About this video
We love the sales funnel. But is it still relevant?
Video length: 3:57
Dave Harries: Grant, something that’s beloved of most sales people and we all have in our past and perhaps cling to a little bit too tightly is the sales funnel. We love the sales funnel. It’s simple. It makes sense to us. But in your book, you basically trash the sales funnel and say, “No, forget it. It doesn’t apply anymore.” Tell me a bit about that.
Grant Leboff: The sales funnel was formulated around 1898. I would say that just from a pure logical point of view, in 2017, is that really still relevant today? Imagine if we still ran HR the way we did in 1898 or other business disciplines. Just from a logical point of view you think, “Well, the world has changed so much. Surely the sales funnel should have had to evolve.”
The other thing about the sales funnel is simply this. At the top of that funnel, it fundamentally relies on volume. In America, they use to call it “Spray and Pray.” It relies on hitting lots of people that with Direct Mail, salespeople hitting lots of people on the phone knowing that most of the people you hit, you choose the market by segmentation. “Oh, this type of market would be interested.” Knowing full well that most people wouldn’t be, all right? Then what would happen is, that’s why it goes narrow quite quickly because you start with these 20,000 prospects but very quickly that shortened down to the 7 people that responded to your Direct Mail now or whatever else. That’s kind of how it worked.
The challenge is the volume approach doesn’t really work today. Do you want to take cold calls from salespeople? Will you welcome them into your office if they turn up at your door? The thing about digital is we are so empowered as customers, it has done two things to us. We are so empowered that when we are ready to buy, we kind of say to the salesperson, “Look when we’re ready, we’ll come to you, thanks very much. Don’t come to me.” So that’s the first issue.
The second issue is, is because we can do that, we kind of deem salespeople that are calling us as a little bit desperate. They almost devalue their product or service offering by using that channel. It would be a bit like trying to advertise Rolex watches through cheap direct mail leaflets. You think, “Well, it can’t be that good because they wouldn’t have done it on this.” It kind of devalues the offering before you start.
The final thing is in a digital world, we’re so bombarded with information that we personalizing our experiences. We personalize ringtones so we don’t have to answer the phone to certain people but we do to others. We personalize emails and have certain going to spam folders. We personalize downloads of newspapers or magazines so we only have to look at the sections we like, etc., etc.
In a world where we have created this kind of digital eco-system that is so relevant to us, when someone sort of cuts through that with irrelevant communication via the telephone or a text or whatever else, I think we get really irritated today. So we don’t respond to it at all and we don’t respond to it favorably. That whole premise of that funnel which is this volume top from a sales lead generation point of view, just doesn’t work. Most salespeople, one of their fundamental issues that saves me is I need more leads.
Dave Harries: Grant, you have explained very well why you think the sales funnel, kind of, doesn’t holistically doesn’t apply anymore. Are there any specifics that really kind of get in the way of digital selling?
Grant Leboff: Absolutely. In digital, three things are fundamental in the sales process. One is establishing credibility. One is engaging people and you engage people through giving value. None of those things can be measured by the traditional sales funnel. It doesn’t measure your credibility. It doesn’t measure the engagement level you have and it doesn’t measure giving value because it is a very sort of linear journey that goes down where I get your attention, I get you interested, and then I nail you and everybody else drops out. It doesn’t apply to digital at all.
There may be small changes to the spoken word in this transcript in order make it more readable.