Because of this, the “bow tie funnel” will come into prominence in marketing over the next 12 to 18 months. This puts the point of sale in the middle of the funnel, and creating repeat customers will be the focus for the second half of the funnel. While savvy sales teams have always focused on this segment for possible revenue, it has not been a strong focus for marketing teams.
This requires a shift in thinking, as teams will need to come to terms with the idea that the funnel doesn’t stop with the sales team any longer, and the traditional funnel is in fact passé. In many cases, once a customer signs a contract, the marketing team stops focusing on that person and instead assumes that customer success teams will take over any required engagement. Now marketing teams must engage and connect with new customers, as well as with existing customers, with the same purpose of driving long-term revenue.
So how can marketing teams engage with customers through the entire bow tie funnel and create happy, long-term advocates?
• Become a trusted adviser for your customer: Investing in resources to help your customers become successful beyond your product or service establishes your company as not just a solution provider, but as a trusted advisor. Building toward a customer success ideal is much bigger than driving ROI from your product; it is actually about helping your customers over-execute on their business goals and vision. Creating this kind of engagement or rapport with your clients will instantly improve retention rates and give your organization the opportunity to expand deal size with that company.
• Create content that speaks to the customers that are already using your core product: Develop marketing content that isn’t just about deploying your solution, but also shows how your solution fits into a broader trend like account-based marketing. Show your customers how they can improve other areas of their team processes, even if your product is only a tiny piece of that process.
• Invest in personalization and customization for everything you send to your customers: Once a customer has begun interacting with your team, you have an influx of data available at your fingertips about that account. Use that insight to engage and interact with your customers more often and more meaningfully in new and innovative ways. This will enable you to improve the quality and satisfaction of each customer interaction and maximize the profitability of your customer relationships.
Another way marketing teams can support customers through the entire bow tie funnel is by creating perfect synchronization between marketing, sales, and success teams. This ensures that the customer experience is seamless from one stage of the funnel to the next. Companies need to offer a holistic experience across all company touch points and develop the infrastructure that allows for knowledge sharing and smart communication. This allows customers to have the same interactions across the entire bow tie, which helps establish your team as a trusted advisor.
There are hundreds of little ways that marketing teams can interact with their existing customers to create happy advocates that are more willing to spend money with your company and encourage others to do the same. As marketing becomes the key driver of customer success and advocacy and many CMOs are becoming chief customer officers, the need for extending the funnel beyond the point of initial sales is crucial. Marketing teams will have to step up their dress game and start rocking a bow tie.