The Funnelholic continues its series of interviews with the industry thought-leaders who contributed to the Focus Experts’ Guide: Sales and Marketing Pipeline and Funnel Models.
Meet Mike Damphousse, CEO/CMO of Green Leads and author of the blog Smashmouth B2B. He is a consummate sales and marketing executive, leading the growth of Green Leads while sharing B2B demand generation knowledge with others.
The Funnelholic: Explain your approach to the funnel.
Mike: You mean my cloud? This concept was actually a blog article that has been in draft mode for months as a result of a whiteboard discussion I had with one of my clients. They were suffering with all the changing aspects of demand gen. It wasn’t what they were used to from years past and were trying to harness and make order of it. As I was listening to their CMO, I went back to the days when I spoke at Chaos Theory conferences and grabbed the marker from him and crafted the demand gen cloud.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not as if order doesn’t come to the cloud and the prospect starts moving along in the traditional manner, but they WILL come from different sources and WILL jump around the process and WILL define their own buying cycle. We simply need to harness it and move the order to where we want it to be.
The Funnelholic: Besides your own, were there any other funnels that resonated with you?
Mike: Steve Gershik’s was touching on similar dynamics to the cloud. His description of how prospects “move forward or backward depending on their needs” just needs the word “sideways” in there too. We see it all the time with b2b appointment setting – we can insert a prospect that wasn’t already in a buying process right into the middle somewhere, or they can do it themselves with some action that bypasses the traditional process.
The Funnelholic: What did you learn from the exercise?
Mike: I actually talked to several people about it, and when we kept going down the path of a traditional funnel, pipeline or waterfall, we just kept uncovering dynamics in the models that didn’t fit. The lesson for all of us was to challenge traditional thinking. Don’t be afraid to adapt our systems and processes to better address how our buyers buy.
The Funnelholic: If everyone needs to create a funnel to model their business, what are best practices for creating it?
Mike: Whiteboards and debates. Get everyone involved. It’s not a marketing discussion or a sales discussion alone, it’s not just a C-level project. Get anyone that touches, influences or hears from prospects together and don’t start the discussion with a funnel on the whiteboard, start by just slapping words up there and then build the model. That’s how the demand gen cloud emerged.
I don’t know Craig, maybe you should rename yourself “The Cloudaholic”?
Join the conversation: ‘Is the funnel still a relevant metaphor for the b2b sales and marketing process?’