Funnel Marketing Maturity: How Old is Yours?

Funnel Maturity

An organization running on full-blown Revenue Funnel Science is a Formula One race car. Its cylinders are pumping on clean petrol and it can steer nimbly at top speeds. It predicts revenue goals, exceeds them and repeats this feat quarter after quarter. 

As with Formula One cars, this dream machine only really exists on the race track under carefully controlled conditions. Reality is much messier and few companies have the luxury of starting out with a V8 under the hood. Most of us have inherited legacy teams, processes and parts, which means our pit crews are always working toward perfection but are never there. We’re always aspiring for Revenue Funnel Science maturity.

Ever wonder where you fall on that spectrum? See how you stack up and what you can do to reach the finish line: 

The Funnel Marketing Maturity Model

Our funnel maturity spectrum is, of course, shaped like a funnel. At the top lie the vast majority of businesses who are marketing successfully but lack a master plan. It’s possible to achieve marketing success here – Virgin Group, for example, has always had a notoriously disorganized marketing department and is still wildly successful – but it is rare. For those of us not lucky enough to get swept up in a “right place, right time” wave, it’s far better to have a plan. 

Four Stages of Funnel Maturity

Four Stages to the Funnel Marketing Maturity Model:

1. The aspiring achiever

  • Reactive to their environment
  • Metrics are ad-hoc or inconsistent 
  • Understands basic revenue goals

In this phase, companies usually have their top-level goals in place. To achieve them, however, they commit more or less random acts of marketing because they don’t review data on how they perform. There’s talk of content marketing, but no consistent analysis of which eBooks drove the most leads. There are PPC ad campaigns, but they’re not fully coordinated with what’s happening via email blasts. (Also, no more e-blasts. You should be nurturing.) 

And least helpful of all, they may not have an open dialog with the sales team. This is critical, because if the two aren’t working in unison, they drift apart over time. Just as Latin fragmented and spawned both English and French, sales and marketing can wind up speaking different languages which results in a funnel that looks like this:

Leaky Funnel Syndrome

Aspiring achievers are perpetually stuck in reactive mode – adapting to new channels, customer desires and marketing fads. To escape it, they need a formalized funnel plan. 

2. The funnel formulator

  • Established funnel blueprint
  • Systematically tracks metrics
  • Some sales and marketing integration

Funnel formulators have crafted their funnel blueprint. This is the framework upon which everything else is built because it defines what leads are, how they enter the funnel and how they move through it. It’s a mix of general understandings, such as the syntax for notes and codified processes, and technical lead handoff stages in the marketing system and CRM.

Having a funnel blueprint in place allows these companies to capture data and measure funnel performance. For instance, they can measure lead movement between stages (forward and backward) and track their velocity, aging and activities. And once there’s a whole funnel defined, they can slice and dice it into sub funnels to get more accurate data and predict problems about the future. They are, however, still developing – sales and marketing may still speak different languages and use different metrics. 

In this stage, companies are still committing random acts of marketing, but they have a unified theory for how they drive leads and insights that can tell them when those marketing tactics are working. And as Sheryl Sandberg said, “We cannot change what we are not aware of, and once we are, we cannot help but change.” Once funnel formulators get a taste of Revenue Funnel Science, they often can’t help but move down the model.

3. The impressive integrator 

  • Proactive approach 
  • Universal metrics and view of funnel
  • Ability to plan quarters in advance

The impressive integrator has connected the dots between marketing measurement and marketing activity. They’ve created a feedback loop where the data that comes from their funnel blueprint informs what goes back into it. They optimize for lead quality, velocity and revenue. This feedback loop turns the reactive process into a proactive one; instead of wondering what to do next, they decide which of the viable plans are the best use of their time. 

With a steady lead flow, impressive integrators unlock the time to focus on top-level strategy. They’re able to make revenue projections and peer into the future to forecast entire quarters in advance. They can engage in cross-funnel comparison analysis, capacity planning, calculate their customer acquisition cost (CAC) and distribute coaching reports that give concrete feedback to their employees. 

And yet, this isn’t the top of the mountain. Revenue Funnel Science isn’t complete until the entire organization is engaged. 

4. The operational champion

  • Established revenue leadership team
  • Universal metrics and view of funnel, plus organizational sub-views
  • Full transparency into revenue operations and the ability to act upon it

An operational champion has implemented Revenue Funnel Science not just within their organization, but throughout the business. Just as optimizing one tire on your race car won’t do, the entire business needs to be on board in order to redline the revenue engine. 

Operational champions hold weekly, quarterly and monthly meetings with their revenue leadership team which includes the CEO and heads of sales, customer success, finance and various high performers who champion the initiatives. During these meetings, they all look at precisely the same view of the funnel, its metrics and leave with actionable items. 

To achieve operational champion status takes work. It takes investment, and it takes leadership above and beyond the organizational chart because you’ll have to knit together the leads of each department. But this journey is instructive and incredibly valuable because at the end of this road, you’ll have built a Formula One car that can turn on a dime and blows past everyone’s revenue goals. And in the end, your business will thank you for it. 

Curious where you stand?

Take the Revenue Funnel Science Assessment.

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