Forget The Funnel! Introducing A New Metaphor For Lead To Revenue Process Management

I’ve seen too many lead-to-revenue initiatives underperform because insufficient attention was devoted to process.  And, I’ve seen an equal number stall because the attempt to document the current state and define the future state leads to analysis-paralysis.   It’s not fair to say that marketing organizations run their demand management completely without process.  What most marketing organizations don’t have, however, is a consistent, end-to-end process to manage a single customer from lead origination to purchase, which is the heart of lead-to-revenue management.  And for that, I blame the funnel.  

The “lead funnel” (the universal model for demand management) gets well-deserved celebrity for giving B2B marketers a metaphor to communicate the relevance of marketing activities to revenue production.   The funnel’s clearly defined stage gates (MQL, SQL, SAL, etc.) give marketing the basis to collaborate with sales on lead management.  The funnel makes it easy to snapshot the health of the end-to-end pipeline.   But, as a construct for thinking about the lead-to-revenue process, the funnel fails spectacularly.  In this blog, I'll introduce an alternative metaphor, the Lead-to-Advocate Escalator.  But, first, here’s what wrong with the funnel (and funnel derivatives like the waterfall).

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Planning Guidance For Your 2013 Budget

Forrester's 2013 planning guidance is an essential element to your annual process of establishing your plan, defending your plan, and ultimately winning with your plan.

On November 20 at 11:00 a.m. EST Forrester analyst Lori Wizdo will share some compelling insights from our Q3 2012 B2B Marketing Tactics and Benchmarks Online Survey.  Please plan to register for this one-time presentation and discussion of key insights from some top-performing organizations that you can use to inform your own plan. And then after the webinar, please plan to continue the conversation in our community.

Sales Conversation Webinar With Scott Santucci Moved To November 14! Thanks Sandy!




Regardless of a salesperson's conversational skills, buyers have to care about what those salespeople have to say.

So how likely is it that an executive is going to agree to meet with someone who is geared up to talk about his or her product or service?  

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