Is the traditional marketing funnel dead?

The advent of social media and Sales 2.0 has led many B2B marketers to ask if the traditional marketing funnel is dead. In a Sales 2.0 world, buyers are shopping without the assistance of a sales rep or even the knowledge of the vendor. Armed with the Internet and hiding from view, they are learning about our companies, competition and services on their own. If the buyer controls much of the sales process...does that make our traditional marketing funnel obsolete? The traditional marketing funnel is not dead. Most companies use some version of the A-I-D-A marketing model - awareness, interest, decision and action. This has not changed in the Sales 2.0 world. What has changed are the marketing tools and techniques we use to engage and guide the prospect through each stage.

Let's take a look at each:

Awareness: At SEI we call this stage the "funnel above the funnel". Here, prospects may be unaware of the need for your services or of your company. In the past we may have used telemarketing, direct mail and other outbound campaigns to create awareness. Today, it's search engines, social media, eNewsletters and other strategies designed to help you "get found" by prospects.

Interest: The client now has some level of interest that needs to be nurtured. Sales Reps used to play this role by delivering brochures or marketing materials. Today, buyers go to your website, view videos or archived webinars and download the content on their own.

Decision: In a Sales 2.0 world the prospect is often narrowing the vendor list at this stage without talking to a sales rep. To ensure you are included - proof point videos, case studies, client testimonials and a positive social media presence is critical.

Action: The client is now ready to speak with your Sales Rep.

As a young sales rep, I was involved in every stage of the AIDA model. Today, the model is the same but the interactions are much different. Aligning your strategy and approach to this new model is key to sustainable success.

Sales Engine International is a Sales 2.0 prospect engagement and marketing campaign execution company. Clients come to us for inbound and outbound marketing strategies, tools and services that engage the prospect above the funnel, result in more qualified leads, and offer complete marketing spend transparency.

SEI clients enjoy more effective and accountable lead generation and faster sales cycles. Our client portfolio ranges from start ups to the Fortune 50.