Marc Andreessen once said that "software is eating the world." Today, we believe his prescient take on technology disruption can also be applied to marketing.
In this case, we see technology, advertising and marketing eating sales. Today's marketers have very powerful and complex technology systems that allow for digital advertising at a scale and reach never seen before. Coupled with an unprecedented amount of data, marketers and “marketing tactics” are involved further down the sales and marketing funnel, which creates opportunities for both functions with better feedback loops for marketers, and better leads and nurture campaigns for sales.
Better for Both Departments
With today's marketing systems and wealth of data, marketing teams are moving further down the funnel. Marketers can track which prospects are spending time on their websites, downloading their white papers, reading their marketing materials, and learning about their products. For some SaaS-based software models, where the product is digital and can be purchased online, prospects can make a purchase decision without ever speaking to someone in sales.
When buying online isn't an option, modern marketing capabilities have created a more sophisticated funnel that eliminates cold calls for the sales team. That has allowed sales teams to also become more sophisticated, but now they can spend most of their time educating customers and helping them to identify new markets and opportunities.
The Future is a Data-Driven Bowtie
As a result of sales teams moving into more of a customer support role, the customer success concept has taken off. Here is where it gets interesting. A greater focus on customer success allows the sales team to expand the funnel again – post-sale – as they identify new ways of working with their best customers.
If this type of marketing and sales funnel were drawn horizontally, we think it would look like a bowtie. 👇
This evolution can change the mindset of a business. Rather than only focusing on sealing the deal with a small pool of qualified buyers, companies can identify their best prospects and continually find opportunities to serve them. This creates valuable relationships and also a more resilient and relevant business.