Touchpoints and Flattening the Funnel

by Ken Mueller on February 8, 2012 · 11 comments

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300px Kitchen Funnel Touchpoints and Flattening the Funnel

One of the key elements of sales is the concept of “touchpoints.” The traditional sales funnel is based on moving potentially interested individuals to becoming actual customers. This is generally not a one-step process which is why touchpoints are important.

The first time you have contact with someone, they generally don’t become customers. And each time you meet them, you get to know more about them, and can nurture them along the way, with the goal of turning them into a client.

More recently we have used the analogy of the hourglass (kind of like two funnels put together) or the flipped funnel, as in the case of Joseph Jaffe’s wonderful book.

But take that funnel, and step on it. Run it over with a steam roller. Flatten it out.

That’s what Social Media does. Touchpoints no longer have to take place over a period of time. They may, but they might also take place across the digital spectrum all at the same time.

If you follow someone on Twitter and they follow you, that’s a touchpoint. That relationship can grow and bear fruit. But suppose at the same time you are also friends on Facebook. Touchpoint number two. And you can interact on the two platforms simultaneously. The other person has two places where they can observe your activity. Add a Facebook business page. LinkedIn. A blog. Sharing on Google Reader. Google +. Pinterest. Each of these is a touchpoint, and the more touchpoints you have, the more chance you have of building a deeper relationship with that individual.

The funnel represents a relationship over time. But flatten the funnel and you collapse time. Sure, time is still a very important element in the sales cycle, but it can often be shortened by virtue of multiple touchpoints existing in the same moment.

We are connected to more people in more places, all at the same time. Take advantage of those multiple connections and the touchpoints they represent.

How are you taking advantage of how well you are connected with others on multiple platforms?

 Touchpoints and Flattening the Funnel
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10 comments
C_Pappas
C_Pappas

I dont think many brands think of social media interactions and connections when they consider they funnel. We think of email campaigns, newsletters, calls from sales reps etc. Love this point you are making but find that (in companies I have worked with and for anyways) that the sales group could benefit the most from these social connections but just aren't doing it yet. Not sure why... any thoughts?

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Shonali
Shonali

I really like the way you put this, Ken. What I've learned is that this doesn't happen overnight, and that's something I think businesses have to remember. For me, the first touchpoint is invariably Twitter, then it extends to Facebook, then to Google+ and possibly to LinkedIn. But once we start communicating via email (or G-chat, cough cough), or start talking to each other on blogs, that's where I find the real magic happens.

girlseeksplace
girlseeksplace

An interesting perspective. Nurturing my online relationships is definitely something I need to work on, especially when it comes to other bloggers and writers.

Mark_Harai
Mark_Harai

There are certainly several touch points where you can connect with like-minded folks and make a lasting impression on them. If your consistent, helpful and add value to what's being discussed it can bring you the awareness your work deserves.

I link to all of the social networks I'm active on to my blog. It drives most of the traffic and from there, it leads to new business, JV's, partnerships and more.

So, I'm with with you Ken - - run the traditional funnel over!

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

@C_Pappas I think a lot of that is because of those dang silos. I would bet that most sales departments view social as being more of a marketing/communications function, and don't pay much attention to it. And I bet @ginidietrich and @geoffliving could add more to this since this is the topic of the book they have written. Sales people need to get on board and use these tools as well. This is why I tell business up front that social media isn't marketing. It cuts across all disciplines when used properly.

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

@girlseeksplace And nurturing doesn't have to be a big thing. It can happen naturally as you just connect with others on a regular basis.

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

@Mark_Harai It all works together, and while it doesn't happen overnight, when you connect with others on multiple platforms, your touchpoints not only happen over time, but spatially at the same time.

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