Your guide to the new sales funnel

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One of my favorite shows on television is "CSI: Las Vegas." I appreciate how the producers have made something as tedious as forensic science both sexy and compelling. As a marketer, our job is to "sell" sexy, yet we must rely heavily on data and process in order to achieve desired ROI. In an unending quest to improve the efficacy of our digital marketing efforts, I've developed a new methodology that combines the powerful analytics behind CSI forensic DNA research with the tried and true sales and marketing funnel.

Putting the "fun" in the sales funnel

Before jumping into the methodology behind fingerprinting digital marketing DNA, let us first talk about the sales and marketing funnel. Marketers of merit are intimately familiar with the traditional sales funnel: awareness, interest, intent, and purchase. In order to successfully convert a new customer, you must take them through the sales and marketing process, from initial awareness to purchase.

We rely on the funnel methodology when developing digital marketing strategies, as each step of the sales process must be properly addressed to generate customers. While there are many variations in nomenclature around the number of stages or names in the sales funnel, I've felt there is a universal weakness among them all: They don't address the customer as a marketer and sales driver.

At Anvil, roughly 40 percent of our new revenue is generated by our existing clients, in the form of new projects and referral business. That number far overshadows our other sales and marketing activities. As such, I felt the need to factor happy clients into the traditional funnel. The net result is a new, upgraded sales funnel -- one that incorporates customer evangelists, not only as a final stage but as the most important stage of the sales process.

The sales funnel 2.0

As marketers, you should focus your efforts on targeting prospects that have the greatest likelihood of becoming evangelists, then structure your efforts, and those of the business, around them. For example, ensure your customer-facing employees are properly trained to identify happy (and unhappy) customers and empower them to become evangelists for your brand. Reward employees that regularly delight customers; your business will thrive as a result.