Forget the Funnel, meet the Flywheel!

You’re doubtless familiar with the sales funnel which illustrates a theoretical customer journey. A couple of months ago I came across the marketing ‘Flywheel’, a concept close to my heart, devised by the digital marketing giant, Hubspot.

The Flywheel illustrates the importance of placing your client (or customer) at the centre of your marketing activity. It stands in stark contrast to the traditional marketing funnel where the client pops out as a result of sales and marketing activity then is largely forgotten about until it’s time for them to re-purchase or renew.

The Flywheel approach has many benefits, not least because it supports my mantra of ‘Happy clients buy more, stay with you longer and recommend you to others’. You end up benefitting from the free marketing you get when your clients advocate for you and you don’t need to invest as much in lead generation.

But how will you identify the happy clients who’ll become your advocates unless you listen to them?

You need to be listening to your clients throughout the various stages of the flywheel. Prospects are more attracted to businesses who listen to their clients and then act on what they’ve learnt. In this way, leveraging client insight helps draw ‘strangers’ in (see Flywheel). Talk to your prospects about your approach to client care because many B2B buyers place outstanding service ahead of technical excellence (which is a given) and even price when
appointing new suppliers.

When the relationship is relatively new, check in and see how they found the onboarding process and whether they feel you have the right team in place in terms of both technical experience and personality ‘fit’. The latter is often overlooked but can make or break a client engagement.

When the client is embedded and work is under way, make contact again to ensure you’re delivering what you promised at the start of the engagement and to identify any niggles or misunderstandings at an early stage.

When a relationship is well established, it’s important not to fall into the apathy trap – assuming everything’s okay just because you haven’t heard otherwise. Clients value the investment you make in seeking their opinion. A law firm client I recently interviewed in a client listening exercise particularly valued the fact that “They [the law firm} don’t just sit back on their laurels and think “oh everything’s okay”, because that’s where things can go a bit sour.” That quote is from a very happy client, so you can only imagine how important it is to speak to the more challenging clients too!

That’s all for November, I’ll be back with a short message in December which will include ‘Five golden things’ you can do to accelerate your client listening programme in 2022! In the meantime, please do get in touch if you’d like to talk about your client listening plans for next year.

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