Hubspot CEO Brian Halligan and NEA venture partner Hilarie Koplow-McAdams discuss the evolution of the marketing and sales funnel used to generate traffic and convert and leads into customers.
Brian Halligan believed that methodology was broken, so he started thinking about the concept in terms of a flywheel to more closely align with the way modern consumers behave:
The original vision was around inbound versus outbound. The current vision is funnel versus flywheel. I’ve been in sales and marketing positions my entire career, and I consider myself a funnel-ologist. I kind of grew up with the funnel. The more I studied the funnel, the more I think it’s broken. It just doesn’t work as a metaphor anymore to describe how people really buy and describe how modern organizations really scale.
There’s a couple things in particular I think are broken about the funnel. It’s rooted in modern society. I think one of the problems in modern society, nobody trusts anybody anymore. No one trusts the government. No one trusts religion. No one trusts media. No one trusts social media. You know who else they don’t trust? Marketers and sellers. The trust is an all-time low. So who do they trust? Well, they trust their friends and colleagues.
When I go and I talk to customers, I always go, “Why did you buy?” It used to be, “We loved your blog. We read your book. We heard you speak at a conference.” Nowadays, it’s, “No, no, no. I bought it. We used it in our last company. I liked it,” or, “My friend used it,” or, “My colleague used it.” So this idea that you get this funnel that starts in the top and visitors and leads and MQLs and comes out and pops a customer out the bottom feels antiquated. It’s more like a flywheel, where really the customers are your best channel to market. It’s not marketing is your best channel to market. It’s not sales. Your customers are the loudest voice in your potential customers’ ears.Brian Halligan, HubSpot CEO
Marketing Funnel vs Marketing Flywheel
At HubSpot’s 2018 Inbound conference, Brian Halligan went in-depth on the differences between the concepts of the marketing funnel vs the marketing flywheel.