How the lack of customer trust killed the sales funnel

funnelForrester Analyst Corinne Munchback recently posted a provocative obituary on her blog with a post titled “Bye Bye Marketing Funnel – It was fun while it lasted.”

In her piece, Munchbach declares “the marketing funnel no longer applies to modern marketing,” and then elaborates that the “customer life cycle” (which she defines as the “customers’ relationship with a brand as they continue to discover new needs, explore their options, make purchases, and engage with the product or service experience,”) is now the right approach to connect with prospect and customers.

As a developer of online appointment scheduling software that streamlines how and when professionals and customers meet, TimeTrade agrees fully with Forrester’s counsel to put “customers at the center of marketing!”

Corinne’s recommendations are a good read, and if you’re a Forrester client, you can dig deeper by reading their new research report “Embed The Customer Life Cycle Across Marketing,” which encourages marketers to focus on the complete brand experience: “particularly customer satisfaction and engagement.”

Taking a page from TimeTrade’s own marketing playbook one observation in Corinne’s blog post really resonates with us:

“A purchase does not always (or even often) equate to loyalty.
Loyalty is something that has to be earned and nurtured on an ongoing basis. The life cycle emphasizes that goodwill must be built up and continually delivered on to build successful — and profitable — long-term relationships.”

Amen.

Forrester’s take on the death of the funnel echoes a collection of Sales 2.0 articles that TimeTrade president Gary Ambrosino wrote on his personal blog on “Selling at the Speed of Trust.”

Gary reminds us “the traditional sales cycle doesn’t work as well as it used to,” describing that’s “because the power of social media combined with the level of participation of the average buyer has thrown a monkey wrench into traditional thinking.”

In his oft ReTweeted article “Checklist for Launching a Time-to-Trust Sales Campaign” Gary shares “three things to do to modify your sales approach to match the new reality.” There’s lots to learn in the article, and from Gary’s Webinar presentation on “Selling at the Speed of Trust.”

Ding, dong – The marketing funnel is dead!!

As our friend Harry Klein has written, the new era of customer engagement will bring a synchronicity of promises, processes and experiences in which conversations and relationships will drive mutual fulfillment and sales success.

Something to look forward to!

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