Introducing the New Marketing Sales Funnel

Many years ago, Bob Dylan sang “These Times Are A Changing.”  Just this morning, I received an email from legendary advertising copywriter Dan Kennedy.  His first sentence was this:

“A lot has changed in the worlds of marketing, entrepreneurship, finance and business.”

That couldn’t be more true in the area of marketing.  Case in point – the old marketing funnel.  We were taught that marketing is a linear process – prospects start at the top, go through a series of stages and come out the bottom.  Voila!  Just as Figure 1 shows, that was the process we were taught.


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That’s what I was taught – that’s what we were all taught, but look at the next image.



With so many marketing channels today combined with new and refined tactics, things aren’t as neat as they once were.  Samantha Anderl of Campaign Monitor calls this new model “multi-channel, multi-touch, multi-path customer journeys.”  In the new model, there are many touchpoints and many possible paths.  Leads can come from any stage in the marketing funnel, as you see in the figure above.

What does this mean for your marketing?  It means that effective marketing today is more atomized and less mechanical and predictable.  This is what Samantha says: “Our biggest challenge as marketers in the coming year will be to deliver personalized, relevant multi-channel journeys that speak to the unique needs and desires of our prospects. Are you up for the challenge?”

Can you deliver personalized care to your prospects and customers?  That’s the challenge today for businesses large and small.  Cookie cutter marketing is less effective today.  Tailored marketing that is ready to meet prospects at every point of the sales funnel is what is effective today.  As you consider the different channels that you’re using for marketing, are they optimized for new leads and customers?

The old sales funnel was propelled by advertising that fed prospects into the top end of the funnel where awareness led to engagement which led to the discovery stage where prospects learn what you can do for them which led to some of your prospects purchasing your products and/or services which led to a long-term customer relationship.  It was all so tidy and neat.

In the internet age, leads can enter your sales funnel at many different points.  Some can come to you through social media, others from your website, podcasts, a webinar, or an email campaign.  With so many different marketing channels available to you, expect that people will find you and be checking you out without you knowing it.  Look at the following from Implisit:



Don’t let the closed-won and closed-lost terminology throw you.  Closed-won simply means a deal was agreed upon and went through to completion.  Closed-loss means that a deal was agreed upon, but for some reason it wasn’t completed.  It could be that a company budget for that item was depleted, or the prospect saw something they thought was better from a competitor.  Maybe the contact person agreed to buy but got vetoed by someone higher up.  There are a number of reasons why a closed deal gets fouled up.

Let’s go a little deeper into the graphic above.  The best lead generators for closed-won deals (you’ll see that these are on the right end of the continuum above) are Facebook/Twitter/and other social media, your website, and by far the best, employee and customer referrals.  Here is the full infographic:



When you think about the people in your sales funnel, can you place them in the following categories: unqualified leads, qualified leads, first-time customers, and repeat customers?  An unqualified lead is someone who is new to your business and may be unsure about what you have to offer them.  A qualified lead is someone who has expressed interest in your products and services and meets your requirements for completing a sale.

Now that you understand the new sales funnel, how will you implement the insights above to drive more sales?

I invite your comments and questions and your likes and shares.


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