Marketing and sales used to be simple and separate.
Marketing would determine branding and positioning and then launch campaigns to build awareness. A good sales rep could leverage that branding to fill her calendar with appointments.
Back then, before the internet gained prominence as an information tool, we relied on salespeople to educate us about new products and guide us in the right direction.
As the internet became the content source for everything, and we realized that we didn’t have to rely on those pesky salespeople for research, our sales and marketing processes began to shift where marketing started providing more of that educational information and tracking activity through automation.
By 2017, inbound marketing had reached maturity where marketing-generated qualified leads, and inside sales worked diligently to turn them into appointments to pass to a closer.
In the last 20 years, we’ve seen the majority of Americans put a computer in their pocket and high-speed internet into every building they step into.
And now, especially after the pandemic, it’s all changing again. Buyers are onto this process making it less and less effective.
It’s not that any of these things are wrong (marketing, inbound, sales process). It’s that it all must work together in a cohesive strategy because the sales process is not as linear as it used to be--it’s different every time.
There are more buyers involved.
They want to do more self-education before engaging with a demo.
This new process of aligning sales, marketing and customer success around creating a better customer experience from attraction to retention and referrals is what HubSpot refers to as the flywheel.
HubSpot defines the flywheel as a model that explains the momentum you gain when each part of your company is aligned around the same mission of providing a high-quality, positive customer experience all the way through the sales, marketing and customer service process.
A flywheel requires some energy in the beginning to get it moving, but once it does, it spins on its own—that’s what we ultimately want for our client attraction and retention process.
This wheel is broken into three sections:
The idea behind this concept is that when all parts of the wheel are turning, you can leverage the momentum you have created to attract more consumers and close more business.
While this sounds great in theory, we need to break down each part of this wheel to truly understand what this concept is about and how you as a brand owner can integrate it into your current strategies.
1. Attract Phase
As you may have guessed, this phase is where you attract leads to check out your brand. However, this does not mean you are starting off with the hard sell and directing them straight to sales pages on your website.
You are attracting your ideal customers by offering free and educational content that they have been looking for. This includes pieces that answer their frequently asked questions, provide immediate solutions to their problems, and teaches them something they never knew.
Consumers want brands to earn their attention. In addition to content, a brand can earn the attention of its target audience through social media marketing, targeted paid ads, and other methods designed to put your message in front of them.
This is also where you want to take inventory and confirm that you have eliminated any obstacles that are preventing consumers from learning more about you.
This may include reworking your website to improve the user experience, making it easier to speak to a representative, or agreeing to give away information for free that you used to charge for.
2. Engage Phase
This phase can be a bit tricky because while it is where you are trying to close a sale, you have to reexamine the tactics and channels you are using to do that. Before enacting the flywheel, you audit the process a consumer must go through to buy from you.
Be sure to remove any unnecessary steps to make it as easy as possible to purchase from you. This will leave the consumer with a positive memory of their interaction with your brand and more likely to come back again.
The engage phase is about creating a relationship with your target audience that leads to a sale. Your prospects want to know you care about them as people and are trying to solve their specific problems.
This is where personalized marketing tactics such as email personalization, marketing automation, and lead nurturing come into play. This allows a buyer to engage with your brand on their timeline.
For example, a consumer may like to weigh all of their options and consult with others before making a purchase. A hard sell upfront would turn them off because they would feel rushed to make a decision. You may have the best product for their needs, but they are most likely going to turn you down because they have not had time to do their research.
However, if you are engaging with them each day by presenting useful content and friendly email messages, you are guaranteed to be top of mind when they are ready to make a choice.
3. Delight Phase
The delight phase is crucial because it is easy to forget and could end up costing you a wealth of future business. This phase takes place after you close a deal.
Naturally, once a sales rep closes a deal, they have to pass the client off to an account executive or customer service team.
However, those departments should be seen as an extension of sales, not an entirely different entity. This is because they are responsible for delighting your new customers to the point where they become your biggest fans.
For the wheel to keep turning, your newly converted customers must do two key things. First, they must become repeat customers. Second, they must be so satisfied with your brand that they share your message and products with their network.
As a brand, it is your responsibility to enact a robust customer success team and strategy that provides constant support to your customers.
To make this initiative as easy and streamlined as possible there are several services and programs you can enact. For starters, you can have a knowledge base on your website that answers customers' most common questions. If they are unable to get the answer they seek, you can supply a chatbot function for an immediate answer.
If your customers' inquiries are more complex, you may consider a ticket creation system, hotline, or dedicated email address. The key is to make sure your customers know that you have not forgotten about them just because you now have their money.
The flywheel is a straightforward strategy that requires effort, commitment and an honest examination of your current tactics. It is a process that aligns with what your consumers expect out of a brand.
It provides a roadmap on how to reconfigure the various parts of your company to meet and exceed your target audience’s expectations. It is up to you as a key stakeholder in the future of your brand to commit to integrating this concept into each strategy and campaign you deploy.