Single View of the Funnel vs. Single Funnel

When I was a kid I loved peanut butter and honey sandwiches (truth be told, I still do). The key to a great peanut butter and honey sandwich, like any good recipe, is the right ingredients put together in the right way.

Left to their own devices, most rookie peanut-butter-and-honey-sandwich-makers haphazardly slather peanut butter on one piece of bread and honey on the other then slap ‘em together. This approach works brilliantly for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, but falls short of the original brilliance when replaced with honey. As close as they are, the two ingredients never mix. The peanut butter sticks to the bread like glue. The honey, despite your best efforts to reign it in, drips and leaks from all sides.

The real trick is to mix the ingredients prior to putting them on the bread. Take a spoonful of peanut butter and spoonful of honey and mix it well in a small bowl. Then smear your concoction onto the bread. Add a second slice if you’d like. Enjoy.

The new combined ingredient delivers results. It tastes great, sticks to the bread, and doesn’t leak. Even better, you can’t tell where the peanut butter ends and the honey begins – it’s the way peanut butter and honey sandwiches were always meant to be. Ingredients that deliver better results when truly combined, instead of just adjacent to one another.

There is a lot of talk about sales and marketing alignment these days. And for good reason – research has proven that tightly aligned marketing and sales organizations deliver better results for their companies. According to SiriusDecisions, B2B organizations with tightly aligned sales and marketing achieved 24 percent faster revenue growth and 27 percent faster profit growth over a three-year period.

There are countless tools and techniques out there that claim to help companies close the gap between marketing and sales. A lot of that talk revolves around a single view of the funnel that comes when a company implements a marketing automation solution and a CRM. CRMs have been a staple tool of world-class sales teams for more than a decade. Today, with 70 percent of the buying cycle being self-guided and online, more and more companies are turning to marketing automation solutions, and the marketing teams that run them, to help engage with and influence buyers earlier in their buyer journeys.

“World-class sales and marketing organizations need both [CRM and marketing automation solutions] to succeed and scale.” – Matt Heinz

Most companies slather CRM on the sales slice of bread, slather marketing automation on the marketing slice of bread, then slap the two pieces together and call it a single funnel sandwich. While these two complementary ingredients slapped together is better than nothing, that doesn’t make this sandwich great.

We don’t have a single funnel with the slather and slap method. What we have is nothing more than a marketing funnel that touches a sales funnel. Perhaps there is some mixing and mingling where the two sides meet, but for the most part it is two funnels that touch “in the middle.” This single view of the funnel is like putting peanut butter on one slice of bread and honey on another – and it results in similar issues. Because the ingredients are not truly combined, there is inevitable leakage around the sides, which leads to finger-pointing and pushes both departments even further from alignment.

To achieve true alignment, you need a single funnel, not just a single view of the funnel.

Marketing and sales must operate in the same funnel to move leads through to customer status efficiently and with each team member playing the right part at the right time as a prospect is nurtured. You need a seamless mix of the right ingredients – marketing and sales teams and processes and systems – for this to happen well. You need your marketing automation solution and CRM to be so well integrated that the teams that rely on their outputs everyday can’t tell where one ends and the other begins.

The marketing automation solution drives sales tasks directly into the CRM and vice versa. Bi-directional syncing that happens seamlessly and real time. Peanut butter and honey mixed before it hits the bread. A true, single funnel prevents prospect leakage and improves marketing and sales alignment and efficiency.

As you build your marketing and sales sandwich, make sure you choose solutions and partners that tightly integrate your ingredients to produce the best results. A single funnel – not just a single view of the funnel.

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