Sales Funnels Are Wishful Thinking

Last week I attended Influence PDX, a one day event put on by the Portland chapter of the National Speakers Association.

This idea came to me as my friend, Ron Black, was presenting. I think all of us can use this concept.

New Customer Journey

Ron was talking about the difference between marketing and sales showing them as two different circles. One person in the session actually identified marketing as an expense and sales as a revenue generator.

No, that is not the point.

Ron put up a slide showing how things tend to overlap a lot more these days. And that is when it struck me. These smushed silos are the way we’ve been thinking of it. It is how we’re trying to fit our old ways of thinking into a new digital world. It is wishful thinking.

It doesn’t work.

People have been stumbling around trying to figure out whether marketing or sales is responsible for a specific point in the process of someone becoming a buyer and when customer service should take over but today, the customer has all the control.

Gail our resident writer said, “In other words we need to rethink how we look at the customer journey.”

“Bingo!” I said.

Forget all that funnel stuff.”

“Sho’ nuff,” said Rob the Dixie transplant that specializes in branding. An’ I’ll just disremember that everything is about brand.”

“Bubba,” I said, “You got that backwards. Everything I’m talking about here is brand. It’s the glue that holds it all together.

Used to be the marketing silo did their thing and seldom if ever talked to sales. They didn’t know an objection from an orange. Sales was out there closing. Except for the really good ones they didn’t bother to build relationships. And most of them couldn’t wait to hand off the customer to inside sales or customer service.  The funnel had all these spigots dumping into it and turned into a plumbing tree right after the sale. But the world has changed. If you’re inconsistent anywhere it is going to cost you.

The Takeaway:

Silos, smushed or not, don’t work. You have to have:

  • A single mission that every employee understands
  • A single value proposition across all communications
  • A singular relationship with customers/clients for life

Because the customer controls the journey

Jerry Fletcher’s blog recaps conversations with clients, prospects and a group of business development professionals. They discuss what’s new, what’s old, what’s good, bad and ugly plus creative thinking to find what works. Jerry Fletcher is the ringleader and secretary of the dialogue. Sign up for more conceptual triggers:

Jerry has been researching and implementing small business marketing that builds businesses, careers and lives of joy for 25 years as President of Z-axis Marketing, Inc. Learn more at

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About Jerry Fletcher

Jerry is the CEO of Z-axis Marketing, Inc. which he founded in 1990. He is an expert at business development and has changed the way the way new business is acquired and introduced on three continents. He is known to meet with clients in dining rooms and boardrooms. He stopped counting successful introductions of new products at 207.

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