In marketing, our ultimate goal is to reach customers at that moment that most influences their decisions. The most important thing for marketers to do is to make sure that their marketing activities are aligned against how their customers research and buy.
For a long time, this is where the original McKinsey sales funnel was an excellent and well-used methodology. The McKinsey funnel was an ideal tool to support the correct messages along the customer journey through the sales cycle.
Today, the funnel concept fails to capture all the touchpoints and key buying factors resulting from the explosion of choices, digital channels, coupled with the emergence of an increasingly discerning, well-informed customer. A more sophisticated approach is required to help marketers navigate the environment that is more complicated than the funnel suggests. The reality is that we are shopping in a different way that requires us to change how we think about and interact with consumers.
What we have today is a disrupted sales journey.
For many in the marketing community, the number one focus for 2014 was set to be content. While I agree that the messaging (and relevance) is important, I have to ask ‘what about the methodology – where is the magic going to come from?’
I may have found a source of hope… The Challenger Sale by Matthew Dixon. Although this is very much about how to sell, the Challenger Sale has taught me a couple of interesting things and I would highly recommend you reading this as soon as possible.
The research within the book demonstrates that on average, buying decisions are 60% of the way through before that customer engages with a sales person.
Think about that – all I can say is Wow – that changes the game. While our marketing community talks about the high importance of content, you still have to find the magic.