How data changed the marketing/sales funnel

Over the most recent years we have seen a very fundamental change to the classic marketing/sales funnel model. This blog post will describe exactly what has changed and why businesses should try to adapt the new funnel.

A few days back I stumbled upon the model below while I was doing a bit of research for Nitro Digital (where I work). What I really liked about this model was the way it lays out the “Then” and “Now” of when leads switches hands from marketing to sales teams. So I thought I’d put together a quick blog post share my thoughts on why I think businesses should try to adapt the new marketing/sales funnel.

The above model was first published on Steve Patrizis blog.

Essentially, what this model shows is how marketing today covers a much wider part of the overall funnel and sales only address those leads who are at the phase where they are looking to make an active purchase decision.

Although these reflections are generalisations of the modern way of doing marketing/sales, it is clear that the average company has changed their approach to marketing/sales. This change is highly accelerated by the introduction of content marketing and marketing automation tools (like Hubspot or Marketo).

Old vs. new

Traditionally businesses did one-to-many mass communication in order to get their message out. ”Spray-and-Pray marketing”. When a potential lead would contact and show a bit of interest, the business would have their sales teams reach out to their leads at first point of contact in order to figure out if they were ready to buy or not (qualification) and then do what they can to close the lead. This old model heavily relied on cold calls and sales reps visiting customers. This still happens a lot, especially in early stage startups as they just need to learn about their (potential) customers.

What we see today is that the line between when sales teams get involved has moved. Today, most businesses do most of the lead qualification using lead scoring techniques within their preferred marketing automation tool. In that way, sales teams receive their leads much warmer than what they have previously got, ensuring maximum efficiency among the sales force.

Creating a stream of predictable revenue

Cover of Predictable Revenue by Aaron Ross and Marylou Tyler

At the moment I’m reading the book Predictable Revenue by Aaron Ross and Marylou Tyler, and if you have never heard of it before, then you need to get a hold of a copy. The book has pretty set a precedent for how businesses do marketing and sales today.

The title is not only a catchy title. The proposed approach helps companies make a predictable marketing/sales funnel which helps them accurately forecast their sales a few months in advance. By taking this approach, you can almost, based on the website visitors, tell if sales are going to hit their target a few months in advance. This is how data can truly change the way you look at your business.

When you get this setup right, and your customer acquisition cost< life time value, then it’s all about adding more fuel to the marketing engine and then scale.

So if you haven’t switched over to the latest setup, now is the time. The internet gives you all possible options to test this new model and see if it works for your business.

Have you succeed with this new model?

Would love to hear your thoughts on this post. I got a lot of feedback on my previous post, and even thought you have already reached out, then I’d still love to hear from you. Drop me a line at if you have any experiences working with these kind of inbound marketing methodologies.

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