I think John Jantsch’s description in his post yesterday on the Duct Tape Marketing Hourglass was very thought provoking and is one of things that he had written about in his book that not only has proven the test of time but have proven very correct in practically any kind of media, online and offline. It is a post that I recommend printing out and pinning on your wall.
John says, “The top half indeed resembles the funnel concept, but the expanding bottom half, to my way of thinking, adds the necessary focus on the total customer experience that ultimately leads to referrals and marketing momentum.”
As I was reading The Duct Tape Marketing Blog, I remembered another blog post John had recently written, Is selling Becoming More Like Marketing? Maybe, it should be turned around in that is Marketing becoming more like Selling? Marketing has always been judged on how many leads we dump into the top of the funnel. The salespeople take over and develop the relationships, build the credibility and make the presentations. After the sale, they maintained the relationships. The Eagles(good salespeople) understood the bottom of the hourglass better than any other person in the organization. I am saying practically the same thing John did in his blog, but that really is the secret sauce that can make your organization successful today.
The important part of sales and marketing is the work that takes place in both halves of the Hourglass. That is where the ball usually gets dropped and a prime example is the refusal of many industries to participate in the new wave of marketing. It is just too expensive to nurture, develop repeat and referral business all in person. Don’t get me wrong, you still need that human touch, but you have limited resources and limited Eagles to go around. Developing effective and efficient communication in these parts of the hourglass is one of the most important things you can do to increase sales.
What does hold you back? Looking for that one thing or constraint that is holding you back is seldom found in the middle of your hourglass, the close. It occurs elsewhere and not having a structure in place to walk people through the 7 stages is imperative. That is why I encourage people to use the Lean tool of Value Stream Mapping and map these seven stages and put some measurements to them. Why? The obvious is that “people perform based on how they are measured” -Eliyahu Goldratt, Theory of Constraints. However, a word of caution as Marketing becomes more like selling, it still is people thing.