In the past 11 years, we have worked with over 1,000 companies on implementing Lead Management solutions and have come to an inescapable conclusion. Funnel models do not work. Traditional views of lead management and the funnel are internally focused and do not align with customer needs during the buying journey. The concept of the vertical funnel implies that some force of gravity pulls the leads down, when in actuality there is a lot more mutual exchange of value needed. Analyst models do not incorporate how people actually buy and how true conversion really happens. Abstract and arbitrary models such as SiriusDecisions Waterfall are not based on fact or research and do not work in practical implementation.
Every customer we have ever worked with struggles to implement and operationalize a theoretical model. No two companies are the same. Their definitions of leads, market conditions, sales model, competitive environment, pricing strategies are all different. Different sales models need to be applied contextually for the customer, their product line and the markets they compete in. Many companies will have multiple models based on what and how they sell. Given that, it is impossible to benchmark funnel conversion at individual phases when there are too many variables to control.
Most funnels typically end at the initial close. They do not reflect the entire lifecycle of the customer and how they buy, or that they can be in multiple phases at the same time. All current funnel conversion metrics are based on internal processes and controls. They do not evaluate the customer’s viewpoint or the entire lifecycle pattern of conversion.
We are moving beyond the funnel and introducing TPG ONE™ – a Customer Lifecycle Map. The model is completely built around the customer, not the company. It guides you to develop metrics, content, marketing and sales approaches that align with each stage of your customer lifecycle. The objective is to implement a framework that works for your customers and your operating requirements. The model is an infinity loop that consists of 5 stages of customer acquisition: Awareness, Consideration, Evaluation, Decision, Purchase and 5 stages of customer expansion: Onboarding, Adoption, Value Delivery, Loyalty and Advocacy. The model is meant to be adaptive, not absolute. The definitions of each stage, the activities and metrics you apply will be unique to your business and your customers. You may need more or less stages and more or less rigor.
TPG ONE™ is a catalyst to rebuild your marketing and sales programs to reflect a customer-centric point of view. It helps you develop and benchmark metrics and best practices specific to your company for every critical point of the customer experience. Your reports and dashboards will be rebuilt to reflect performance over the customer lifecycle, not just the sales pipeline.
As you move into a more customer-focused approach to generating and managing demand, the discipline of Customer Portfolio Management becomes a critical capability. Customers are your most important asset and need to be invested in over time for maximum rate of return. Which customers will deliver a short, medium and long term optimal return? Which customers introduce higher rates of risk? What is your marketing yield and ROI over the customer lifetime? What is the aging analysis of your customers and their growth over time? What is the net present value of your customers? How are you allocating your marketing budget and focus across the entire lifecycle?
Over the next year, we will introduce more of TPG ONE™ through a series of blog posts, articles, videos, dashboard samples and case studies. We invite you to join us in this gravitational shift away from the funnel and towards the customer. It’s going to be an exciting and rewarding journey.