time to look at the systems and processes in place, so we can automate and streamline this growth.
We have discussed how to grow your business through this flywheel, however, we want to automate and systemise elements of this flywheel, otherwise you can end up not moving customers efficiently and through these stages, which can stump or halt your growth.
Through automating and systematising each stage, you can create efficiencies whilst having a repeatable process to ensure growth and sales.
What does creating a system look like?
A system is created for any reputable task in your business and takes your leads or customers through a set of steps or actions to get to a desired outcome.
An onboarding system for example takes your client through the process from when they have said ‘yes’ to becoming a client through proposal/ quote document, payment, contracts, welcome kit, onboarding questionnaire, initial call.
Here is the onboarding system I like to implement into businesses, however as every business is unique this will differ but the core principles remain the same.
When you create a system, elements can be automated saving you time, a system also promotes consistency, whilst giving customers the best experience. No customer wants to be chasing for their initial kick-off call.
Through placing the right systems into the flywheel you are ensuring that customers are at the heart of growth, that you are efficient in growing your business.
So what about the traditional sales funnel?
As discussed earlier in this article, the traditional sales funnel still has its place and will continue to make money for business which use it. It’s important however to grow and adapt models as the business landscape changes.
I believe strongly in the power of energy, momentum, and compounding. Everything we experience in day to day life is an exchange energy. When we meet a friend for a coffee you exchange energy with one another. Whether that’s a negative energy or a positive one.
When we buy goods and services, we exchange both money and energy. If we pay 50p for a coffee, we expect the coffee to taste like 50p coffee, be handed to you in a plastic up and simply put down in front of you. On the flip side if we have £10 for a coffee we expect that coffee to taste like the best coffee you ever had, be presented in a beautiful mug and drank in a beautiful setting and the customer service to be outstanding.
This is all an energetic exchange.
There is also A LOT of energy in sales processes in businesses. The traditional sales funnel has a ‘downward’ energy. Leads move from the top of the funnel, and a small percentage become customers, and marketers can often be heard saying phrases like ‘leaky funnel’ as energy and customers dissipate through the funnel.
The traditional funnel requires a large net or a large stream of consistent leads coming into the top of the funnel.
On the other hand, the flywheel gains energy and momentum as it keeps spinning. Just like a wheel, it will keep moving, and with the right amount of energy, it could sustain itself for a longer period of time.
Energy in a flywheel is not all lost, a certain amount of energy will be fuelling the wheel of customers and business growth.
If we add one of my favourite concepts into the mix, compounding, you have a powerful force of energy for growth. Without having to keep add a tonne of leads into the system in order to keep sales and revenue flowing.
A flywheel has customers at the heart and uses this as a driving force for attracting new customers, alongside other marketing methods. The traditional sales funnel treats customers as the output.
Here is the traditional sales funnel vs a flywheel. You may be thinking, I have seen funnels where leads are then placed back into different parts the funnel, in order that it builds some momentum.
It may have looked like the image below. However, the traditional funnel still focuses on LEADS, not CUSTOMERS. Yes by placing leads back into particular areas of the funnel, a percentage will still convert into customers.
However, the energy required to walk back up a ladder is a lot more than to keep a wheel spinning.
The customers here are not driving growth and are not at the heart of the business, leads are. I am sure there are many businesses who gain new customers from existing customers with a traditional sales funnel, but how much more powerful could this be with customers at the heart of growth?
The traditional sales funnel vs the flywheel
The traditional funnel focuses on getting as many leads as possible into the top of the funnel to convert a small percentage.
This may be easier at the start, however as you have gained as many customers as you possibly can through the first batch of leads, you need more leads to keep the funnel flowing and to gain new customers.
This means that your ad budget will need to increase dramatically and your cost per lead or cost per acquisition will be high and only ever increasing.
The flywheel uses its customers, alongside marketing activities to attract new leads into the business, building momentum, sales, and growth. Using this method you will need to spend less on paid marketing strategies in order to get the same results as the sales funnel. As the flywheel keeps moving and building momentum you will see your business growth exponentially explode.
As discussed earlier the sales funnel still has its place in the market, just like TV shopping channels, but it’s now time to look at how you can implement a flywheel model into your business, placing customers at the heart and take on new clients with ease.
When the flywheel is systemised and automated, it can build energy and momentum, effectively fuelling itself and your business growth.
Even when you have implemented this system into your business you will find areas of friction which slow down the movement of the wheel and therefore your business growth. It is key to keep looking for areas of improvement, look to implement customer changes/ suggestions alongside market shifts and technology shifts in order to sustain growth.
However many businesses can benefit by looking at their leads and customers differently outside the traditional sales funnel.
Sales is about building and maintaining relationships, and this enables growth and revenue. If I put my account management hat on, I see the flywheel as a much more effective way to drive sales in your business.