Funnel vs. Flywheel: Should You Make the Move?

2019/03/25 08:00

hubspot flywheel

Why organisations are making the shift from the sales funnel to the flywheel.

HubSpot’s 2018 INBOUND conference got a lot of marketing professionals talking. During the conference, HubSpot’s CEO, Brian Halligan, spoke about the demise of the sales funnel and explained why we should be shifting to the flywheel.

If you’re wondering whether the flywheel is something your organisation should be adopting, this is what you need to know.

Why the Funnel Should Be Replaced by the Flywheel

The sales funnel was designed to gradually convert customers. Once the sale was made, sales and marketing professionals could pat themselves on the back for a job well done.

Unfortunately, the funnel is flawed and it no longer fits in with how modern organisations need to operate in order to thrive.

Customers should be a part of an ongoing cycle that will provide businesses with the information they need to continuously improve their performance and make more sales – this is where the flywheel comes in.

The flywheel is designed to store and release energy more efficiently by removing friction points. When unnecessary friction points have been eliminated, the right amount of force is used during each stage of the customer cycle, which allows the wheel to keep on spinning.

What this means is that businesses are able to use continuous momentum to keep attracting and captivating customers.

Key Benefits of the Flywheel

Here are a few of the reasons why the flywheel is more beneficial than the sales funnel.

  • It Offers Continuity

While the sales funnel requires organisations to invest a lot of time and money to achieve a short-term objective, the flywheel is able to fuel itself, which provides businesses with continuous growth over the long term.

  • It Builds Customer Relationships & Brand Credibility

Businesses who want to excel in their chosen sector can no longer afford to be solely focused on closing sales. Building stronger customer relationships should be at the forefront of any business and the flywheel helps to bring this into focus.

  • Alignment is Not Negotiable

With the sales funnel, organisation-wide alignment was usually a nice-to-have but in order for the flywheel to work, full alignment is a must. Incorporating the flywheel into your organisation means your sales, marketing and customer service teams will need to work together to deliver an exceptional customer experience.

Understanding the Flywheel Stages

flywheel conversion

The flywheel consists of three stages:

  1. Attract. By delivering quality content and making it easy for your customers to learn more about what you do, your business will be attracting new visitors on a continuous basis.
  2. Engage. Interacting with existing and potential customers helps you create stronger relationships with them. This, in turn, will encourage them to keep engaging with your business in the future.
  3. Delight. In order to boost brand credibility and turn customers into advocates, it’s important to consistently deliver a positive customer experience for all.

Creating a Flywheel for Your Organisation

The main goal of the flywheel is to discover where your efforts need to be reworked and realigned in order to attract, engage and delight customers.

Here are the steps for creating your own flywheel.

Step 1: Identify Core Metrics. What are the metrics that your business wants to track?

Step 2: Identify Company Forces. Using the different flywheel stages, find your company’s forces. These forces need to be used to enhance word-of-mouth and maximise delight.

Step 3: Identify Points of Friction. Finally, you will need to identify any points in the customer journey that could affect the customer’s experience, which includes internal processes and any interactions between staff and customers. Once you’ve identified these friction points, you will need to rework them to better improve your customer experience and achieve your objectives.

HubSpot has also created a homework template that will help make this process easier.

Measuring Your Success

As with any new sales or marketing tactic, it’s essential that you measure your success. To determine how the flywheel is impacting your organisation, relook at it after three to six months – does it look any different? It’s also helpful to compare the results to your original sales funnel.

Look at whether your metrics are moving customers to the next stage and if you have seen an increase in referrals.

If you aren’t seeing any major differences after a few months, you may need to give it a little more time. Just keep the focus on putting the customer first and the rest will fall into place.

So, are businesses truly ready for the flywheel? Probably not as much as we would like to think.

The reality is that most organisations are only getting started with inbound marketing, so it might be a while before the flywheel is being used by the majority of businesses. The sooner you get started though, the sooner you’ll be able to reap the benefits.