Marketing Funnel

The 5 Rs of Growth

For a business to scale, you need new customers. Where do you find them? In the past, we looked at marketing to the masses and in hope that we will find a likely candidate and narrow them down through discovering how much pain they are in relative to our product offering. Some may call this product dominant type thinking.

I think in today’s world this is a failed strategy. In fact, it goes against most of the messages of inbound marketing. In inbound marketing. you consider the top of the funnel a customer that has already discovered their pain and is now searching for suppliers. According to most statistics in the B2B environment, we are not invited to a customer’s purchase cycle till it is 60% complete. If that is the case, we are easily missing 50% of the opportunities. And, we may be spending most of our dollars in an attempt to enter the cycle, not after we get invited. Much of our time, resources and dollars could be considered very wasteful. Our attempt to create effectiveness is to manage and segment the top of the funnel. But why? It is our least known area and by and large the least the receptive to our message.

I believe the majority of our growth and revenue is coming after the sale, not before. If we look at this new type of funnel that I became familiar with through an Instagram from Service Source and the book, Subscription Marketing. I have made a variant of the diagram. I call it the 5Rs of Growth:

  1. Re-Sell
  2. Re-Gain
  3. Retain
  4. Renew
  5. Refer

5 Rs of GrowthThere are certainly other ways to segment customers; this not being the only way, but it is a very common to view customers from this perspective. When you review these areas and address your customers from these perspectives, I believe you find your most opportunistic prospects.

I had discussed before the Funnel of Opportunity and marketing from the perspective of users. This, of course, is complementary to Service Dominant Logic. When we view how to reach prospects from this perspective, it allows for a more effective and efficient process. We have data and what I call “tribal” knowledge at our disposal. You might ask, “What about new customers?”

The greatest growth opportunities are on the edges of the use of our product/services. Or, on the edges of the 5Rs of Growth. We must make a concentrated effort to identify and participate in relevant knowledge flows on the edges of these 5Rs. In the book, The Power of Pull, the authors discuss the relationship between the core and the edge. When we envision tomorrow’s best product or service being used in our customer’s future it creates far-reaching possibilities.  It is this type of thinking of our customer’s business, the edges of their business, the edges of the 5Rs tha tis needed for growth. Our most successful sales people are already thinking in these terms. Are you?

Lean Frontier Webinars include What Sales Teaches the Lean Enterprise

Lean Frontiers offers FREE quarterly webinars aimed at enterprise-wide engagement. Leadership, Accounting, Sales, HR, Logistics, IT, R&D. Imagine if each of these business functions worked in unison in supporting lean as a business model. This March they are running a series of 30-minute webinars to include:

You can register for one or all Lean Frontier Webinars through this link.

Why Accounting and Operations Must Become Allies for a Successful Lean Journey: Facilitated by Jerry Solomon, Author/Practitioner
Tue, Mar 10, 11:00 AM – 11:30 PM EDT

Kata Skill Camp: Lean Accounting Webinar: Facilitated by Beth Carrington, Master Kata Coach
Tue, Mar 10, 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM EDT

Closing the Leadership Gap: Strategies for Developing Highly Engaged Lean Leaders: Facilitated by Sam MacPherson, former Elite US Army Special Forces (The Green Berets) 
Thu, Mar 12, 11:00 AM – 11:30 AM EDT

TWI & Lean: The Foundation for Standard Work, Respect for People, and Continuous Improvement: Facilitated by Patrick Graupp, Author and TWI Master Trainer
Thu, Mar 12, 4:00 PM – 4:30 PM EDT

LOGISTICS / SUPPLY CHAIN: Lean Supply Chain: Leading the Charge: Facilitated by Brad Bossence, Regional VP LeanCor
Mon, Mar 16, 1:00 PM – 1:30 PM EDT

ACCOUNTING: No Processes To Over Engineered Processes – Why We Need To Use Lean
Facilitated by Gary Case, Pink Elephant and co-author of ITIL® V3’s Continual Service Improvement
Mon, Mar 16, 3:00 PM – 3:30 PM EDT

I am honored to be included in this group. My presentation will be on the final day and the outline is included below.

SALES & MARKETING: What Sales Teaches the Lean Enterprise
Facilitated by Joe Dager, Author and President Business901
Tue, Mar 17, 11:00 AM – 11:30 AM EDT

Lean Enterprises look towards developing sales processes based on traditional thinking of efficiency and waste. Thoughts were centered on problem-solving and A3-type thinking. Recently with new age thinking of the Lean StartupTM, we have tried to enter the sales arena with Lean 3P or Lean Product Development and Lean Startup methodologies. All of these in a quest to standardize and develop a “sales process.”

“Sales and Marketing have never been against systemizing the process.

They have been against being systemized by the process.” – Peter Scholtes

We complicate the process by budgeting and funding the top of every sales funnel. Exploring and discovering new customers and new market share. Applying Lean to sales is about using SDCA, PDCA and EDCA (Explore-Do-Check-Act) through-out the sales/marketing cycle. However, it differs when viewed from the perspective of sales or from the Gemba. It is not laden in the process thinking of pushing knowledge towards the Gemba but extracting learning opportunities and creating sales opportunities along the Funnel of OpportunityTM.

Lean Sales and Marketing concepts differ from traditional approaches found in other parts of the Lean Enterprise. Its primary focus is not the discovery of waste but of process improvement with a very specific strategic intent; delivery of superior value for the execution of an organization’s value proposition. This means that the focus of the analysis must be on those segments and processes within value streams that have the most substantial impact on the most important value drivers of the organization.


  • Why Learning beats Knowing
  • How to start with Lean in Sales and Marketing
  • Standard Work in Sales and Marketing

You can register for one or all Lean Frontier Webinars through this link.

Lean Sales and Marketing: Learn about using CAP-Do

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7 Simple Steps to Improve Your Marketing 0

I wrote these steps several years ago. In Monday’s post, I will update these 7 steps to my current thinking. I wonder how much has to be changed. Any suggestions?

  1. Develop a Customer Persona. Remember, though the commonality does have to be centered around your product/service, you may find out drawing a stick person and labeling their features will help you in defining your market. Why is this step so important? When you develop a target message, referral system, advertising products and lead generation tactics it will help you be more concise and directed in your efforts. The better picture you paint, the better the demographics.
  2. Develop a brand: If you have been in business or your business has been developed because of your expertise, guess what, you have a brand. Simply ask three customers
    to find out who you are. Ask several non-customers why they do not buy from you. You will find out what you are not! If you want to be somebody different, changing that perception will cost you marketing dollars and time. It might be easier to buy a company that has the brand you
    want. However, before you write the check, go ask three of their customers.
  3. What have you done for me today? You must become part of your customer’s life. The more you interact on a regular basis the more value you will be able to provide. If you do anything less than this, you run the risk of being commoditized and competing day in and day out on
  4. Planning: Jim Rohn said, "Never begin the day until it is finished on paper." We have all heard it before but why do few of us do it? It is difficult, but the rewards are tremendous. Develop a 90-day marketing plan to start. Touch your referral network as often as you touch your customers, If you do not touch them at least monthly, they probably are not customers.
  5. The Sales Process: If you develop this effectively, you will never run out of material or customers. However , if you are like most , your sales process will not self generate good material or the type of customers you are looking for. Use an outline that is adaptable and centers on developing better diagnostics skills. If you do, your PR, testimonials and case studies become abundant and simply stated, you sell more.
  6. Don’t Sell: Efforts should be in creating prospects, not selling. I am not sure anyone "sells" anymore. We create interest through the information we supply and the questions we ask. We interact with our customers to build trust and cooperation. As a result, when there is opportunity, we can involve the right people with the right questions at the right time.
  7. Getting Referrals: Do you think cold calling works? Does asking for referrals work, it certainly does. If you continue to use Step 4 and 5 as building blocks, you will eventually receive enormous amount of referrals. The referrals are just not from customers but vendors, network partners and so on. The development of a referral system is essential.

Lean Sales and Marketing: Learn about using CAP-Do

Special Marketing with Lean Book and Program offers on Facebook

The Cows Decide When It’s Milking Time 0

In a recent NY Times article, With Farm Robotics, the Cows Decide When It’s Milking Time, they discuss the attributes of a new technology that through robots and transponders cows get individualized services. The collection of data includes:

The robots also monitor the amount and quality of milk produced, the frequency of visits to the machine, how much each cow has eaten, and even the number of steps each cow has taken per day, which can indicate when she is in heat.

This is not to unlike a good Customer Relationship Management System (CRM). CRM systems should not be used to better manipulate a customer down our pre-determined path of engagement, rather be used to make better customer experiences and enable the customer an easier path for engagement. Leave them decide the milking time. When we do this as the article says:

But farmers said output generally increased with robots because most cows like being milked more often. (To allow lactation, cows are kept in a near-constant state of impregnation.)

As we create better workflows, we not only make it easy for the customer but for our staff to service the customer. Again from the article:

The machines have mellowed both the cows and much of the routine on the Bordens’ farm — though the humans have received the occasional distress call from their mechanized milkers.

Even though these are solid lessons to be learned the most important takeaway that I had from article was how automation can give me a better view of the customer experience. Real-time information with actionable data sets, instead of looking at what happens in the past is the treasure trove of Big Data. This thought was driven by the comment:

The view is improved, as well. “Most milking parlors, you see, you really only see the back end of the cow,” Mr. Borden’s father, Tom, said. “I don’t see that as building up much of a relationship.”

Lean Sales and Marketing: Learn about using CAP-Do

Special Marketing with Lean Book and Program offers on Facebook

CREATe a Simple Work Flow 0

Outside of blogging and podcasting, I do actually get a few real jobs that typically involve creating workflows to assist in managing and implement a change. This is done a variety of ways, and I take little credit for any success. I have followed John Kotter’s 8-Step Process for Change introduced in Leading Change as closely as anyone would let me. In a recent book, Designing for Behavior Change: Applying Psychology and Behavioral Economics, I discovered a different approach and  to demonstrate I will use a workflow that combines an auto-responder, mail program and phone calls. We can extend the components to include events/tasks and/or lengthen time between the components. In this particular workflow, I assume a 21 to 28 day cycle.

Paraphrased from the book, Designing for Behavior Change: Applying Psychology and Behavioral Economics:,

The big picture would focus on the constructing the environment, preparing the user, structuring the action. The little picture will be the Cue, Reaction, Evaluation, Ability, Timing or the acronym CREATe (forget the last e). For the sake of brevity, I am not going to discuss the overall the environment, but it certainly should be part of the discussion. I would mention that it is important to frame the people we talk to for the callers and the different roles they may be calling into: the different type of positions, etc.

We begin by testing, creating different time frames for different segments as time goes on. We can also alter messages as segments are created. However, the key is getting our people to use the present system in its simplest form. Once everyone starts using the process, the real work begins. When we start complicating the order, the process; we take the decision making and the ability to ACT tougher involving more processes and people. The simplest basic offering allows people to act without delay.

Work flow

If we consider the CREATe acronym for each week, we can attempt to enable one simple task by the customer during the week. To accomplish this the entire workflow needs to be tied together: mailing, the call and the Auto-Responder. All three of them should be related, setting-up the next segment while providing an easy way to act. The combination of them should form CREATe.

CREATe is described as:

Cue: Something to start the person/organization thinking about the action. Ideally it would not be what we do but could be a sales call or presentation.

Reaction: There is an immediate thought when the cue takes place that we must get past what is created by the intuitive mind. A sales call is often seen as a negative and reacted to accordingly. Records, Computer data entry bring up negative reactions for many.

Evaluation: The conscious mind evaluates the cost and benefits of the action, taking the above sales phone call. It is a relative action often weighed to the present moment. Is it worth taking the call over what I am doing?

Ability: The person has the ability to act on what we ask right NOW, as immediate as possible. If we ask for a reaction does that person have everything needed to complete the action. Do they have all the information at their fingertips when they are ready to do what we ask them, if they don’t why ask?

Timing: What is the reason for acting NOW? It needs to be a small step.

We consider the CREATe acronym for each week(could be any time frame). Again, what we are trying to do is enable a simple, actionable item by our prospect. We then look at each week or look at an individual workflow to see how it can be improved over time. Once a standard process is created, questions can be considered for improvement:

Keeping in mind the big 3:

Constructing the environment: Does the user have a clear motivation? Do we provide feedback?

Structuring the action: What is the course of action? Are we leveraging prior knowledge? Are we creating a minimum amount of work?

Preparing the user: Do we match the action with the user?

What about improving our CREATe? 

Cue (Increase power of Cue): Tell the user the action; make it clear where to act? Simple message

Reaction (Increase interest and trust): Social proof? Strong authority on subject, Authenticity and Personal

Evaluation (Increase motivation, decrease cost of action (risk)): Peer Comparisons, Competition, Leverage loss aversion, Avoid choice overload, Avoid Direct Payments

Ability (increase feasibility, decrease constraints): Understand and Simplify implementation intentions, decrease burden of action, Peer comparisons

Timing (Increase urgency): Frame text for simplification, Remind of prior commitment, Make commitment to others, Make reward unique, and Focus on immediate rewards

What about that small e? CREAT enables the person/organization to eXECUTE the action

Primary source of material: Designing for Behavior Change: Applying Psychology and Behavioral Economics

Lean Sales and Marketing: Learn about using CAP-Do

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Unlocking the Potential of Consumer Behavior 0

Eric-HoltzclawA serial entrepreneur having founded multiple start-up companies, including one of the first profitable Internet enterprises. Eric V. Holtzclaw is the Founder/CEO of Laddering Works, a marketing strategy firm.

He has spent 20+ years creating opportunity by identifying and capitalizing on emerging trends and disruptions to business. His professional experience includes: founding multiple successful start-up companies, including one of the first profitable Internet enterprises, and serving as the strategic lead in the implementation of dozens of products and services worldwide. His last company appeared on the Inc. 5000 list three years in a row.

In summary you could say Eric advises clients on the whys” of business:

  • Why customers buy,
  • Why teams work and
  • The all-important “entrepreneurial why”.

Eric’s new book is Laddering: Unlocking the Potential of Consumer Behavior.

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