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Accelerate conversions by flipping the sales funnel | Sponsored Content

This article was contributed by The Shipyard.

What if we’re all looking at the sales process upside down?

Most people think of it as a funnel where you start with a large group of potentially interested consumers at the top, build awareness, engage some of them enough to consider your brand, and then narrow down to a few sales. In this model, the vast majority of initially interested consumers fall off before conversion. But what if there’s a better way?

Using this sales model in its traditional state can make marketing less effective than it could be for a few reasons.

  1. Bottlenecks are bound to occur. After all, a bottleneck is just a funnel with a big hole at the top and a smaller one at the bottom designed to slow the flow of whatever passes through it. While no one wants to slow down the sales cycle, consumer journeys are rarely linear, making the idea of a straight journey down a funneled conversion path unrealistic.
  2. When practicing conversion optimization, many marketers fall into a trap of simply focusing on optimizing the highest impact solution and seeking the best bang for their buck. But there’s an inherent limitation to this highest common denominator approach. What works best to optimize conversion for one customer is often different—and sometimes antithetical—to what motivates another.
  3. With digital maturity today, barriers to buy are nearly non-existent. Audiences are more than willing to move quickly through the purchase journey online—sometimes even in one user session.

So how do we modernize the sales funnel to truly leverage the opportunities we have as marketers? We flip it on its head. Inverting how we look at key stages of the sales cycle can help us generate more conversions, increase consumer consideration, and maximize audience awareness.

By starting with the conversion instead of ending with it—“flipping the funnel,” if you will—we are presented with opportunities to grow our audiences and improve every step of the customer journey. Here’s how you can benefit from this approach:

  • Engineering consideration through customization

Armed with technology, we can customize the customer journey at scale. Working backwards from the point of conversion can help identify opportunities for personalization and allow us to craft marketing narratives that resonate with discrete audience segments.

  • Reaching new audiences through personalization and testing

Our ability to engage all consumers has become a reality. We no longer need to leave “non-core” audiences behind. We can efficiently build and manage as many marketing narratives as we have interested groups of buyers. By flipping the funnel, we can expand our audiences and messaging to connect with the entire universe of a brand’s potential consumers.

  • Optimizing and accelerating conversions

Putting the conversion at the front of a marketing strategy can provide the perspective and tools needed to scale your brand quickly and sustainably. If properly leveraged, this translates directly into ongoing marketing success.

Ultimately, flipping your approach allows you to convert the largest number of people in the smallest amount of time and set yourself up for continued success down the road.

Ready to dig deeper but don’t know where to start? The Shipyard recently put together a white paper that explores this methodology of flipping the funnel along with case studies that illustrate how companies have used this approach to scale quickly and sustainably. Check out the "Flipping the Funnel: Re-Engineering the Customer Journey to Accelerate Conversion" white paper here.

—Lance Porigow, Executive Vice President, Growth, The Shipyard